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Philadelphia SSD Attorney: Know the Terminology Before Filing Your Claim


It’s quite difficult to fathom being ill or injured to the point of being unable to work until you are at that point. But, once you are facing a mounting pile of bills with limited means to pay them, you find yourself amid a system that has many complex terms, definitions and processes. As Philadelphia Social Security disability (SSD) attorneys, we understand how difficult applying for SSD benefits can be. We’ve compiled a short list of some common terms and definitions to help applicants in the Philadelphia area.

  • Alleged Onset Date (AOD) – This is the starting date you claimed disability with your Social Security Disability application.
  • Back Pay (Retroactive Benefits) – It’s no secret that applying for SSD benefits can take quite a long time. To assist those who may be going through the process over a substantial period of time, back pay benefits are awarded in addition to ongoing payments upon approval. These back pay benefits will be retroactive to the initial alleged onset date.
  • Award Letter – This document is sent to disability claimants who have been awarded benefits. It often will detail monthly benefit amounts, the day of the month benefits will be paid, the amount of back pay due, and the date that the back pay check will be sent.
  • Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) – For Pennsylvania, this is the state office charged with determining disability claimants’ eligibility for benefits for initial, reconsideration and first appeal levels.
  • Social Security Disability Examiner – An employee of the BDD, this individual determines applicants’ eligibility for benefits based on medical documentation.
  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) – The remaining capacity for sustained work that a disabled individual has after factoring in the mental or physical disability.
  • Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) – A level of work that brings in a certain amount of money each month. In 2013, that amount is $1,040 for non-blind applicants and $1,740 for blind applicants. Earning over this amount each month could cause the Social Security Administration (SSA) to consider you not disabled and fully able to work.


When you are unable to work due to a serious illness or long-term, life-altering injury, the Social Security program can help provide benefits for you and your loved ones. Applying for benefits can be a difficult process to navigate, but there is help available. Call our Pennsylvania Social Security disability benefit attorneys today for a free consultation. We’ll help you determine the strength of your case and what your next steps should be. Call us today at 888-807-WORK (9675).

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