Your education level can affect the disability determination depending on your age. Generally speaking, your education level will not have much effect on the disability determination if you are under 45. However, if you are illiterate, over 45 and have a history of unskilled work, the rules make it much easier for you to be considered disabled. If you have a marginal education level, which is generally defined as no more than 6th grade level, you can be considered disabled if you are closely approaching retirement age (50 – 54) and you have no work experience or only unskilled work experience and you are limited doing only work that can be done at the medium exertional level. If you have a limited education, generally speaking defined as the equivalent of a 7th – 11th grade education, then your education level could affect your claim if you are over 55. If you have a limited education and you are over 55, then you could be considered disabled if you are limited to no more than medium work and you have no work history over the past 15 years. Medium work is defined in nutshell as being able to stand or walk in combination no more than 6 hours total out of an 8 hour work day an lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time and frequent lifting or carrying of no more than 25 pounds.
Generally speaking, a person’s education level affects the number of jobs available to that person. Therefore, you education level could affect your claim in many ways other than just in the application of the GRID rules. For instance, even if you are a younger individual having a limited education would probably prevent you from having most types of desk jobs at an office that would require reading high school level material, writing and typing.