The Social Security Administration has special rules for claimants age 55 and over. If you can no longer perform your past relevant work, then Social Security must take your age into account when considering whether or not you can do other work at step 5 of the sequential evaluation. This principle is embodied
At step 5 of the sequential evaluation process, Social Security considers four factors to determine whether or not you are disabled: your residual functional capacity, your age, your education, and your work experience. 20 C.F.R. 404.1520(a)(4)(v).
Social Security defines several educational levels. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1564.
- Illiteracy. Illiteracy means the inability
An error in the Explanation of Determination attached to your denial letter can present an opportunity for your Social Security disability attorney to practice some legal jujitsu. The error can be used to support an argument for reversal at the next stage of review. This argument is the most powerful when, but for the error in analysis…
The Medical-Vocational Guidelines are used by Social Security to determine disability due to exertional impairments at step 5 of the sequential evaluation process. The guidelines, or the "grids," consider a claimant's exertional level (that's the medical part) and the claimant's age, education and work history (the vocational factors). Depending upon these medical-vocational factors, the SSA determines that a person is either disabled or not disabled.
In general, the grids are not where you want to be as a claimant, because the grids direct a finding of "not disabled" in most situations. In fact, every claimant loses under the grids until age 50 (or age 45 if unable to communicate in English).
However, the grids are a two-edged sword. Once you reach the age of 50 (and have no transferable skills or education that allows direct entry to skilled work), the grids direct a finding of "disabled" at the sedentary exertional level. The SSA presumes that the transition to unskilled sedentary work is too difficult for these claimants. At age 55, that same claimant grids "disabled" at the light exertional level.
Let's look at an example to see how the grids operate.