Disabled Pennsylvania residents can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), programs that provide a monthly cash benefit. While these are federal programs (both run by the Social Security Administration, or SSA), a Pennsylvania state agency makes the initial disability determination, based on the SSA's definition of disabled. Also, Pennsylvania pays an extra supplement to some recipients of SSI. The State of Pennsylvania does not provide short-term disability benefits.
You can call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to apply over the phone or set up an appointment to apply in person. Pennsylvania has sixty SSA field offices, so there should be one near you if you would rather get in person help with your application. (To locate your field office visit, the SSA’s website and enter your zip code in the locator. )
If you are applying for SSDI, you can apply online at www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htm. When you fill out your online application, the SSA will assign you an application number. Make sure to keep this number because you will need it to track your application status.
Pennsylvania provides a supplemental payment to some SSI recipients, depending on their living situation. The amounts below include both federal and state payments:
Independent living status (no state supplement)
Eligible person $710.00
Eligible couple $1,066.00
Living in someone else’s household
Eligible person $473.34
Eligible couple $710.67
Domiciliary care (DOMCARE)
Eligible person $1,144.30
Eligible couple $2,013.40
Personal care boarding home (PCBH)
Eligible person $1,149.30
Eligible couple $2,023.40
Eligible person $30.00
Eligible couple $60.00
The SSA manages and pays the state supplement for Pennsylvania; for more information, contact the SSA.
Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) works with the SSA to determine whether a Pennsylvania applicant meets the SSA’s definition of disabled. The BDD, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I), has three main locations.
47 South Washington Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
351 Harvey Avenue
P.O. Box 2500
Greensburg, PA 15605
1171 S. Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2594
You may be contacted by a claims examiner from the BDD while your disability determination is being made. For more information, visit the L&I website.
If you want help with your disability claim or appeal, you can find an experienced disability attorney in your area by going to our Pennsylvania disability lawyers page.