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I am often asked if a person can get Social Security disability benefits if that person is under the age of 50 years old. If you are over 50 but not yet retirement age, Social Security basically considers you un-trainable, and you have a better chance of receiving disability benefits. You might be able to get disability benefits if you are close to 50, because Social Security considers that you are rapidly approaching age 50 (where you are supposedly untrainable).

The short answer is yes, it is possible for a person to get Social Security disability if that person is under the age of 50, but it is very difficult. There are two primary ways that a person who is under the age of 50 can get disability benefits.

First, if the applicant meets a listing for Social Security disability, Social Security will consider the applicant to be disabled, regardless of age, and will award benefits. Social Security has certain listings or criteria for considering someone to be disabled. If you meet the requirements of a listing, Social Security will consider you disabled, even if you are under the age of 50.  However, you must meet the requirements and criteria of a listing exactly, and the listings are very stringent. As a result, very few people who are under the age of 50 will meet the requirements of a listing.

Second, a person who is under the age of 50 may "grid." Social security uses a grid or table to decide if an applicant is disabled. Social Security will consider the applicant's age, skill level of past work, and something called residual functional capacity (basically meaning the skill level and type of work that an applicant is now capable of performing). However, most of the time, the grid will direct a finding that an applicant who is under the age of 50 is not disabled.

For all of these reasons, it is very difficult – although not impossible – for an applicant under the age of 50 to be awarded disability benefits. Such an applicant should expect that the initial application and request for reconsideration will be denied, and that the applicant will have to appeal and have the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ for short.

If the ALJ denies the application for disability benefits, the applicant should be prepared to appeal to the Appeals Council if necessary, and recommended by the applicant's attorney. The next step in the appeals process beyond the Appeals Council is suing the Social Security administration in Federal District Court.

I would recommend that an applicant for Social Security disability benefits hire an attorney for the initial application and ensuing appeals process. The applicant should be patient, because the appeals process may very well take one, two, three, or more years to complete.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents applicants for social security benefits at all stages of the application and appeals process.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an initial consultation to discuss your case and options.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota.  Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.