I don't know about the 1980s. My husband was granted disability in the early 90s, and my daughter was granted disability in the mid-90s, so I'm not sure if this ruling has been in place prior to that time.
I would say, though, that it would be worth your while to check it out.
I will ask about it when I go to the SS office tomorrow.
I will call the Salvation Army in my town first - to see if there may be a toll-free number that I can call. If not, I'll make the LD call to the nearest SA office to your town. Hopefully, something can be done soon to help you out.