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   Ex Disability Examiner Reveals How to Get an Accurate Decision in the Least Amount of Time!  


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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 “not disabled.”

Table No. 2—Residual Functional Capacity: Maximum Sustained Work Capability Limited to Light Work as a Result of Severe Medically Determinable Impairment(s)

 Rule Age Education Previous work experience  Decision



High school graduate or more—does not provide for direct entry into skilled work[2]


Skilled or semiskilled—skills not transferable





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.


Find 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 them. 


Resource Box:

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 wrong.

SSA Listings of Impairments – Your claim will either be decided using these rules or the Grid Rules.

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