The disability you are suffering from is a major determining factor in whether you will be entitled to SSDI benefits. However, your work history and education also play a role especially if you have a marginal education and have performed hard physical labor for most of your life. Your SSDI lawyer might advise you to file for SSDI benefits under the "worn-out worker" rule.
How the "Worn-Out Worker" Rule Works
If you have performed 35 years or more of hard physical labor, you may be entitled to benefits under this rule even if you don't otherwise meet the requirements. Because of your work experience, the SSA might determine that you are not able to perform lighter work because there is simply no lighter work available in your profession.
Most workers eligible for this rule have not progressed past the sixth grade. However, there are some workers who the SSA might consider eligible because there has been a long time since they have progressed in their education. If you are not sure if you're educated enough to not qualify for this rule, an SSDI lawyer should be able to help.
The Work Period
You must have performed 35 years of hard labor. These years do not have to be continuous and you are allowed to have taken breaks. However, when your time is added together, it must surpass 35 years.
One problem you might run into is if the SSA wants to debate whether some of your work could be considered hard physical labor. You and your attorney may need to gather evidence to prove that the labor you are performing is hard physical labor. The work will need to require a high degree of physical strength or endurance.
Challenges When Claiming the Worn-Out Worker Rule
In some cases, the objects you are lifting are not heavy but you will need to lift lighter objects at a high speed. This can be classified as hard physical labor. Also, you are allowed to perform semi-skilled work as long as the semi-skilled work is brief or remote and does not improve your ability to perform light-duty work.
The SSA wants to make sure that you are not able to transition to light-duty work. If your claim is denied, you and your attorney may need to participate in a hearing in which you persuade an administrative law judge that you are not able to work.
For more information, contact a local Social Security Disability lawyer.