Simply put, the “grids” are a short-hand way to refer to Appendix 2 to Subpart P of Part 404-Medical-Vocational Guidelines of the Social Security Act.
As I have discussed in past blog entries, the application and appeals process when pursuing disability benefits can be a long one, often including hearings and other trying events. However, on the rare occasion that a claimant grades out by way of the “grids,” they may be awarded benefits without having to go through that lengthy process. That means no hearings!
What Are The “Grids”?
The “grids” are just that, a sort of flow chart grid for those with a “severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s)” that takes into account a claimant’s age, education, and past work experience and untimely finds them disabled or not.
When I do use them, it is mostly for individuals age 50 and over where I assert a particular section in 201.00 Maximum sustained work capability limited to sedentary work as a result of severe medically determinable impairment(s) as being applicable.
Claimants aged 50-54 are what the SSA describes in the chart as “closely approaching advanced age,” while individuals 55 and over are at an “advanced age.”
In applying the “grids,” I plug in the client’s age, education level, and past work experience. If you recall from some of my earlier blog posts, the SSA typically only looks at the work an individual has performed in the last 15 years at the Substantial Gainful Activity level, or putting it broadly, full-time for a certain minimum length of time.
For example, if a claimant is 55 years old, never graduated high school or gotten a General Education Development degree and has only worked labor-intensive unskilled jobs their whole life, he or she would be a prime candidate for gridding out as disabled in section 201.01 of the Residual Functional Capacity: Maximum Sustained Work Capability Limited to Sedentary Work as a Result of Severe Medically Determinable Impairment(s) section.
As with any piece of governmental regulation, there is a lot more to it to say the least, as the “grids” provide lengthy definitions of all the relevant terms and so on, but I thought they might be of interest to some who have never heard of them before as a possible alternative to the common application and appeals process due to their infrequent employment.
If you or your child have been denied SSA disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay in your child, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.
James Ezzell is an attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Huntsville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law. James prides himself in working and winning SSA Disability cases for people truly in need of his help. Read his full bio here.