What Is The “GRID” Rule For Older Workers

While applying for Social Security disability, if you are 50 or older, you may have an easier time getting approved than a younger person. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers it to be more difficult for an older individual to master a new job skill or to adjust to a new work environment. The Social Security Administration refers to this as a “vocational adjustment.” 

To account for the difficulty that older claimants may have in making vocational modifications, the SSA employs “grid rules” to assess some disability claims. The grid rules are one way of getting disability payments through a medical-vocational allowance. Social Security normally employs grid rules (also known as “grids”) only after determining that you cannot perform your previous activities. Talk to an experienced SSD lawyer and get help today. 

Grid factors 

To evaluate if an applicant is impaired, the grid rules consider the following factors:

  • age of the applicant 
  • age of the applicant 
  • the applicant’s previous work’s skill level
  • whether the applicant developed any skills that may be transferred to another job
  • residual functional capacity of the applicant (RFC) 


The SSA classifies applicants into the following age groups for the grids: 

  • 18 through 49 – younger individuals 
  • 50 to 54 – closely approaching advanced age 
  • 55 and over – advanced age 
  • 60 and over – closely approaching retirement age 

The grids make it easier for elderly applicants to get accepted. 

Education level 

The lesser your education level, the more probable you will get accepted using the grids. This is because the SSA recognizes that it is more difficult for those with limited education to find employment for which they are qualified. The SSA divides education levels as follows: 

  • a high school diploma or above, as well as recent training for skilled work 
  • a high school diploma or higher with no recent training for skilled work 
  • limited education – usually 11th grade and below 
  • Incapable of reading and writing 

Suppose you have disabilities unrelated to your physical capabilities, such as mental health issues or difficulty using your fingers and hands (non-exertional limitations). In that case, you may be capable of getting accepted even though the grid rules state that someone in your condition is not disabled. If you have more than one medical issue, you may be able to win. Sadly, many applicants in the conditions mentioned are denied and must file an appeal to gain assistance. Speak with an expert SSD attorney to guarantee you receive the benefits you deserve. 

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