Social Security Disability Rules After Age 55: What You Need to Know

  1. Social Security
  2. Social Security Disability Rules After Age 55: What You Need to Know

Portrait of cheerful mature man standing with his arms crossed on white background

As individuals approach the age of 55, they may find themselves facing unique challenges, especially if a medical impairment is impacting their ability to work. Understanding the specific rules and considerations related to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits after age 55 is crucial for those seeking financial support during this stage of life. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of SSD rules for individuals aged 55 and older.



    • After the age of 55, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes age as a vocational factor that can affect an individual’s ability to adjust to different types of work.
    • The SSA acknowledges that it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals in this age group to transition to new work environments or acquire new job skills.

Grid Rules and the Medical-Vocational Guidelines

    • The SSA uses a set of guidelines known as the “Grid Rules” or Medical-Vocational Guidelines to evaluate disability claims for individuals aged 55 and older.
    • These guidelines consider a combination of factors, including age, education, work experience, and the severity of medical impairment.

Easier Qualification Criteria:

    • Individuals aged 55 and older may find it somewhat easier to qualify for SSD benefits compared to younger applicants.
    • The Grid Rules may provide allowances for those with limited education or work experience, recognizing the challenges of reentering the workforce at an older age.

Reduced Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Requirements:

    • RFC refers to an individual’s ability to perform work-related activities despite their impairments. After age 55, there may be a reduced expectation of an individual’s RFC in the assessment process.
    • The SSA may consider the cumulative impact of age, medical condition, and work history when evaluating RFC.

Expedited Claims Processing:

    • The SSA recognizes the urgency of disability claims for individuals aged 55 and older who may face financial hardships and limited employment opportunities.
    • As a result, claims from this age group may receive expedited processing, allowing quicker access to much-needed benefits.

Special Consideration for Unskilled Work:

    • The Grid Rules often consider the nature of the work a person can perform. For individuals aged 55 and older, the guidelines may acknowledge the difficulty of adapting to new, unskilled work.
    • Limited adaptability to new job requirements is factored into the assessment of disability claims.

Portrait of a beautiful senior woman, wonderful blue eyes, looking into camera, smiling

Navigating Social Security Disability rules after the age of 55 involves understanding the unique considerations and allowances provided by the SSA. As individuals in this age group face challenges associated with medical impairments, the recognition of age as a vocational factor and the application of the Grid Rules can play a significant role in deciding eligibility for SSD benefits.

Individuals in this demographic should obtain professional, legal guidance to ensure a compelling case is presented and reflects the impact of age on their ability to work and adapt to new employment circumstances. Parmele Law Firm has represented and helped over 55,000 individuals receive the disability benefits they deserve. Contact PLF today at 866-889-2570 to schedule your no-cost consultation.

With over 130+ years of combined social security disability experience, Parmele Law Firm is here to guide you with integrity, competency, and experience.



Previous Post
Understanding the 12-Month Rule for Social Security Disability Benefits
Next Post
The Crucial Role of an SSD Attorney in the Filing Process