3.2 Does Age Matter?

How Age Impacts Your Case — An Overview of the GRID Rules


The Social Security Administration has a strict set of laws that dictate how disability cases are decided. As you get older the laws that are used to evaluate your case become more favorable if you meet certain criteria. The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 53.2 in 2012. About 4.9 million non-elderly adults currently receive Supplemental Security Income. An individual is twice as likely to be disabled at age 50 as he or she is at age 40, and twice as likely at age 60 as at age 50. In 2011, 181,240 social security disability beneficiaries fell between the ages of 30-34. The disability-prevalence rate in the U.S. adjusted for age and sex, was 4.5 percent in 2011, compared to 3.5 percent in 1995. There are different laws that apply to individuals who are under the age 44, between ages 45 and 49, between ages 50 and 54, and those who are 55 and older.  These laws, commonly referred to as “GRID Rules,” acknowledge that as individuals get older, it may be more difficult for them to to adapt to a disability, retrain, and change careers. Practically speaking, if you have a high school degree or less, you are probably less likely to qualify for certain jobs. Also, if your work history contains only physical labor jobs or jobs requiring limited skills, you may not be able to get a job that requires other skills.

Once the Social Security Administration determines your exertional limitations, they use other factors, like your age, education level, and the work skills you have obtained, to determine where you fall in the “GRID” of rules. Even if you are still technically capable of the physically performing certain jobs, applying the GRID rules may mean that you qualify for disability benefits.In the case of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), some or all of your monthly payment may be converted to a retirement benefit upon reaching retirement age.

Applying these rules can be complicated. The disability advocates at Myler Disability can help you understand your rights and obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.


P. Scott Haynes
Scott is an attorney licensed in the state of Alabama and has been a disability advocate since 2010. He represents disability claimants throughout the southeast United States.