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Disability Applicants over Age 54

Many people applying for Social Security disability over the age of 54 have worked productively for their entire adult life. But now, due to a medical condition, they can’t do their job any longer. Many of these workers are denied benefits when they apply for disability, despite a lifetime of paying into the Social Security system.

The Social Security Administration has special rules for claimants over 54. If you can no longer do the type of work you have done in the past, then Social Security must take your age into account when considering whether or not you can do other work. These rules are embodied in the Social Security’s Medical-Vocational Guidelines, which are used by the SSA to determine disability at step 5 of the sequential evaluation.

If you older than 54 and are limited to unskilled” light” work, Social Security will presume that you are unable to transition to other work due to your age. An experienced attorney can use these presumptions to help win your disability case.

It is very important to remember that you do not get the benefit of these rules until step 5 of the disability evaluation process. So it is critical to rule out your past relevant work at step 4.

Your “past relevant work” comprises all of the jobs that you have had during the past 15 years. If you still retain the residual functional capacity to perform any of these jobs, your disability claim will bedenied at step 4. If Social Security determines that you can perform your past relevant work, your claim will never get to step 5, where you would have benefitted from the favorable presumptions due to your age. For this reason, it is particularly important for disability applicants over age 54 to have the assistance of a capable Social Security attorney.

I prefer to be involved as early as possible with a disability claim of a worker over age 54. Ideally, I am consulted before the claim is even filed. In many cases, my help early in the claim process results in a fully favorable decision, without the necessity of a hearing.

I ensure that I have a winning theory of the case before filing. Then, I help the client thoroughly complete the work history report, being sure to fully describe the requirements of past work. I analyze the past work for transferable skills, which can sink a disability claim. Then, I describe the claimant’s functional limitations, and ensure that all sources of medical treatment are listed, so that Social Security gets a complete medical record. Lastly, I ask the client which of his or her doctors are most supportive, so that we can request a doctor’s opinion. I help my clients avoid common mistakes that applicants make in their disability claims.

Your initial consultation is always free, and there are no legal fees unless you receive disability benefits.

If you are wondering if your medical condition is severe enough to receive disability benefits, and youlive in New Hampshire, please ask for a free case review. If you prefer, you can call me at 603-821-0249 or send an email.

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