Your age, education, and past work experience are important factors in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) determination of whether you can adjust to other work, or whether you can be found disabled. Here we will explain why SSA looks at your age and education, in addition to your impairment(s), and how they are used as vocational factors in determining your ability to learn and/or adjust to other work.
The older you get, the more your age can become a limiting factor in your ability to adjust to other work. If you apply for disability benefits as a person under 50 years of age, SSA generally does not consider that your age will seriously affect your ability to adjust to other work. If you are between the ages of 50-54, your age, along with a severe impairment and limited work experience, may seriously affect your ability to adjust to other work. If you are over 55, age may significantly affect your ability to adjust to other work.
Education generally refers to formal education or training that demonstrates your ability to meet the requirements of certain types of work. Some of these requirements might be your reasoning ability, communication skills, or your ability to do simple math. Just because you do not have formal education or training, however, does not mean that you have not acquired these skills. Your past work or other experience may demonstrate that you have the intellectual abilities required to adjust to other work. SSA divides educational level into different categories. (1) Illiteracy. This means that you are unable to read and write. (2) Marginal Education. This means that your reasoning, math, and language skills are adequate to do simple, unskilled work. Generally, if you have a have a 6th grade education or less, then you fall into this educational category. (3) Limited Education. This means that your reasoning, math, and language skills allow you to do semi-skilled or some skilled work. Generally, someone with a 7th to 11th grade education falls into this category. (4) High School Education or Above. This means that you have acquired the reasoning, math, and language skills of someone who has completed the 12th grade or above and is able to do semi-skilled or skilled work.
Your representative can further explain the relevance of your age, education, and/or specialized vocational training on your disability claim under the Social Security Administration