How are grid rules used to determine Social Security disability eligibility?

Magnifying Glass Examining the RulesIf you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it can be easier to get your application approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are 50 years old or older. The SSA considers it harder for older applicants to learn new job skills or move to a different type of work. If the SSA decides that you can no longer perform your former job duties, they will use grid rules to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

How the Grid Rules Work

The SSA refers to the additional difficulty an older worker has switching to a new type of job as a vocational adjustment and uses grid rules to determine these applicants’ claims. The SSA considers a number of factors that are applied to grids the SSA developed in deciding whether someone qualifies for benefits. The following factors are considered.

Applicant’s Age

The SSA divides applicants into the following age groups: younger individuals (aged 18 through 49 years old), individuals approaching old age (50 through 54 years old), advanced age (55 years old or older), and approaching retirement (60 years old or older). It is easier for an older individual to get approved by the SSA under the grid rules.

Education Level

Individuals who have a lower educational level are more likely to have their application for SSDI approved. The SSA divides educational abilities into the following levels:

  • High school graduation or higher with additional training for skilled work
  • High school graduation or higher with no additional training for skilled work
  • Limited education, which is generally completing l1th grade or lower
  • Inability to read and write

Past Work Experience

The SSA considers an individual’s prior work experience under the grid rules. Jobs are grouped into these classifications: unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled. It is easiest for unskilled workers to qualify for SSDI using the grids.

Transferable Work Skills

The SSA will take into account whether semi-skilled or skilled workers have job skills that would transfer to other types of employment. Applicants who have more transferable job skills will have a harder time getting their application approved.

Residential Functional Capacity

A person’s residential functional capacity (RFC) is their ability to do work on a full-time basis. In determining what a person’s RFC is, the Social Security Administration will use medical evidence, such as from the applicant’s doctor, as to their ability to stand, walk, lift, push, and carry. RFC is divided into these categories:

  • Sedentary work
  • Light work
  • Heavy work
  • Very heavy work

Individuals classified as heavy work or very heavy work will be more likely to qualify for SSDI under the grid rules.

Do you have questions about your eligibility for SSDI under the grid rules? Do you need help appealing a denial of your application? Start a live chat or call our Roswell office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Social Security disability lawyers.