Reading the GRID Chart
In the chart below, extracted from the GRID rules, the first
column indicates the Rule # that must be cited by the claims examiner if your claim is allowed; the second column
indicates your age status; the third column indicates your educational level; the fourth column indicates your SVP
work skill level; and the fifth and final column tells me whether or not you should be determined “disabled” or
Table No. 2—Residual Functional Capacity: Maximum Sustained Work Capability Limited to Light Work as a
Result of Severe Medically Determinable Impairment(s)
High school graduate or
more—does not provide for direct entry into skilled work
Skilled or semiskilled—skills
By using the GRID chart, I do not have to
go to the SSA Blue Book of Listings which requires me to show x,y and z in your medical records file in order to
allow your claim. It can be very difficult to approve your claim if you are missing one of the prerequisites listed
in that book.
So instead I use the GRID rules which tells me plainly that a
person of Advance Age (50-54—column 2), who can only do light work (see the heading for this GRID rule which will
indicate we are looking at “Light” level work), with a 12th grade education (Column 3) should be approved for
benefits, or found “Disabled”. As previously noted, I used the DOT listings to determine the work skill level which
was indicated as semi-skilled.
After this initial review of your claim, with no medical
records yet in file, I now know that if I receive any medical records on you, that I only have to substantiate that
you can no longer do your past medium level work in order to approve your claim. I then make a note of this
somewhere in your file and just wait for the medical records to come in. I am hoping that the x-rays or range of
motion studies that come in will suggest that you can only do "light" level work.
If the medical records show you can still do medium level work,
and your claim does not meet the requirements listed in the SSA Blue Book, then your claim will be denied because
even if you can not do your past work, there are hundreds of thousands of medium level jobs a semi-skilled worker
will still be able to do in the national economy.
If, however, your medical records confirm that you can only do
light level work as a result of your impairment, and I determine you have no transferrable skills from you past
work, then I can site the GRID rule, 202.06, to allow your claim.
Yourself on the GRID Chart to Get a Clue of Your Potential Claim Outcome
Referring to the GRID rules chart can help you see in advance
what category of applicants will be determined to be disabled based on their age, education, current work
exertional level and past work skill level.
And generally, if you are over 50 or 55, the examiner just
needs to prove you can no longer do any of your old jobs before granting benefits, i.e. if you used to do light
work and can now only do sedentary level work, the GRIDS may dictate a finding of “Disabled”. Still, skill level
and educational level are factors that must be considered as well as any transferrable skills you may have that
might be used in "other" work.
But you should be able to get a good idea as to how your claim
will play out by referring to the GRID charts if you are alleging a physical disability as the majority of
these type claims are determined using these charts.
What you might conclude if you study the GRID charts is that if
you are a younger individual with more than a high school education, it will be very difficult for you to get
disability benefits if the examiner has to use the GRID rules to decide your claim in the event that your medical
condition does not otherwise “meet” or mimic one of the listings found in the SSA Blue Book.
Questions about this article? Please visit our new Claims ESP disability forum to ask
Grid Rules – See the rules SSA / DDS uses to determine if you are
disabled or not.
DOT Definitions – This is a site
I found which gives some DOT explanations. I do not think it is the official DOT site, but I could be
SSA Listings of Impairments – Your claim will either be decided
using these rules or the Grid Rules.