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There’s a special SSDI rule for certain blue-collar workers

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Blue-collar workers often feel a deep sense of pride over how they work for a living. Many of them work for years in physically-demanding careers and might never take any significant leave of absence even when they feel sick or develop injuries. Unfortunately, even the most dedicated professional might eventually have health challenges that force them to take time away from their job. Sometimes, blue-collar professionals have such major medical challenges that they cannot continue working in the same perfection.

These workers may have spent decades doing manual labor and may not have the skills necessary to obtain a job with a living wage in another industry. In some cases, these workers may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits even if other workers might not qualify in the same situation.

Blue-collar workers accept a lot of risks

Many of the most dangerous jobs in the United States are blue-collar professions. Workers accept the increased risk of severe injury or death when they choose to work in a profession involving manual labor. Additionally, they knowingly take a job that causes physical injury to their bodies. A blue-collar worker is more likely than someone in a white-collar profession to have pain and functional limitations caused by the physical demands of their work.

Therefore, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that blue-collar workers may have a harder time moving into low-paid entry-level professions than those in other careers. Instead of denying benefits unless a worker is permanently unable to do any job, the SSA may approve certain blue-collar workers for benefits because they can no longer do the same job.

To be eligible under the special “worn-out worker rule,” a blue-collar employee typically needs to have worked in their physically demanding profession for at least 35 years. Additionally, they need to have no more than a marginal education. If a worker’s situation meets those two standards and they have a medical condition that forces them out of their current job but might not prevent them from doing any gainful work, they might be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Talking about one’s career path and medical condition with someone familiar with SSDI rules may help a worker evaluate their eligibility for benefits based on special standards, like the worn-out worker rule.



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