Understanding the SSA’s grid rules

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2019 | Social Security Disability

The U.S. News & World Report states that nearly 25% of Americans will suffer a disability by the time they turn 67. That is a significant portion of the population, but many of them have the opportunity to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help support themselves and their families when they cannot work.

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) still denies nearly half of the claims they receive each year. However, before the SSA can deny someone’s claim based on their medical condition, they often must refer to the grid rules first.

There are a few requirements to recover benefits

Two essential requirements to obtain SSDI benefits include:

  1. If an individual has earned enough work credits, or worked for enough years
  2. If the individual also paid Social Security taxes

However, if the individual’s condition does not meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, the SSA often denies their claim for benefits. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if someone’s medical condition restricts their abilities and causes them pain.

But if someone does not meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, then they might be able to count on the grid.

What are the grid rules?

The grid rules help individuals who do not have a listed disability to determine whether they can obtain benefits. Older applicants often benefit from this system.

There are a few elements measured in the SSA’s grid system, including an individual’s:

RFC measures someone’s ability to continue some sort of work, whether it is heavy, light or sedentary work. All of the other elements in the grid usually help to determine someone’s RFC.

Understanding how the grid rules work is best illustrated in an example. If someone suffers severe pain from a knee or hip replacement, has only a high school education and has limited transferable work skills, the SSA might determine they have a disability based on the grid.

However, even if someone still has transferable work skills and a high RFC, the grid rules can help individuals find work that helps them provide for their family but meets their needs without straining their medical condition.