How a Disability Attorney Can Help
It’s never too early to obtain legal representation for your Social Security disability claim. Whether you need help presenting a strong initial application, you require representation at the “reconsideration” level, or you’re seeking an attorney to represent you at an administrative hearing, an experienced SSDI attorney can make a big difference on the potential success of your claim. We can refer your potential claim to a highly respected, experience SSDI attorney to review your file and help determine your eligibility for SSDI or SSI. Our attorney partners can also aid you in building your case and obtaining benefits as quickly as possible. We represent clients on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you only pay if we win your case.
California SSI/SSDI Benefits
The federal government and the state of California have established a number of Social Security disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Disability Insurance (SDI), all of which pay cash benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a severe physical or mental disability. If you are suffering from a disability that prevents you from working and earning an income in the state of California, contact a knowledgeable SSI/SSDI attorney today to discuss the possibility of filing a disability claim for monthly benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance
When you work, you pay taxes, and some of these taxes go into the federal government’s Social Security trust fund. If you have paid Social Security taxes for a long enough period of time, and you are no longer able to work because of a physical or mental disability, and are therefore unable to afford your monthly expenses, you may be eligible for cash benefits called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), paid monthly by the federal government. Unlike the federal Supplemental Security Income program, you do not have to prove financial need to qualify for SSDI benefits, but you do have to be insured. You must also meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled, which involves the following five criteria:
1. Are you working at a level of substantial gainful activity?
2. Is your medical condition severe?
3. Is your medical condition on Social Security’s list of impairments?
4. Can you do the same work you did before?
5. Can you do any other type of work?
The SSDI program is linked to Medicare, and once you’ve received SSDI benefits for two years, you automatically become eligible for Medicare, even if you are under 65 years of age.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federally-funded program designed to pay benefits to people who are disabled, blind, or elderly, and who are unable to work, have no other sources of income, and have limited resources. Individuals who qualify for SSI receive monthly cash benefits to pay for basic needs that they can’t afford on their own. Unlike the SSDI program, you do not have to have worked in the past to qualify for SSI benefits. In the state of California, people who qualify for SSI benefits also receive a smaller benefit from the State Supplemental Program (SSP) in addition to their monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits. For most SSI recipients, the maximum possible benefit is $889.40 for an individual and $1,496.20 for a couple including SSP. For people who are blind, the maximum benefit is $944.40 for an individual and $1,643.20 for a couple. People in California who are eligible for SSI benefits automatically receive Medi-Cal benefits as well.
California State Disability Insurance
In addition to Social Security Disability Insurance, the state of California has its own insurance program called State Disability Insurance (SDI), which works just like the federal SSDI program. Most employees in California have a small portion of their income taken out of their paychecks and put into a state SDI fund. If you have paid into the fund, and can no longer work because of a disability not related to your job, SDI pays you a benefit to replace income you are losing while you can’t work. The SDI program also pays benefits to California employees who can’t work because of a pregnancy, or who take time off work to bond with a new child or care for a sick relative. SDI does not cover the following employees:
- Most government workers
- Some non-profit employees
- Interstate Railroad employees
- Some domestic workers
- Employees who claim a religious exemption
If you are unable to work because of a work-related injury, there is a separate program called Workers’ Compensation, which pays benefits to employees injured on the job.
An Experienced CA SSI/SSDI Attorney Can Help
If you are unable to work and earn an income because of a severe physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, you may be entitled to cash benefits through the federal SSDI or SSI programs, and/or through California’s SDI benefit program. Unfortunately, filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration can be a complicated and frustrating process, and statistics show that only 31% of disability applications in California are approved after the initial application process. If you believe you or a loved one may qualify for SSDI or SSI disability benefits, contact an experienced employment law attorney today to discuss your legal options.