Most applicants for Florida Social Security disability benefits must show that they can no longer perform work they had previously done and that they cannot do any other work. In determining whether an applicant can perform any other work, the applicant’s age is an important consideration for the Social Security Administration. In fact, the Social Security guidelines are less stringent for claimants 55 and older.
Medical-Vocational Guidelines for applicants 55 or older
The Medical-Vocational Guidelines are rules utilized by the Social Security Administration to determine what other work you can do. These rules are favorable to those over 55 years of age because they recognize that if you are older and your medical condition limits your level of exertion, it will be more difficult for you to adjust to a new job.
Indeed, the Guidelines presume that you are unable to adapt to other work if you are 55 or older and are limited to unskilled light work. An experienced Ocala Social Security disability attorney can use these presumptions to help you win your Florida disability case.
Past relevant work
You must establish that you cannot do your “past relevant work” before the Medical-Vocational Guidelines will be applied to your Florida disability case.
The Social Security Administration defines past relevant work as work you have done within the past 15 years, that was substantial gainful activity, and that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it. If the Social Security Administration finds that you have the residual functional capacity to do your past relevant work, your Florida Social Security disability claim will be denied. Once the determination is made that you can perform your past relevant work, you will not benefit from the favorable age presumptions set forth in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines.
Proving that a claimant cannot perform past relevant work is an important way that a disability attorney can help a claimant over 55 obtain his or her disability benefits. A knowledgeable Ocala Social Security disability attorney can help you reap the benefits of the favorable age presumptions set forth in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines if you are 55 and older.
Should you file for early retirement benefits instead of disability?
It is common for individuals who become disabled near the age of 62 to file for early retirement benefits rather than disability benefits. However, because the Social Security Administration penalizes early retirees with reduced benefits, early retirement in this situation can often be a mistake. In order to avoid a reduction in benefits, claimants should obtain disability benefits until they reach full retirement age.
If you would like to meet with an experienced Ocala Social Security disability attorney to discuss how your age affects your claim for disability benefits, contact dedicated Ocala disability lawyer Claudeth J. Henry at (352) 304-5300. Your initial consultation is free.