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What Are The Disability Programs Available In California?


There are two categories of disability programs in California: needs based and entitlement. An example of a needs based benefit program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is designed to provide basic needs for people with disabilities. There is also Medi-Cal, which not only covers medical and long-term nursing home care for people without the resources, but also provides in-home supportive services such as housekeeping and shopping so that the beneficiary can avoid going into a nursing home.

What Is The Difference Between SSI And SSDI?

Eligibility to receive SSI is based on a person’s ability to work, as well as their financial need. In contrast, eligibility to receive SSDI is based solely on a person’s ability to work. SSI applies to anyone with financial need who is unable to achieve gainful employment because of a medical, physical or mental condition. SSDI covers the same conditions as SSI, but applies to people who have spent many years paying into social security through employment. Recipients of SSDI have generally been employed for at least ten years.

How Is A Disability Defined In Order To Use The Criteria To Qualify For This Program?

The term ‘disability’ is defined as a mental or physical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for more than one year, and that renders the person unable to earn an income of the value known as substantially gainful activity. Currently, that value is approximately $1,170 per month.

How Do I Begin To Qualify And Apply For These Programs?

The process of applying for these programs generally starts by scheduling an interview with and providing the necessary information to the local social security office. Phone interviews can be arranged if it is difficult for the applicant to travel.

What Information Do I Need To Apply For SSI And SSDI?

When filing for SSI or SSDI, a person will need their medical record with a physician’s prognosis for their condition, and a complete work history for the past fifteen years. The work history should include all jobs titles, the requirements of those jobs, and the pay that was earned in those jobs.

What Are The Common Mistakes People Make When Filing For Disability Benefits?

The most common mistake that people make when filing for disability benefits is failing to include enough detail in the application. The more detail that is provided, the easier it is to assess need. For example, it is important that the medical documents provided include a letter from the physician stating what the person can and cannot do. If a person is deemed unable to perform certain tasks that are closely related to their current job and their fifteen year employment history, it can better demonstrate to the examiner why SSI or SSDI is required.

What Happens After I Am Approved For Disability Benefits?

Once a person is approved for disability benefits, there will be an approval process review. Depending on the facts that led to the approval, the time at which the social security administration will do the review can vary. In some cases it can take as little as six months and in others it can take as long as seven years. In either case, the reviews do not occur at regular intervals. The beneficiary will receive a letter that states it is time for a continuing disability review, of which there are two types: short form and long form. The short form review involves simply answering questions about the person’s ongoing medical condition. The long form requires significantly more information and should be supported by current medical records of the same type that were used to initially obtain the disability benefits. While the short form version is processed more or less by a computer program, the long form version is actually reviewed by a member of the social security administration who will determine whether or not a continuation of benefits is appropriate.

For more information on Disability Benefits In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

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