Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is a complex, lengthy and potentially confusing process. You need to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that you suffer from a qualifying condition that prevents you from working for a minimum of twelve months. As part of the application process, determination of a valid SSD claim is dependent on several factors. To decide your disability status, the SSA utilizes a five-step process. 

The fifth step in claims adjudication is weighing whether you can do any other type of work. This is where your education and age come into play. 

How is education considered by the SSA? 

Your education affects how the SSA assesses your ability to adjust to other work. The SSA considers data such as years of schooling and completion of any vocational school or special job training. In the absence of formal education, the SSA will factor in any strong evidence you have how your educational achievement is different. 

If you happen to be a recent graduate of an education or training program that prepared you for a skilled field, this might work against your SSD claim- especially if you can physically and mentally handle that occupation. Additionally, limited English communication abilities and illiteracy are factors that restrict your future work ability. 

How does age factor into potential adjustment to new work? 

Your age is another way to determine the extent to which you can adjust to other work. For example, if you are of an advanced age (55 years or more), the SSA considers your age a significant factor affecting your potential adjustment to other work. If you are a younger individual (not yet 45), you are not as limited to change occupations as other people who are older. 

Your age will not be the sole factor in determining if you can do any other type of work. A complete assessment of your education, work experience, functional capacity and age dictate your SSD claim outcome.