People who have a disability that prevents them from working long term in Pennsylvania can file a disability claim to get coverage through the Social Security Administration. The SSA has strict rules as to what defines a disability and, even with cases that seem obvious, it takes some work to prove not only the disability but also the inability to work.

According to the Social Security Administration, the foundation of a disability claim is medical evidence. This evidence must show impairment as well as its severity. Ideally, a medical exam and report should come from the claimant’s main medical provider, but the SSA can hire a consultative examiner.

A medical report should include the chief complaint and a history and description of the issue. The report should also have positive and negative results from tests such as X-rays, lab work, neurological exam and physical diagnostic tests. There should also be a diagnosis and prognosis, including a list of work limitations.

According to FindLaw, the onset of the disability is important. For some people, this date can be hard to pinpoint, but it helps to talk to others to get an idea of when the impairment began to interfere with work abilities.

Evidence relating to how the impairment affects daily activities is also important. A daily journal can outline how the condition affects the ability to maneuver or perform certain tasks. The claimant must be able to prove how the impairment negatively affects work ability. It may help to list family, employers and colleagues who see firsthand how it impairs work performance. Honesty is imperative when applying for disability to prevent claim denial.