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How to handle a disability claim in support court

Support in Pennsylvania is dictated by the net monthly income of the parties. In the event that a party in a support matter has no income and asserts an inability to work due to medical issues, the support rules require that a physician verification form be completed. Pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.) 1910.29 (b), the physician verification form should be completed by the party's physician and submitted at the time of the support conference. A sample of the actual form to be used is contained in Pa.R.C.P. 1910.29(b)(3). Supporting test results or doctor's notes can be submitted with the verification form if the party is okay with waiving their right to privacy of those documents under HIPAA.

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If the support matter does not settle at the conference and a hearing will be necessary, the physician verification form can be admitted into evidence if certain requirements are met. First, the party intending to use the physician verification form must serve a copy on the other side within twenty (20) days from the conference date. The other party then has ten (10) days from receipt of the physician verification form to file an objection. If no objection is received, the form may be accepted into evidence without requiring the physician's testimony. If an objection is made, the physician would need to testify in court and the court would determine how the cost of the testimony will be divided among the parties.

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