SSA Recognizes that Older, Less Educated Workers Will Have a Hard Time Finding an Entry Level Job

The grid rules recognize that once a less educated, less skilled worker reaches age 50, fewer employers will offer those simple, unskilled jobs even if that worker could perform the job.

Vocational Guidelines for SS

Social Security vocational guidelines define work activity as medium, light, or sedentary. These work activity levels are defined as follows:

1.  Sedentary work means that you are able to sit for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, and lift up to 10 lbs. occasionally during a day;

2.  Light work means that you can stand and walk for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 10 lbs. frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally;

3.  Medium work means that you can stand and walk for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 25 lbs. frequently and 50 lbs. occasionally.

The Effect of Age and Limited Education and Grid Rules

Winning Your Disability Case — Three Ways:

1.  Meeting a listing – as defined by the SSA

2.  Showing that your functional capacity for work has been seriously reduced

3.  “Grid Rules” apply when you are age 50 or over and have a physical type of impairment

The grid rules do not apply to claimants with non-physical impairments like depression or pain.  You will see that the age slides with the Grid Level Category:

Sedentary Grid Table

Limited to Light Grid Table

Medium Grid Table

The grid rules take into account your age, education, work skills and physical capacity for work.

The three Grids allow you to categorize factors regarding age and education in grid form to determine whether you meet one of the rules and thereby qualify automatically.

Sample Grid Rules

Grid rule 201.10 provides that a worker between the ages of 50 and 54, with less than a high school education and no transferrable skills will be considered disabled even if he can perform sedentary (sit down) work.  Again, the logic behind such a finding is that a worker with these limitations would most likely not be able to find a job.

Grid rule 202.06 provides that a worker between the ages of 55 and 59, with a high school education and no transferrable skills would be found disabled even if he could perform light work.

The older a worker becomes, the more likely that Social Security will accept that simple, entry level work really does not exist in significant numbers in our economy.

Apply the Grid Rules

If you are over age 50 and have a limited education, make sure to ask your lawyer if the grid rules apply.

Sedentary Grid Table

Limited to Light Grid Table

Medium Grid Table

This comes from a 59 year old reader whose age was considered in his successful SSD case, and I think he put this very well:

My November 30, 2005 application appeal was finally allowed by an administrative law Social Security Administration  Judge last month and today I got my letter award for $39,000 retroactive payment and requesting I  to go to main SSI Office for interview about lack of bank accounts and prior addresses so they can figure out my end of retroactive $39,000+ check (minus $6,000 lawyer who won her first case with me) and repayment of $303 per month to state Transitional Assistance program, leaving me with $17,400+ or so.

The Judge immediately gave me the win because he said my age  which is 59, made me eligible to be gridded out based on my light duty status (not lifting over 10 lbs) and combination of hepatitis C, AFIB, Ulcerative Colitis etc which makes me fatigued, and an old broken shoulder capsular adhesion which slightly limits my movement, but was enough for a doctor to give me 1 100% disability lasting beyond 2015 letter that started me off five years ago.

I have not seen anything via google or even your site on the Grid (“gridding him out”) considering my age (within 56 to 65 Yo) 20 CFR 416.963, despite finding:

  • I do not have a medical impairment or combination of impairments 20 CFR part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920[d], 416.923  and 416.926) and
  • Finding I can perform full range of light duty, 20 CFR 967[b] except for occasional overhead reaching, only because they found no past relevant work history, 20 CFR 416.968 and
  • No jobs in national economy which I could get, 20 CFR 416.960[c], 416.966,

Resulted in a finding in my case that:

“Medical and vocational rules direct a conclusion of disabled”

Vocational Rule 202.04 shifted the burden to government to prove I could get job in current workforce even though I merely had a light duty status medical report, and which the Judge used to give this young lady lawyer a lesson on how to win (like he was her law professor) immediately granting me approval at hearing with very long written decision 3 weeks later, finding I had no transferrable job skills 20 CFR 416.968.

Because whatever the “grid” rules the judge used gave me almost $40,000.00 because I simply was old enough without a sufficient work history and combined minor illnessess causing fatigue.

I though your readers might was more info on that “grid” loophole in SSI approval of benefits and if you let me know I will mail you a copy of my decision (please do not use my name or personal info) for whatever you determine is the best way to alert your readers who are 56 to 64 years old that they have  better chance of winning an appeal using the grid my administrative law Judge used.