Do You Meet Disability Qualifications?

Find Out Today.

How Does the SSA Define “Disability”?

Disability Qualifications in Pennsylvania

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the federal agency responsible for managing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the two disability benefit programs have some differences, primarily regarding work credits and asset levels, they have the same requirements in terms of how they define disabilities and qualify applicants for benefits based on these medical or mental disorders.

The SSA defines a disability as a medical condition that is severe enough to prevent you from
substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months.

Substantial gainful activity, or SGA, is defined as working and earning $1,260 or more per month. The income limit for SGA changes year to year with inflation. It is $1,260 as of 2020.

Five Questions to Determine If You Have a Qualifying Disability

In determining whether you meet their definition of “disabled,” the SSA uses a five-step process to analyze your condition and its impact on your abilities.

Question One: Are You Working?

  • You’re only considered disabled if you cannot earn enough money to make a living. If you’re not working at all or are earning less than $1,260 per month, the SSA should approve you at this level and pass your claim on to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) for a medical review.

Question Two: Is Your Condition Severe?

  • The BDD will need medical evidence that your condition affects your ability to do basic work. This may include sitting, standing, lifting, walking, remembering things, etc. This condition must be expected to last at least 12 months for you to be considered disabled.

Question Three: Is Your Condition on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments?

  • The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments, which contains medical conditions in a number of categories (neurological disorders, mental disorders, endocrine disorders, skin disorders, cancer, respiratory disorders, immune system disorders, etc.) that are generally so severe that they will prevent a person from working and earning a living. If your condition is on the Listing of Impairments, you should be considered disabled. If it is not, the Pennsylvania BDD will move on to the next step.

Question Four: Can You Do the Work You Did Previously?

  • Your condition must prevent you from doing the work you used to do. If you can still do the same or similar job duties that you once performed, the BBD will most likely find that you are not disabled. If you cannot do the work you once did, the BDD will move on to the next step.

Question Five: Can You Do Any Other Work?

  • Your condition must prevent you from learning another trade or doing another type of work, based on your age, work experience, education, skills, and more. To meet the SSA’s definition of disability, you must not be able to work in another field.

Find out more about disability qualifications and the definition of “disability” by calling our offices at (888) 498-3023 or filling out our online contact form. We serve York, Carlisle, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and all of Pennsylvania.

Do You Need Help?

Fill out this form, and we'll setup a free consultation! Call (888) 498-3023
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.

Why Hire Us

  • We've been around since 1922.

  • We’ve helped over 40,000 Pennsylvanians.

  • You pay us nothing unless we win.

  • Free consultations available.

  • We’re committed to fighting for your family.

Meet Your Attorneys

Trustworthy. Reliable. Winners

Our Award-Winning Team Is Here To Help

At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg, we have nearly a century of experience helping our clients recover from serious accidents and injuries. During that time, we have established ourselves as leaders in the field, receiving numerous awards from both local and national organizations. This includes honors for the tens of millions of dollars that we have won, as well as recognition of our law firm's dedication to our clients.

National Trial Lawyers

Membership in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is by invitation-only and is comprised of the nation’s premier trial attorneys in the region.

Super Lawyers

Only 5% of attorneys in the U.S. are selected to the coveted list of Super Lawyers®, a recognition earned through nomination, independent research, and evaluation.

Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Membership in Million Dollar Advocates Forum® is limited only to those attorneys who have won million-dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients.

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, a recognition given to less than 1% of all practicing lawyers.

Mass Tort Trial Lawyers - Top 25

Members of the Mass Tort Trial Lawyers Association – Top 25 exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, and performance in their area of specialty.

Super Lawyers Rising Stars

The Super Lawyers Rising Stars list honors no more than 2.5% of all attorneys in every state who are up and comers in the field. To be eligible for this award, an attorney must be either 40 years or younger or have been in practice for less than a decade.

U.S. News-Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms

“Best Law Firms” is a ranking of law firms nationwide in 75 practice areas by U.S. News and Best Lawyers®. Our firm has been ranked Tier 1 in Harrisburg for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® is the premier peer review guide for lawyers nationwide. It was first published in 1983 and has since been used to recognize leading lawyers in a wide variety of practice areas.