How Social Security Disability Medical-Vocational Guidelines affect your benefits
Social Security recognizes that it’s difficult for an individual with a medical condition to get back into the workforce at an older age. Social Security also recognizes that an individual with a limited education who has always done heavy work is going to have trouble finding a sit-down job.
You should understand that anyone who is 50 or older will have a much easier time qualifying for disability benefits. You can even get Social Security Disability benefits if you are able to do some work.
The Social Security Disability Medical-Vocational Guidelines were created to help decision-makers deal with these difficult vocational issues. Factors such as your age, education, previous work experience and maximum residual functional capacity will be considered. The Medical-Vocational Guidelines will then direct a finding of whether you are disabled or not disabled.
An example: John is a 50-year-old man with a high school education. He has driven a truck for the last 15 years and was injured in an auto accident. John suffered a herniated disc in his back and underwent spinal fusion surgery. John’s doctor has released him to work but with no lifting above 10 pounds and no prolonged standing. John cannot return to his work as a truck driver because of the lifting requirements. John is approaching advanced age (50-54), has a high school education and is limited to a sedentary job. The Medical-Vocational Guidelines direct that John is entitled to disability benefits.
Another example: Sally is a 55-year-old woman with a high school education and some college credits. Sally was involved in an auto accident and suffered a torn rotator cuff that required surgery. Sally was given permanent restrictions of no lifting over 20 pounds. Sally cannot return to her work as a nurse’s aide because she cannot help patients out of bed. Sally is of advanced age (55 or over), has a high school education or more, and is limited to light work. The Medical-Vocational Guidelines direct that Sally is entitled to disability benefits.
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