Social Security Administration

Raising vocational age limits to parallel the increased retirement ages in the disability process.

Although we have raised the retirement ages and are aware that people are able to live longer and function better with new medical treatments and medications, we have not yet adjusted the age limits considered in the vocational evaluation portion of the disability process.We currently consider anyone under age 50 to be a "younger individual," someone 50-55 as "closely approaching advanced age", and someone 55 and over as "advanced age." For example, if a person who is only 50 years old, who worked as a cashier (considered "light" work) applied for disability due to something like leg pain and was only able to perform work that was sedentary in nature, it would currently be an allowance; current logic being that due to an age of 50 or over, they are less adaptable to a new occupation. However, considering that the retirement age for someone who is currently 50 would be age 67, we are essentially saying that they would be uanble to learn a new trade during the remaining 17 YEARS prior to retirement. We should consider raising the categorical ages to at least include those up to age 55 as "younger individuals" with the next cutoff then being age 60 rather than 55.

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Idea No. 17256