When you are applying for Social Security Disability, you may notice that the Social Security Administration asks you for the highest level of education you completed. Social Security evaluators and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) use your education to determine what kind of work you may be capable of doing given your age and impairments. Generally, the less education you have, the easier it is to be approved for benefits, as the number of jobs you are capable of performing is smaller than those with more education and training.

How Education Is Factored in by the SSA

For instance, your education can affect whether the judge or evaluator determines if you can adapt to skilled work. This means whether you can do work that requires extra training in order to perform the job. Someone with a specialized nursing degree, for example, may be found to have the skills to work as a nurse. Just because you have extra education, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can perform skilled work. You might have attained a specialized degree many years ago, and the judge or evaluator may find that the education was so far in the past that it doesn’t affect your ability to work at the present time. You might also be suffering from mental impairments that prevent you from performing skilled work no matter how much specialized training or how many degrees you might have.


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Does Education Level Affect All Applicants?

Evaluating a claimant’s education is most important for individuals who are over 50 years old. The rules assume that older individuals who cannot perform their past work because of physical and/or mental limitations will have the hardest time adapting to new work given their age, and so it is generally easier for older individuals to be approved. For older individuals with limited education (meaning a 7th to 11th grade education), the rules are even more favorable as these claimants will have the most difficulty being retrained for new work. For instance, a 53 year-old individual with only a 10th grade education, who worked only unskilled jobs for the past 15 years, and who is limited to working sedentary (sit-down) jobs should be found disabled under Social Security’s “Medical-Vocational Guidelines.”

About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call (800)492-3260.