Disability in Pennsylvania

An individual must meet a certain number of requirements to be considered disabled in the state of Pennsylvania.  First, an individual must have paid in enough in social security funds to be eligible for social security insurance, and they must have paid social security within a number of years (for example, they must have worked within a certain span of time before their disability).  A person must also be medically disabled and, if working, must make less than the substantial gainful activity level (defined in 1999 as over $700 a month).  To be declared medically disables, one must either have a mental or physical condition that is terminal or will last for at least one year.  A disabled individual’s widow/widower and adult child may also be able to file for disability in the place of the individual.

Medical Condition Eligibility

While the guidelines for disability in Pennsylvania due to an injury are based on physical or mental disabilities that prevent working, it is possible to get further disability funds for a medical condition.  The requirements for disability because of a medical condition, however, are stricter.  A person must have very little or no income or financial resources, be medically disabled, must be a US resident in one of the 50 states, and must be willing to accept vocational rehabilitation if offered.

The Decision-Making Process

If an individual meets all of the requirements above and turns in an application for disability in Pennsylvania, it will first be reviewed by the social security office.  If all the requirements are met, the application will move to the Bureau of Disability Determination.  They will then decide if an individual has a disability that will prevent them from working.  Each application will be reviewed by a doctor and an examiner specially trained to handle disability cases.  They will request an applicant’s medical files and test results, may interview their doctors, and may need to send an applicant to another examination if they feel like additional information is needed.  Any additional medical examinations or tests needed to determine if an individual is disabled or not will be paid for by the Bureau, as will any travel expenses occurred in traveling to the examination.

The Bureau will take into consideration a number of factors, including income (if you have any), condition, and if the individual can do work of any sort.  These factors plus the applicant’s medical records will be used to determine how much financial support an individual will receive each month.

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