It is notoriously difficult to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is so strict in its enforcement of rules and analysis of medical conditions that some people claim everyone gets denied at first.
A small percentage of applicants get approved when they initially apply, and others will get benefits when they appeal the first decision about their benefits. The standard to qualify is quite high. People need to have a condition that will last for a year or longer and that prevents them from working any job whatsoever.
For blue-collar workers who do heavy manual labor, there is a special rule that can help them get benefits more easily than certain other applicants.
How the SSA supports those who use their bodies for work
Doing heavy physical labor for years takes a toll on the body in a way that less-demanding careers, like sales work in an office, will not. The SSA will take someone’s previous work history into consideration when they determine whether they qualify for SSDI benefits or not.
Provided that a worker has at least 35 years’ worth of physical labor experience and only a marginal education, they may qualify under the worn-out worker rule. They can get disability benefits even if their condition may allow them to transfer to a less-demanding profession.
If your injury will prevent you from continuing to do the same work but would permit less-demanding job tasks, like working a cash register, you can qualify for SSDI despite the lower level of total physical impairment.
Complicated applications need more support and planning
If you hope to qualify for SSDI benefits by using the worn-out worker rule when you might be able to work as a cashier or greeter, you need to ensure that your application is thorough and provides the necessary documentation.
Any worker could benefit from having professional help when applying for SSDI benefits, but those who do physical labor for their job will need extra support in making a credible claim for benefits. Learning more about how SSDI benefits work can help you decide if it is time to apply and help you correct issues during an appeal.