Disability Justice Attorney Connor Deverell’s article was featured in the American Association for Justice newsletter. Connor’s article discusses the detrimental effects that anticipated changes to the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates and awards disability benefits would have.
The SSA currently uses a system called “Grid Rules” to evaluate disabled workers applying for Social Security disability benefits. The primary factor is the severity of an individual’s medical conditions, but under current Grids, an individual’s age, education, and past work are also taken into consideration. However, the SSA is now considering raising the age at which Grids become applicable as life expectancy increases, or even doing away with age considerations altogether – despite the fact that age, in conjunction with how physically demanding an individual’s job is, is an important factor in determining if an individual can be reasonably expected to perform different vocational work.
“The Grid Rules should remain unchanged,” Connor wrote. “A longer average life expectancy does not necessarily equate to additional working years. This is especially so in the case of physically demanding jobs which take an extensive toll on workers’ bodies…. workers should not have to choose between injuring themselves on their past work or a radical career change all while dealing with severe medical conditions.”