The Social Security Administration has a little-known opening for benefits often described as the “worn out worker” rule.
Along with the ability to meet other requirements, you may qualify if you have a work history of 35 years or more performing arduous physical labor.
Arduous and unskilled work
“Arduous work” means physical effort that requires considerable endurance or strength. Often, this description is consistent with heavy work, but it can also apply to tasks that require stamina, such as repetitive lifting or bending at a consistently rapid pace. Unskilled work refers to performing simple duties that only require a short learning period and the need for little or no judgment.
You cannot have had more than a “marginal” education, normally meaning that your schooling did not extend beyond the sixth grade. Based on the tasks or responsibilities you carried out in your work, you may display more competence than that associated with a marginal education, but evidence may show that your ability for arithmetic, language and reasoning do not exceed that criteria.
As of 1975, the Social Security Administration also makes benefit provisions for people with “no work experience;” that is, for disability claimants and beneficiaries 55 years of age or older and have no recent or relevant employment experience. In general, a claimant in this category will not have worked within 15 years prior to submitting a claim. The decision for benefits will also depend on whether age, education level and lack of work experience is compatible with similar remunerative work factors.
To qualify for “worn out worker” Social Security benefits, you must have either an impairment or a disability that prevents you from performing arduous physical labor. In other words, you can no longer do the work you carried out for more than 35 years. You must also provide evidence that your condition is expected to last for at least 12 months, or that it will result in death.