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​Disability Determination

COVID-19 FAQs

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How does Social Security Disability differ from Unemployment Compensation?

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The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA).  SSDI provides benefits for individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment lasting for at least 12 months or resulting in death.  More information about the SSDI program can be found on the SSA web page at: www.ssa.gov\disability.  

How do I check the status of my Social Security disability claim?

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​You can check the status of your disability claim by visiting the following link, located on the SSA.gov web page: https://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices/  

This online service link allows users to check the status of their claim and provides a link to FAQs.

How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

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Social Security offers an online disability application. Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:  You can start your disability claim immediately, there is no need to wait for an appointment and you can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer.  You can also apply by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or by contacting your local Social Security office.

It may take several months to process an application for disability benefits, so you should apply as soon as you become disabled. To apply for disability benefits, you will need to complete an application for Social Security Benefits and the Disability Report. You can complete the Disability Report online at www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/. 

To identify what information you will need when you apply for Disability Benefits, go to: www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-16.html. You may also visit the SSA web site at www.ssa.gov/disability/ for the latest information regarding the Disability Program.

I'm scheduled for a consultative examination, but I'm concerned about the spread of COVID-19 or that I might be violating the Governor's Stay-At-Home order by attending. Will my case be denied if I decide not to attend the exam?

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The Social Security Administration has temporary cancelled all consultative examinations and has directed that no consultative examinations be scheduled or rescheduled until further notice. 

I'm scheduled for a Social Security disability hearing and the disability offices are closed. What will happen to my scheduled hearing?

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If you already have an appointment for a disability hearing, a Disability Hearing Officer may contact you about the possibility of conducting the hearing by phone. Phone hearings are permissible in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, we are unable to schedule new hearings at this time. If we cannot conduct your hearing by phone, our office will reschedule your hearing in due course. We will contact you with the new date and time of the rescheduled hearing.

Will my Social Security disability benefits continue while the offices are closed?

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If you have been receiving benefit continuation throughout the appeals process, your benefits will continue.

I received a letter through the U.S. mail stating my benefits will be suspended or discontinued unless I call the number listed on the letter.  What should I do?

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​Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any communication you receive that says SSA will do so is a scam, whether you receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call

If you receive a letter, text, call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with your Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond.  We encourage you to report Social Security scams using our dedicated online form, at  https://oig.ssa.gov/.  Please share this information with your friends and family, to help spread awareness about Social Security scams.

I have questions about Social Security disability. How can I talk to someone?

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Customer service representatives are available by calling  1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

My disability claim is currently pending at the Pennsylvania disability office (BDD) and the office is currently closed.  What happens to my claim now?

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Although our physical offices are currently closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, we do have a limited number of employees who are teleworking and continue to process priority claims.  

I am experiencing a mental health crisis.  Who can I call for help?

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It's ok to ask for help.  If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the crisis text line by texting PA to 741-741.

I'd like more information about COVID-19.  Where can I find the best sources for information?

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the PA Department of Health are reliable sources for information regarding COVID-19.  Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ or https://www.health.pa.gov for more information.