Social Security’s grid rules (the medical-vocational guidelines”) recognize that workers over age 50 will have a more difficult time finding work, especially in entry level jobs that are not physically demanding. In other words, there are a lot of people who could perform a simple cashier job, or serve as a ticket taker in a movie theatre, or who could pack small items in boxes. Employers for these types of jobs often prefer younger, presumably healthier workers as opposed to men and women over age 50 who have a chronic medical problem.
Here are some examples of the grid rules in action – these are case studies describing what happened at actual disability hearings:
Grid Rule Case Study #1 - this report describes a hearing involving a 57 year old female who underwent triple bypass surgery and thereafter suffered numerous complications. This claimant had a high school education and a semi-skilled work background but no transferrable skills. The judge approved this case based on Grid Rule 202.06.
Grid Rule Case Study #2 - this hearing report describes the case of a 51 year old male who previously worked in a warehouse and at a truck dock. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and by the time he started receiving treatment his heart muscle was permanently damaged, he had suffered kidney damage, he had developed diabetes and hypertension. The judge approved this case based on Grid Rule 201.14.
Grid Rules Case Study #3 - this hearing report describes the case of a 58 year old male with a 9th grade education and past work as a traffic control flagger and underground pipe installer. He alleges disability based on uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, arthritis in his knee and depression. The attorney argued that Grid Rule 202.01 applied.