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Are you Over 50? The “GRID” Rules Can Help You Win Disability Benefits


There is a good chance that you have never heard of the Medical Vocational Guidelines or the “GRID” Rules. These special rules are an important part of SSA’s regulations that may help you win your Social Security Disability claim.  If you are over 50 years old, the GRID rules apply to you.  Once a person is 50 years old, if they cannot perform their past work, but can perform sedentary, unskilled work, they win their claim. Yes, you read that correctly. Even if the 50 year old can work, they are still eligible for benefits. But why?

The reason the GRID Rules allow for a payment of disability benefits, even if a person could work, is that the older a person is the less likely they will get the job. The GRID Rules acknowledge the reality that older workers are less likely to be able to compete in the job market.

50 year old disabled woman under the GRID rules in pain sitting


For example, let’s look at a 55-year-old claimant with back problems. If that claimant has a high school education, no skills, and they can no longer lift more than 20 pounds because of back problems, then the GRID Rules say that a person cannot work. If they can’t lift more than 20 pounds, the claimant is limited to light work. The past work is unskilled, so they don’t have skills that transfer to other work.

At 55 years old, the SSA does not expect the claimant to go back to school or learn new skills. Because this person has physical limitations and no skills, this claimant’s ability to compete in the job market is weak. They probably won’t be able to get a job. Therefore, the GRID Rules apply.

Older workers are especially less likely to be hired at entry-level, unskilled seated jobs. Those jobs go to younger workers. The rules become more favorable to the claimant the older you are. Your disability attorney should know about these rules. Ask your attorney if they apply to you. Meanwhile, if you have questions about your disability claim, contact Cannon Disability Law. We can help you win benefits.


The GRID Rules rely on your residual functional capacity (RFC). If you can show that you are physical and mental limitations prevent you from sustaining full-time work at any job, then you can win benefits. Your RFC is a determination of what you are physically capable of doing in an eight hour workday. Another way to think of it is having your doctor outline your physical and mental impairments. The outline needs to be specific.

For example, it is helpful to your case if your doctor writes in your medical record that due to your back impairment, you are not able to lift more than 10 pounds. Also, your doctor could write that you cannot stand for more than 2 hours in an 8 hour day. These two limitations will prevent you from performing many types of work. You would not be able, for example, to perform medium or light work. Both of which require the ability to lift more than 20 pounds and stand for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour workday. For instance, you couldn’t be a cashier or work at a warehouse stocking shelves, because you couldn’t physically perform that duties of that work.

If you do not have this kind of evidence, then you should request a consultative examination. The SSA can send you to see a physical and mental doctor at no cost to you. These doctors can examine you and they will write a report to the SSA about your residual functional capacity.


Cannon Disability Law has been in business for 30 years. During that time we have won over 20,000 Social Security Disability and SSI cases. We are experts at Social Security disability law. More importantly, we know the effort it takes and the evidence that the Judge needs in order to grant your case. Our firm will help you at the outset of your case. We will help you apply for benefits online at Social Security’s website.  Additionally, we appeal any denial from the SSA for you. We will request a hearing for you as well. Also, we help you understand what you questions the Judge will ask you at your hearing. In this way, we prepare you to explain your disability to the Judge.

Our lawyers and representatives have many years of working for people with disabilities. Because of our years of experience, we understand the law. Also, we understand the GRID Rules. We also know what the SSA requires in terms of medical evidence. Do your research. Call a number of lawyers and ask them how many disability cases they have won. Find a lawyer with the most experience in this area of law to help you.

If you are an older worker, you need help with your disability claim. Find out if the GRID Rules apply to you. Contact us today through this website. Or, give us a call. We do not charge you any money when you contact our office. We will give you a free consultation. If you live in Salt Lake City, Utah, Provo, Ogden, Cedar City, or St. George, we can represent you. Also, we travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to do hearings for our clients. We also travel to Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Boise to represent our clients. Contact Cannon Disability Law today.

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