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Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits in California

If you are applying for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, it is important to understand the many requirements that must be met for your claim of benefits to be approved. First and foremost, you must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits. SSDI is funded through payroll taxes, which essentially act as premiums for the disability insurance the Social Security Administration (SSA) is providing. When you work and earn money, you earn work credits that get you coverage through SSDI. The amount of work credits you need to be eligible for SSDI will vary depending upon your age at the time when you become disabled. If you do not have sufficient work credits, you may be eligible for disability benefits through another SSA program called SSI, but you will not be able to make an SSDI claim.

Provided you meet the minimum work history requirements, the remainder of the requirements focus on whether you are sufficiently disabled. The SSA looks at many factors to determine if your disability impacts you severely enough to entitle you to SSDI benefits. For example:

  • They will consider whether you are currently engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA is defined as working and earning more than $1,010 per month (or $1,690 for individuals who are legally blind). If you are engaged in SGA, you cannot qualify for benefits.
  • They will consider whether your condition has lasted or will last for at least 12 months. If your disability is not expected to last this long, you may not qualify for SSDI benefits unless the condition is expected to be fatal. You may be eligible for short term disability benefits through a disability benefits program in California or through a private employer, but SSDI provides long-term benefits only.
  • They will consider whether you can work in the position that you were holding before you became disabled, or whether you can work in any job for which your background, skills and education make you qualified.

In addition to these factors, one of the most important things that the SSA looks at is whether your medical condition is listed on their List of Impairments. Often called the Blue Book, the list of impairments is a detailed list of adult and childhood disabilities that may make a person eligible for benefits. If your condition is listed, then there are certain accompanying systems listed in the book as well. You must exhibit those symptoms as described in the blue book, at the frequency described and have medical evidence from a licensed physician to prove it. If your condition is not listed in the blue book, it becomes harder to qualify for disability benefits although it is still possible if you can prove your medical condition is equivalent in severity to those listed.

An attorney for social security disability can assist you in gathering the proof that you need in order to successfully convince the SSA that you meet the qualifying requirements so that you can have your claim approved. If your claim is one of the many that are denied, a social security lawyer can help you to navigate the four steps of the disability denial appeals process, which include a request for reconsideration, a hearing, a review by the appeals board and finally an appeal to the federal court.

To learn more about the SSDI application process in California or about how California disability benefits attorneys can help, contact Howard Law, P.C. today at 800-872-5925. Located in Orange County, our firm has helped clients throughout the Southern California area to successfully get the benefits they deserve.