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Social Security Laws in California

social security benefits

If you are unable to work for at least 12 months due to one or several medical problems, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. Social Security if a federal program of the government whereby covered individuals who are temporarily or permanently disabled are able to obtain social security disability benefits. Although the rules on eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) does not vary from state to state, the amount of benefits, however, may vary depending on the state’s disability and other retirement benefits in force per state.

If you are covered by the State Disability Insurance (SDI), you can receive pay benefits of up to 52 weeks in California. However, Social Security treats SDI a public disability benefit and this is used to offset any SSDI benefits that may recover. In the same way, many government employees, like teachers and police officers receiving Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) benefits will be computed and used to reduce their SSDI benefits under the Windfall Elimination Provisions or Government Pension Offset rules.

As you can see, there are different considerations you need to look into in determining the eligibility and the amount of benefit you may be entitled to receive in case of disability which prevents you from being to obtain or retain gainful employment in California.

To be considered disabled for purposes of obtaining benefits under the Social Security law, you must be unable to perform any "substantial" work due to a physical or mental condition which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least a year. Hence, in filing for application for SSDI benefit, you must prove that your impairment is severe enough to prevent you from working not only in your usual job but in any other occupation considering your age, education, training, and work experience. Considering that you are getting SSI benefit, the coverage is construed strictly against the person claiming said benefit. Hence, unlike many private pension funds or even other government disability programs, SSDI is not intended for a temporary condition.

Disability benefits can be through SSI or SSDI. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is granted to employees who are unable to earn due to disability, which is considered as permanent and to last for at least a year. In comparison, SSDI is granted for employee who is able to comply with both earnings and disability requirements. Disability lasting for at least a year and, generally, monthly earnings of less than $780 is considered as insubstantial earning which may qualify you for the SSDI benefit.

Process of Filing for Social Security Benefits

Hundreds of thousands of applications for SSDI and SSI benefits are filed each year in California alone. A majority of these claims are denied outright for failing to file complete documentation for their applications. Aside from these, a large number are also denied due to lack of evidence or failure to prove that the applicants are covered and entitled to the benefits they claim. If you want to make sure that your claims are not denied outright, at the outset, you should seek immediate help from legal professionals who have vast knowledge in preparing applications for disability benefits with the proper government agencies. Otherwise, you might miss out on the financial help that you need and truly deserve.

It is true though that, in case you are denied your application for disability benefits, the legal process provides you a second chance to prove your case through appeal. However, as all appeal goes, unless you have the complete factual evidence to support your declaration that you are disabled and are able to provide proof of your requested benefits, your appeal will not matter as it will only be denied again. Not all lawyers are adept at assisting applicants in their disability claims; much less file the proper appeal to convince the government agency concerned to reverse its decision. Hence, if you are serious in obtaining SSDI or SSI benefits for you and your family’s sake, the only option you actually have is to seek proper legal help from SSDI lawyers or SSI attorneys who you can trust to meticulously study your case and prepare your application and obtain the highest financial aid you deserve.

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