TN 6 (03-16)
DI 25015.005 Age as a Vocational Factor
20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963 and SSR 03–3p
A. Age defined
We define "age" as an individual’s chronological age.
B. Age attainment defined
An individual attains a particular age the day before his or her birthday.
C. Age as a vocational factor
When you make a step 5 determination about a claimant’s ability to adjust to other work, consider his or her chronological age in combination with his or her residual functional capacity, education, and work experience.
Do not consider the claimant’s ability to adjust to other work based on age alone.
Our rules consider that a person’s advancing age may limit the ability to adjust to other work. To determine the extent to which age affects a claimant's ability to adjust to other work, consider advancing age to be an increasingly limiting factor in a claimant’s ability to make such an adjustment.
D. Age categories
When you make a finding about a claimant’s ability to adjust to other work, use the following age categories listed in this subsection.
1. Younger person
If a claimant is a younger person (under age 50), age generally does not seriously affect his or her ability to adjust to other work. However, in some circumstances, consider that people age 45-49 are more limited in their ability to adjust to other work than people who have not attained age 45.
2. Closely approaching advanced age
If a claimant is closely approaching advanced age (age 50-54), consider whether the claimant’s age, along with a severe impairment(s) and limited work experience, may seriously affect his or her ability to adjust to other work.
3. Advanced age
Advanced age (age 55 or older) significantly affects a claimant’s ability to adjust to other work. Since we consider advancing age to be an increasingly limiting factor in a claimant’s ability to adjust to other work, we have special rules for claimants of advanced age and those:
closely approaching retirement age (age 60 or older); For more detail on transferability for claimants aged 60 or older, see DI 25015.015A.3.g.; and
age 65 and older. For more detail on transferability for claimants aged 65 or older, see DI 25015.025.
E. How to apply the age categories
Use the age category (or categories) applicable to the claimant during the entire period that you are deciding whether he or she can do other work.
REMINDER: Do not apply the age categories mechanically in a borderline age situation. For borderline age policy and procedures, see DI 25015.006.
F. Age discrepancy
An age discrepancy can occur if the claimant’s age on the application significantly conflicts with medical evidence of record (MER) in the case. For example, if the claimant indicates that he is a 25-year-old male on the SSA-3368–BK but MER indicates he is 45 years old, an age discrepancy has occurred and must be resolved.
1. Resolve any material age discrepancy before making a step five determination
An age discrepancy is material if it affects:
2. Procedure for material age discrepancy
Contact the servicing field office (FO) and take the following actions when there is a material age discrepancy:
Generate an electronic Assistance Request form (or SSA-883-PG01 Request for Evidence or Assistance (Disability Case), if the claim is a paper file).
Ask the FO to develop for proof of age.
Ask the FO to provide the disability determination services (DDS) with the results of the age development.
Follow up, as needed, to ensure prompt receipt of information.