There’s a special disability rule for certain blue-collar workers

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Workers with disabling medical conditions often need to take time off from their work or possibly change professions after the onset of their symptoms. Some people have private disability insurance, but many employees will primarily rely on benefits available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) when they become unable to work.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can help cover their basic cost-of-living expenses when someone has such a disabling medical condition that they can no longer work at all. The general standard for disability is quite high, and many applicants only realize after the fact that they may not meet the standard or did not submit enough evidence affirming the severity of their conditions. For those in blue-collar professions whose physical ability has a direct relationship to their earning potential, there is actually a special rule with a lower standard that may help them qualify for SSDI benefits.

How is the standard different for blue-collar workers?

The average applicant seeking SSDI benefits has to submit medical evidence that shows that they can no longer work at all because of their condition. They also need proof that the condition will last at least 12 months. Most workers who are able to continue supporting themselves in a different profession will not qualify for SSDI benefits even if their condition forces them to leave a well-compensated job. However, when someone has made a career in a blue-collar profession performing manual labor, their overall physical health will reflect those years of difficult work.

Provided that they have performed at least 35 years of manual labor and have only a marginal education, a blue-collar worker who must leave their current profession due to medical issues may qualify for SSDI benefits under a special rule that only applies to those in manual labor professions. Adequate documentation of the severity of a condition and its impact on someone’s career will be key to successfully qualifying under this special blue-collar rule.

Many applicants will need to appeal

Although the best outcome for an SSDI benefits claim would be a quick approval so that someone starts receiving benefits shortly after becoming unable to work, that isn’t the outcome in many cases. Especially when the applicant invokes special rules, they may need to prepare themselves mentally and financially for the possibility of an appeal.

Learning more about the different rules for SSDI benefits can help workers navigate what is often a frustrating and stressful process. Seeking legal guidance can be helpful as well.