The Social Security Administration (SSA) is strict regarding who it approves for disability benefits. If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you need to show that you meet three criteria when you apply.
You need to have enough work credits to qualify for payments. Your medical condition must last for a year or the rest of your life. You also need to show that your medical condition is severe enough to prevent you from ever working again. The standard for disability is quite high, and even people with chronic conditions may fail to support their claims in seeking SSDI benefits.
Some workers who have long performed physically-demanding jobs may be subject to slightly more lenient rules than other employees. Specifically, they can get benefits even if they could still do certain unskilled jobs after diagnosis with a serious medical condition.
The SSA has special rules for those who perform arduous physical labor
Not all jobs are equal to one another. Obviously, they all pay differently and come with their own risks. Any job can result in an injury, but some jobs caused much more long-term damage to the body than others.
If you have worked in an unskilled, physically-laborious position for at least 35 years, your SSDI application may be subject to different standards than the average application. You could potentially qualify under the worn-out worker rule. After three-and-a-half decades of physically-demanding work, you may qualify for SSDI even if you could go to another, lower-paying job.
You need evidence that your medical condition will prevent you from continuing in your current work or a similar position and that you have only a nominal education. Under SSA standards, this means roughly a sixth-grade education, although someone who graduated from high school decades ago may still qualify.
There will still be necessary evidence to gather
While someone hoping to qualify under the worn-out worker rule won’t need to meet as high of a medical standard when they apply, there will be other documentation required. Information about their education and professional background will play a role in the SSA’s consideration of their application. Applying for Social Security Disability benefits when you are in a unique situation requires support and an understanding of how the program works.