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Will the “worn-out worker” rule apply to your SSDI claim?

Connecting with disability benefits after an injury or medical issues isn’t always an easy process. Many factors influence the success of a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim.

One of the biggest concerns is how severe the injury or medical condition actually is. It usually isn’t enough for a worker to show that they can’t do their job anymore. They have to show that their condition will prevent them from doing any sort of work in the future.

Often, the high standard for disability means that even those struggling with chronic pain or using a wheelchair to get around may have to go find a minimum wage job. However, in some cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply the so-called “worn-out worker rule” to a benefits application. When might that rule apply to you?

You generally need to have done hard physical labor

The SSA will look carefully at someone’s ability to continue doing physical labor after an injury. The longer you have worked in a physically-demanding career path, the stronger your claim for benefits may be.

Generally, if you have done work primarily defined by physical labor for at least 35 years, the SSA may consider you disabled if you can no longer do the same job. Rather than forcing you to go out and find another job that will only compound the existing damage to your body, the SSA will consider those 35 years or more of physical labor enough to make your disability a lasting and permanent one.

In other words, the longer you have worked and the more physically demanding your job has been, the more straightforward claiming SSDI benefits may be for a worker.

Who are you may have to appeal to prove that you qualify

The SSA has a reputation for declining qualified applicants for benefits all the time. You could just as easily receive a rejection notice as an approval if you apply for SSDI benefits after an injury forces you to leave your physically-demanding job.

If you believe that the rejection of your application means that the SSA did not appropriately apply the worn-out worker rule, you may be in a position to appeal. Understanding the rules that apply to SSDI benefit applications can help you assert your rights and seek the benefits you deserve.

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