The standards for total disability enforced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are relatively strict. An individual needs medical documentation showing that their condition prevents them from maintaining any gainful employment and will last for at least a year. Simply having a diagnosis of a significant condition is not generally enough to secure benefits save for a select few.
Most applicants need to secure medical records exploring how their condition affects their day-to-day life and work ability. However, there is a special rule that specifically applies to blue-collar workers that can make it easier for them to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits under certain circumstances.
Some employees may qualify under the worn-out worker rule
Certain types of work are more likely to cause damage to the human body than others. Putting in 40 hours a week at a factory lifting and twisting for years could cause a variety of debilitating symptoms that will affect someone’s quality of life and independence as they age. The SSA recognizes how manual labor may impact the human body more severely than office or retail employment. Therefore, the SSA does allow some people to qualify for SSDI benefits using the worn-out worker rule. Those who have performed manual labor for at least 30 years may qualify for SSDI benefits if their medical conditions force them to change professions.
Generally, workers need to have a marginal education, meaning that they have not achieved any significant level of education. Blue-collar workers who would not be able to transition into a well-paid position elsewhere because of their lack of education who now have disabling medical conditions could qualify for SSDI benefits even though they might be able to work other, less-demanding jobs.
Blue-collar workers are some of the most hard-working adults in the United States, and they should not have to worry about poverty in the years leading to retirement or living with debilitating pain because of how their jobs have affected their health. Ultimately, seeking legal guidance to learn more about the rules for SSDI benefits may help people get the support they need when they can no longer work.