Winning Social Security disability benefits under age 50

If you are between 18 years old and 50 years old, you are in the most difficult age range to get Social Security benefits.

Before you turn 18, Social Security uses the “child” standard for disability evaluations.

After you turn 18, though, Social Security uses the “adult” standard. You have to show that you are unable to do any type of work which exists in substantial numbers in the national economy. That bit of legalese basically means that you have to show that you can’t do any kind of work anywhere, anyhow so long as it is a substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Social Security can deny your benefits if you are able to perform work at any exertional level.

Some attorneys do not want a case where an individual is less than 50 years old. However it is possible to win a Social Security disability case if you’re under 50. ┬áIt is just harder, and the attorney has to work for it. But after all, that is why you are hiring a lawyer in the first place.

  • Debbie

    this is so true having just gone through this myself…I am 49 and was 48 at the time of filing. At the time of hearing I was 49 1/2 so even being just that close to 50 I had to fight the age rule and my condition

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Whoops! This article went out a bit too early and a bit underdone. Thank you for your patience while the finishing touches were put on!

  • Michael T. McDonald

    My spouse receives Social Security Disability Benefits for Lupus. She obtained benefits after she could no longer work for the State of Texas. Employees Retirement System of Texas has denied short and long term disability benefits claiming my wife, does not meet THEIR definition of “Disabled”. Thus far, final hearing is scheduled in Austin on 08 DEC 2009, ERS does not recognize the United States Social Security Disability office or the benefits my spouse receives from same. My question is “Is not recognizing Social Security Disability Benefits to an individual an act, in itself, of “Discrimination”? If anyone has any case law you could site, my wife, a Navy Veteran and disabled with Lupus would appreciate it. Thank you for listening to this Traveling man. Michael T. McDonald

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Generally speaking, that is, not addressing your wife's case because I cannot provide legal advice through this website, it is often the case that different state and federal programs dealing with disability have different definitions and ways of proving disability. It is not unusual for an individual to be “disabled” under one program and “not disabled” under another program.

    That simply means an individual usually can't trade one decision of disability (under one program) for another decision of disability (under a different program).

    That said, the findings and evidence (if not the ultimate decision) from one disability case is often very useful in another disability case.

    You should strongly consider talking to an attorney who handles the type of state disability benefit claims which your wife is applying for.

    Good luck!

  • Michael T. McDonald

    Thank you, we will look for an attorney immediately. Mike

  • Michael T. McDonald

    Thank you, we will look for an attorney immediately. Mike

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  • Trina

    I am a divorced mother of two little boys who is trying to graduate from Nursing school. It has been a real challenge, and due to many strokes as an adolescent and a major stroke 5 years ago, it has taken me twice as long to get through the program. I have neuropathy, and hemi paralysis, but my biggest challenge is with my Brain! I was able to amaze those around me with my memory before the massive stroke, and now, I remember little about my life before it occurred, and have a hard time concentrating and comprehending materials. I am interested in getting help, but am not sure if I qualify. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, and ADHD, and take Adderall post stroke. (along with my aspirin and Naproxin) I also have a strange occurrence. Since my heart occlusion device was implanted, I get migraines. I mean KILLER BAD MEAN ones! I never had a headache that I can remember(which I guess isn't saying much) before my stroke. Now I am on meds and have been for years. I am 34 years old. In your opinion am I a candidate?

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    The main question is any Social Security disability case can be summed up as, “do your conditions keep you from being able to do some kind of work?”

    That is a bit of a simplification since the standard is whether an individual can engage is a “substantial gainful activity,” but it is a good question to start with.

    I can tell you that if your answer is “no, I am not going to be able to work,” the next question will be why are you going through the expense of going through nursing school? There is an apparent inconsistency there and Social Security will focus on it.

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  • pattyl

    i am 49,will turn 50 march 6th,so will they count that i am 50 or 49

    • http://stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Social Security can “round up” if an individual is close to a “rule changing” age. They call that being “borderline age.” However, that only applies to the time close to the age change. If someone is about to turn 50, or 55, or 60, **but is claiming disability 2 years before that**, for example when he or she was 48, he or she still needs to prove disability under the rules for that age (or drop that part of the case).

      For specific information about how borderline age may affect your case, I encourage you to contact Social Security or a lawyer in your area.

    • vie

      the age you are the time of the meeting, even if youre a month shy of turning 50

  • vie

    I am newly turned 50(Oct, 202). I have severe chronic pain and severe fatigue and weakness due to polyneuropathy due to a car accident. I have been declared perm and totally disabled by my dr’s and yet i got turned down the last time I tried (age 48). I have a Bachelor’s degree and it goes against me too. I worked for many years, and the stress of not being able to work anymore and yet NO disability???

    • http://stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Did you take the case to hearing? Social Security denies most of the cases at the first stage.

      If you had a representative, what did s/he think was the reason SSA denied it?

  • Angie

    Hi, I am a surgeon that was involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler almost 2 years ago. Due to my injuries, I have not been able to return to work and have lost my practice. I am considering applying for disability benefits, but am unsure if they would consider it at all, given my education. I am physically unable to do much at all. I have had multiple surgeries and am having memory issues and PTSD. In your experience, will they even consider it with my education?

    • http://stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Social Security will consider every case. Education is always a factor and it can be more difficult to prove disability with a higher education. However, as always the touchstone in a disability case is proving the inability to work (engage in a substantial gainful activity).

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