Im under 50. Am I too young for Social Security Disability?

Posted by David Newcomb | Aug 12, 2021 | 9 Comments

When a claimant files a new disability claim with Social Security they fall into one of four (4) main age categories.  They are:

  1. Younger Person: defined as anyone under the age of 50
  2. Closely Approaching Advanced Age: Defined as those between the ages of 50 to 54
  3. Advanced Age: Defined as those age 55 to 59
  4. Closely Approaching Retirement Age: Defined as those age 60 or older.

Under Social Security rules a person under the age of 50 has a wide open potential occupational base.  In order to win a claim, they have to prove there is no work in the national economy that exists in substantial number which that individual can perform.  This is Social Security's toughest vocational standard.  Because Social Security takes the position that there are unskilled sit-down jobs available in the national economy the claimant must prove he is unable to complete a sedentary, simple, routine, repetitive job tasks.  Proving someone is this restricted can be difficult, however, there are certain types of symptoms I look for to meet this high burden.

  1. The Requirement for leg elevation: The need to elevate one's legs due to pain and or swelling is restrictive in a sedentary work environment. Unskilled sedentary work requires the worker to be at a defined station.  The strict positional nature of these types of jobs does not allow for the worker to elevate the legs to a 90-degree angle.  It is a work preclusive requirement in a competitive work setting.
  1. Restrictions related to reaching with the arms: The ability to reach with the bilateral arms is a necessity in almost all professions. Social Security will take the position that many sedentary or light occupations do not require the use of two arms for reaching out or Infront of the worker.  In a situation where one arm has a lower residual functional capacity than the other the evaluator must judge the remaining capacity in the better arm.  Arm dominance is also taken into consideration when assessing the residual functional capacity.
  1. Restrictions related to grasping or gripping with the hands: The ability to grip, feel, grasp or finger is a requirement for almost all work. Similar to the arms Social Security does not consider all workers to require the good use of both hands.  Sedentary and light occupations will generally have greater requirements for use of the hands than most moderate or heavy occupations.
  1. A medical necessity to lay down: There is no work that can be performed while having to lay down flat. Social Security considers the requirement an unreasonable work accommodation.
  1. Any and all non-exertional symptoms: For those under the age of 50 non exertional symptoms often (not always) become the most important. These symptoms may be mental health based, neurologically based, psychologically based or they could focus around a particular organ or body system. 

Whatever the nature of the impairments may be the important thing to remember is that Social Security is based on your overall ability to engage in full time employment on a continuous basis.  If you are not able to maintain a full-time work schedule month in and month out due to your health then you may be entitled to disability benefits. 

               Please submit a form or call the attorney for more information or formal consultation.

About the Author

David Newcomb

Born and raised in the blue collar town of Mansfield, Ohio I settled in Toledo after graduating from The University Of Toledo College of Law. I have been working with disability claimants since 2015. First as a law student intern then as an associate in a local firm from 2018 through May 2021.  


Anna CollinsReply

Posted Jun 01, 2022 at 01:03:18

My cousin is bedridden now with his leg injury after surviving a car collision accident. If you are under 50, you can avail yourself of social security disability benefits if you’re required to lay down flat always because of your injury since you’ll be proving an unreasonable work accommodation. I’ll be sure to inform my cousin about this and help her find a social security lawyer to help him out.

Henry KillingsworthReply

Posted Aug 05, 2022 at 11:13:42

I thought it was interesting when you mentioned that social security is based on your ability to engage in full-time work. If you aren’t able to work for more than a couple of months, I would think that you would want to apply for social security disability. You will need the benefits so that you can continue to pay for your necessities.

David Newcomb Reply

Posted Aug 05, 2022 at 11:44:35

The regulations state that in order to be legally disabled you must be unable to work at the substantially gainful level for 12 continuous months or be reasonably expected to below the substantially gainful activity level for 12 months based on your medical record.

I do not recommend waiting the full 12 months before filing a claim because of the financial hardship that can cause someone. If you have been unable to work or been employed under the substantially gainful activity level for 3-6 consecutive months and you do not expect that situation to change based on medical reason, then advise you to immediately file a claim in social security’s system.

The claims are lengthy and often take -18 months to adjudicate so a claimant often hits social securities regulatory month requirement while their case is pending due to agency backlogs.

David Newcomb Reply

Posted Aug 05, 2022 at 11:45:51

A requirement to lay flat through the work day is generally considered work preclusive and grounds for disability regardless of ones age category.

David Newcomb Reply

Posted Sep 06, 2022 at 09:27:57

Work consisting of less than 6 continuous months at a time will likely be consider an unsuccessful work attempt by Social Security. If you are unable to work more than a few months as a time then I would recommend looking into filing a new claim.

Sam AndrewsReply

Posted Mar 07, 2023 at 22:39:28

It’s good to know that we can apply for social security disability if we have trouble moving our legs and arms on the job. My cousin got involved in an accident while doing some fork lifting the other day, causing him to suffer from multiple injuries. Anyway, I believe it would be better if he reaches out to a legal expert for further discussions regarding the matter.

David Newcomb Reply

Posted Mar 08, 2023 at 07:50:35

Limitations in functional mobility have dramatic impact on one’s ability to maintain a full time work schedule. Social Security rules and regulations take those factors into consideration. When they reach a certain level of severity they are disabling to every worker. I always recommend consulting an attorney well versed in the field to fully investigate your options.

Clare MartinReply

Posted Sep 14, 2023 at 03:28:44

My cousin was in a terrible car accident last year that has made him unable to go back to his job even after getting discharged from the hospital, so he plans to claim Social Security disability benefits soon. Thank you for informing us that those under the age of 50 have a wide-open potential occupational base, so the individual must first prove that there is no work in the national economy for them to perform to win the claim. I’ll be sure to share this with my cousin while I help him find a lawyer to help him with his Social Security disability benefits application soon.

David Newcomb Reply

Posted Sep 14, 2023 at 10:43:04

I appreciate your comments. I’m glad you found my post informative and helpful. If you or anyone else has specific questions, please give me a call. Ide be more than happy to answer whatever you need.

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