How age and education affect disability benefits

Social Security disability can be an important safeguard for people in Tennessee who are no longer able to work due to physical or mental disabilities. However, the application process can be lengthy, especially as many applicants are denied in the first step of the process. There are a number of factors that the Social Security Administration considers when determining if a person is eligible for disability benefits, and many applicants may wonder how their age or level of education affects the likelihood of a positive outcome. Both factors can be part of a disability determination but are rarely decisive factors that shift the balance of a decision.

In most cases, age is primarily considered in a disability claim when the applicant is older, typically above 50 or 55. In these cases, age itself can become a consideration in terms of the person’s ability to develop additional job skills and education. This is particularly important for applicants with greater levels of functional limitation. In some cases, educational level is not considered at all in the disability benefits process, especially if the claimant’s case adheres to the listing requirements in the SSA’s “blue book” used to define eligibility for benefits.

However, most SSD applications aren’t approved on the basis of a blue book listing but rather due to a medical vocational allowance based on an evaluation of the applicant’s limitations and residual functional capacity. This can refer to both physical and mental functional capacity. These assessments are then compared to the applicant’s work history, which can often be correlated with education.

Work history is a much more significant part of the process than educational level itself, but a number of factors may be part of a final decision. A disability attorney may provide advice and representation to an applicant throughout the process of applying for SSD benefits.




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