If you are applying for disability and you are over the age of 50, Social Security’s grid rules may apply to qualify you for disability. Here’s what you need to know.
The grid rules represent Social Security’s understanding that disability applicants over the age of 50 will have a more difficult time returning to the work force because fewer entry-level jobs exist for people in this age group. So, even if you have some capacity to work, you would still be considered disabled under the grids because, as a practical matter, no jobs exist.
You will only qualify for the grid rules if:
- you are age 50 or older
- you have a limited education (less than a college graduate in most cases)
- you have limited work skills
- you have a medical issue that results in physical limitations
From ages 50-54, one set of grid rules apply. At age 55, it becomes even easier to qualify. Whenever I have a client who is age 50 or older, I always look to see if I can fit my client into a grid rule category.
I have created a website specifically about the grid rules that you can review – it is at www.gridrules.net. There you can learn all about how the grids work and read case studies about cases I have won using this theory of disability.
Where Does the Name “Grid Rule” Come From?
Technically, the grid rules are called the “medical vocational guidelines,” but everyone – even Social Security employees – call these guidelines the grid rules. If you look at the grid rules on paper, they are laid out on a grid. Again, go to GridRules.net to see them.
Judges Like to Use the Grid Rules
In my experience, disability judges like to use the grid rules to decide cases because they are easy to apply and they require less interpretation of medical records. I even find that judges will use the grids as a framework to approve cases that don’t exactly fit. Generally, if you are applying for disability and you are over the age of 50, the grid rules will often help your cause even if you don’t exactly fit into any of the categories.