Harlan Still & Koch

Will my age affect my ability to gain disability benefits?

If you are suffering from a severe disability that affects your ability to gain a meaningful income, you may be able to claim disability benefits. While a person of any age can theoretically gain disability benefits, it tends to become easier to get a successful outcome as you approach retirement.

The reason why filing for disability benefits can become easier as you approach retirement is that the rules in place regarding eligibility differ for older applicants and therefore provide advantages. The following is an overview of the guidelines for collecting disability benefits when you are over the age of 60.

How disability is evaluated after 60

When you are over the age of 60, a table of grids is consulted to determine whether you qualify as disabled. A set of rules are followed that consider the claimant's capacity to carry out meaningful work, otherwise known as residual functional capacity (RFC), their age, education and their work history. Based on the evaluation of all of these factors, a decision will be made to determine whether the claimant should receive disability benefits.

Why does this make it easier for older claimants to be successful?

Older applicants tend to have a greater chance of being successful because it is assumed that it will be more difficult for those over the age of 60 to gain new skills and enter a new workforce. For example, there is a huge capacity for an injured worker under the age of 30 to retrain in a job that they would be able to physically perform. However, an older worker may not have the mental capacity and the time to do this before they reach retirement age.

What is the difference between disability benefits and early retirement?

Many workers choose to take early retirement, and part of their decision may be based on their health issues. When early retirement is taken, you will receive lower payments throughout your entire retirement. However, if you receive disability benefits, you will gain an income without it affecting the retirement benefits you will eventually be able to receive.

If you are unable to work and you are wondering whether you qualify for disability benefits, it is important that you fully research eligibility requirements.

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Harlan Still & Koch

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Suite 300
Columbia, MO 65201

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