If you live in California and cannot work because of a medical condition, financial assistance is available through state and federal programs. Long-term disability, which is expected to last for at least 12 months or cause death, could make you eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance or the Supplemental Security Income programs. Both of these federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration also provide coverage for medical care through Medicare if you are eligible for SSDI or Medicaid if you qualify for SSI.
When your inability to work is short-term, disability benefits in California are available through the California State Disability Insurance program, or simply CA SDI. It is a program funded by contributions workers make based on their earnings from employment. The program offers partial replacement of wages when you cannot work because of an injury or illness that is not work-related or because of pregnancy or childbirth. The California program is administered by the California Employment Development Department.
What follows is the information you need to gain a better understanding of the disability benefits available when you cannot work because of either a short-term or long-term disability. Keep in mind that professional help is available at Sackett and Associates with a disability lawyer who can answer questions and provide skilled representation for all issues pertaining to disability benefits, including applications and appeals.
California Short-Term Disability
You may qualify for up to 52 weeks of disability benefits in California when a physical or mental illness or injury prevents you from working. Under the CA SDI, the following also qualify for benefits under the program:
A disability caused by a work-related illness or injury does not qualify for CA SDI. However, a work-related illness or injury may entitle you to benefits through workers’ compensation. When in doubt about whether you can file for disability benefits, get advice from a disability lawyer.
Eligibility Requirements For CA SDI Benefits Include The Following:
- Being unable to do your customary work for at least eight days
- Employed or actively look for employment at the onset of your disability
- Lost wages as a result of being disabled
- Must have earnings of at least $300 from which SDI deductions were made
- Receive care and treatment from a physician or other license healthcare professional
Ask your disability lawyer to go over the full list of CA SDI eligibility requirements with you to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits. If you do, then an application is filed through the Employment Development of California and can be done online at the department’s website.
Filing For Social Security Disability Benefits In California
The two types of disability programs available through the Social Security Administration are for long-term disabilities expected to last for at least 12 months. SSI and SSDI offer an option for financial assistance that extends beyond the 52 weeks of benefits available through the CA SDI program.
SSI is a need-based program that offers a monthly federal payment of $841 for an eligible person and $1,261 for an eligible couple. Payments may be reduced if you receive income from other sources. For example, disability benefits that you receive through CA SDI reduce the payment you receive through SSI.
How much of an effect other income has on your SSI benefits depends on several factors, including the fact that some sources of income are excluded or partially excluded. For instance, the first $65 of monthly earned income, which would be from a job or through self-employment, is excluded as is one-half of the remaining balance. Ask your SSI lawyer to review income that you have to determine how it may affect your monthly benefits.
The SSDI program eligibility is based on your work record. You must have worked long enough and paid into the Social Security system through taxes on your earnings at a job or through self-employment. If you are unable to work because of a disability caused by a physical or mental impairment and meet the work-record criteria, you could be eligible for SSDI benefits. An SSDI lawyer can review your claim for benefits to determine if you meet all of the requirements for eligibility.
File For Disability Benefits Through SSI and SSDI
You may file for disability benefits through SSI and SSDI online, over the phone or in person. Once Social Security determines that you meet the non-medical requirements for eligibility for SSI or SSDI, your application goes to the Disability Determination Services, which is a state agency that reviews the medical portion of your application to determine whether you are disabled within the definition contained in the federal regulations.
A better way to apply for disability benefits through SSI or SSDI is with the assistance of an SSD lawyer at Sackett and Associates. Having professional help with your claim ensures that someone will keep you updated about the progress your claim makes as it is processed.
Contact A Disability Lawyer
If you have a disability that prevents you from working, speak to a Sackett and Associates SSD lawyer for sound legal advice and skilled representation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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