Do you have to be totally permanently disabled to get Social Security Disability or SSI in Pennsylvania?

Workers compensation claims utilize the concepts of permanent, partial, and total disability. And even workman's comp claims may differ based on the laws that govern such claims in a given state.

The social security administration, however, is a federal system, and the guidelines, rules, and regulations for disability claims filed with SSA reflect this.

Therefore, Social Security Disability and supplemental security income (aka SSI) are truly the same, and, actually, indistinguishable in this one regard.

To be approved by and to receive monthly disability benefits from the social security administration, you must be totally disabled, according to SSA standards. There is nothing in the SSA system that equates with temporary disability or partial disability.

In other words, if you are to be awarded in Pennsylvania, this means that your medical or mental condition must be severe and it must be severe enough to prevent enough you from working---at your most recent job, one of your past jobs, or at a suitable form of other work, as determined by your residual functional capacity, age, level of education, and transferrable work skills. (Yes, you can work when you file and you can work after you are awarded. However, you cannot earn more than the SGA amount for a given year.

This is the standard of total disability as the social security administration sees it. to whether or not you need to be permanently disabled to qualify for Social Security Disability or ssi disability continuing benefits is really a different matter.

The SSA disability evaluation system actually builds into the process the assumption that, although your condition was totally disabling per SSA standards at the time you were approved, your condition may not be permanently disabling. And this assumption is evident by simply examining the CDR process.

What is the CDR process? CDR stands for continuing disability review and it means that, after you have been approved for disability benefits, your claim will be subject to review every so often. How often is often? Approved cases are assigned "diary review dates" of one year, three years, and seven years.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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