Many people assume they cannot get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if they are not over 50 years of age. Some have had lawyers turn down their cases simply because they are under 50. You should not give up on SSD just because of your age, however.
While it is true that getting SSD benefits when you are under age 50 can be more challenging, it is not impossible. An experienced SSD attorney who is thoroughly familiar with Social Security Disability law can assess your case and determine whether you have a valid claim for benefits at this time.
The reason that receiving SSD benefits under age 50 can be more difficult is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers each person’s ability to work full time in any occupation, not just their former occupation. So it’s possible to be denied benefits if you could perform a different job, and the SSA considers people under age 50 to have an easier time finding another job they can do. The SSA’s medical-vocational requirements are less stringent for people age 50 and over.
Generally, to be eligible for benefits, your medical condition must be so severe that it prevents you from working in a substantial gainful activity for at least a year. The SSA will look at your residual functional capacity or “the most you can still do despite your limitations.” To be granted benefits, especially under age 50, you will likely need an attorney who has extensive experience presenting evidence of residual functional capacity to the SSA and, when necessary, to an administrative law judge at a disability hearing.
With a lawyer who understands the medical evidence the SSA needs to see and how to accurately portray it, people under 50 have a chance of receiving SSD benefits. Speak with a lawyer to learn whether you should apply.