Legal Toolkit Pennsylvania Social Security and Veterans Benefits

What to Know About Social Security and Veterans Benefits

a

If a physical or mental disability prevents someone from working, they may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These funds are administered by the Social Security Administration and the wait for determination of funds can be lengthy. Approximately 50% of cases get declined when they are first filed requiring claimants to appeal. Appeals for disability funds must be filed within 60 days of the date of the last denial. The first appeal is Reconsideration and the next appeal offers the opportunity for a hearing. The wait for a hearing can be 18-24 months.

b

Both SSD and SSI require that you be totally disabled. SSD benefits are available for people who have worked and paid SS (FICA) taxes for the required number of years. SSI benefits are available for adults and disabled children who have not worked and who meet certain income and resource requirements.

c

The Social Security Administration gives great weight to the opinion of your Primary Treating Physician as to your disability. Once you and your doctor determine that you are disabled, be sure to keep records of ongoing medical treatment including hospital and ER visits and tests. SSA will request records from all sources you identify. If you do not have medical insurance coverage, you could attempt to be examined at a free clinic, county health department, or emergency room. It is important for you to follow the advice of your doctors and take your prescribed medications.  It is very important that you keep all medical records and have them organized chronologically.

d

An RFC form, or a Residual Functional Capacity form, filled out by your Primary Treating Physician, is a very important component of your case for receiving Social Security benefits. There are two kinds of RFC forms, physical and mental, and they serve as your physician's declaration of your capacity to work in consideration of your disability. It will list specifically how physical or mental conditions might limit you related to working and may include things like lifting limits, and abilities to sit, stand, or psychiatric limits such as ability to follow instructions and tolerate stress.