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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, even though they can be 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 compete in the job market.


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, the GRID Rule say that a person is disabled. 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 they are physically limited and don’t have 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.

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