Disability Claims and Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD)

Workplace injuries, auto accidents, and many other types of injuries have both short-term and far-reaching complications. Likewise, many illnesses can cause permanent, life-altering changes with many repercussions. If an injury or condition prevents you from earning a living for 12 months or longer, you may be eligible for federal disability benefits.  

Initial Review

Application for disability benefits are first reviewed by the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine their basic eligibility for disability claims. The two types of programs for disability have the same medical requirements but different financial requirements. The two programs for disability benefits are: 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), for workers whose jobs are covered by Social Security and who have worked long enough to be eligible. 

Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI), which provides income to cover food, clothing, and shelter to eligible individuals who have little to no income.

Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD)

For disability claims filed from Pennsylvania, the SSA then forwards eligible applications to the Commonwealth’s Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) Services. Examiners, physicians, and psychologists at the BDD review your application and request additional information to determine if your case fits the Social Security definition of adult disability. This includes whether a medical condition has or will prevent you from performing substantial, gainful employment for 12 months or longer.

The Bureau of Disability Determination Services may ask you to perform an in-person examination, which can include screening questions and a physical exam.

The BDD will also request medical evidence from your doctor or other health care institutions to determine the extent of your condition or injury. This can include:

  • What your medical condition is and when it began
  • How this condition limits your activities and work abilities 
  • What medical tests you have received, and their results
  • Any previous treatment you have received for your condition

Let your doctors and treatment facilities know if you have submitted a disability claim and that the SSA and BDD will be contacting them to collect your medical history and records. Your doctor will not be asked to determine whether you are disabled. 

Disability Appeals

If your claim for disability benefits is denied, you have the ability and right to appeal the ruling. Disability appeals must be written and delivered within 60 days of the initial denial notice or notice of denial of reconsideration.

If you or a loved one are experiencing long-term, disruptive effects of an injury or illness, you may be entitled to disability benefits. Our social security disability attorneys at Dugan & Associates can advise you on your case and how best to proceed. Our attorneys focus on disability appeals and are experienced in denied disability claims from Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Disability Determination. We will work to pursue fair and just compensation for loss of earnings, medical expenses, and damages. Contact us today online or by telephone at 412-353-3572.

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