Making a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a stressful process. You have to gather evidence, complete an application and potentially appeal. It could take months to get the benefits you need, and even a small mistake can delay the whole process.
The average worker needs to meet specific criteria to receive SSDI benefits. They need to have a medical condition with symptoms so severe that they cannot work any job at all. Simply needing to change professions typically isn’t enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
However, there is a small subgroup of workers who may qualify for benefits while they can still perform certain work functions. If you have made a career of arduous physical labor you may qualify for benefits under the worn-out worker rule.
Physical labor takes a toll on your body
Someone who works in an office setting or in retail who gets hurt could potentially find another job even if they have to change some of their job responsibilities. However, someone who performs physically demanding labor for their job, like hauling bricks at construction sites, may not be able to keep doing the same work.
Moreover, decades of that same line of employment may have caused damage to their joints and musculature that will affect their work functions and quality of life. The long-term impact of unskilled physical labor can impact a worker’s SSDI claim.
If someone has spent at least 35 years doing physical labor and can no longer do their job because of an injury or medical condition, they may qualify for SSDI even though they could work a fryer at a fast-food restaurant or a cash register at a grocery store. Provided that they have no more than a marginal education, a worker with a long history of physical labor and a serious medical condition may qualify for SSDI.
Applying under special rules can be particularly challenging
The Social Security Administration has numerous programs that benefit people in different circumstances. Whether you hope to secure a compassionate allowance or want consideration as a worn-out worker, you may need to provide more documentation than the typical applicant.
Understanding the rules that apply to different SSDI benefits claims will make it easier for you to get those benefits.