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SSDI- Can I get it at 45 years old?

SSDI and the Young

Many claimants want to know how old they have to be to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It’s easy to say you can qualify at almost any age, but the truth is a bit more complicated. It will depend on several factors which will be discussed below.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a disability program offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for workers who have become disabled with a severe health condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months. To qualify for SSDI the worker must not have the ability to perform substantial gainful activity and they must have worked and paid enough employment taxes to be considered insured by the SSA.

Can I get SSDI if I am young?

The SSA has two ways to determine if a worker is disabled. First, they will review their condition and symptoms and determine if they “meet or exceed” a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments.

Claimants who have a condition which meets or exceeds a listing will be considered automatically disabled, even claimants who are young.

For example, if you are a 45 year old worker and you develop Parkinson’s syndrome then the SSA will evaluate your condition on the SSA Listing of Impairments under the listing 11.00 Neurological Disorders, Section 11.06 Parkinson’s Syndrome. To be considered automatically disabled you will need to have the following signs: Significant rigidity, bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station. Now assuming your condition “meets or exceeds” this listing then you could be approved for SSDI at the age of 45.

What if my condition does not meet a listing?

If you are less than 55 years of age and you cannot prove that your condition “meets or exceeds” a listing it will be almost impossible to prove that you cannot retrain for any type of work.

The second way the SSA determines disability is through a process they called a medical vocational allowance. Under this process they will use a series of grids to evaluate a claimant’s age, educational level, work skills and condition.

They will evaluate your past jobs and current job to determine if they think you can perform work. If you cannot perform either past or present work they will determine if you could retrain for new work.

Generally, if you are less than 55 years of age and you have a high school degree they will determine that you have the ability to retrain for new work, especially sedentary work.

What do I do if I am denied SSDI?

If you are denied at the application level you can contact a disability lawyer. Depending on your denial you may be able to gather additional medical evidence to convince the SSA that your condition does, in fact, meet or exceed a listing. Some claimants simply lack sufficient medical evidence to prove the severity of their case and a disability lawyer can help you do this.
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