The Social Security Administration considers various factors when determining whether someone is eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, and age is one of them. Although it’s not the central determinant, claims that West Virginia residents’ files can either be approved or denied because of it.
Older people vs. younger people
The SSA will usually give more weight to the testimony of older people than to that of younger people because it’s generally assumed that an older person can have quite a difficult time transitioning into a new career. They call this “vocational adjustment,” where they try to make it easier for older disabled workers to gain Social Security Disability benefits.
However, this doesn’t mean that younger people can’t get approved for SSD benefits. The SSA will still consider other factors, such as the severity of the disability and whether or not there is any medical evidence to support the claim.
Ability to return to work
The SSA will also look at whether you can return to work in any capacity. This is called “residual functional capacity” (RFC). If you are younger, the SSA will assume you have a higher RFC and expect you to return to work sooner than someone older. However, if your disability is severe enough, the SSA may still approve your claim regardless of your age or RFC.
Improving your chances of getting benefits
First, make sure to get a comprehensive medical evaluation from your doctor. This will help to document the severity of your disability to the SSA.
Secondly, keep detailed records of your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work. This can be in the form of a journal or diary entries. Being as specific as possible in describing how your disability affects you daily can give the SSA a better understanding of the true extent of your impairment.
Lastly, prepare well for the hearing. Be sure to bring all relevant documentation, including medical records and symptom logs. Having a support system with you, whether family or friends, is also a good idea.
The Social Security Act allows you to appeal a denial of the benefits you believe that you deserve. Therefore, you shouldn’t be discouraged when things don’t go your way the first time. There are judges up to the Supreme Court that’ll be willing to review your case.