If you become disabled in California, you have a number of options at your disposal. Depending upon the type of disability you’re suffering, and the length of time (or expected length of time) that condition lasts, you could be eligible for one or more types of benefits.
California workers’ compensation. If you have suffered an injury or illness from work-related activities, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation. Injuries and illnesses must be reported to your employer within 30 days, and you must provide evidence of your claim. Once approved, the program will pay for all of your associated medical expenses, and you might be able to collect either temporary or permanent payments due to your inability to work.
All California employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on their employees. But in the event that your employer failed to do this, California’s Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund will pay compensation benefits, and then attempt to recover the money from the employer.
Short-term Disability Insurance. California operates a Short-term Disability Insurance program, or SDI, that workers fund through payroll deductions. If your application for benefits is approved, you can receive a biweekly check amounting to between 60 and 70 percent of your former wages.
Long-term Disability. California does not operate a state-sponsored program for long-term disability benefits. However, many employers offer both short- and long-term disability insurance to employees as an add-on benefit. If you become disabled, do check with your human resources department to discover whether you are enrolled in such a policy.
Social Security Disability. Social Security provides Disability benefits on a federal level, for long-term disability only. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, your specific medical condition must be permanent, or be expected to last at least one year. In addition, your disability must be significant enough to prevent you from being able to engage in employment activities. Qualifying for Social Security Disability can sometimes be tricky, with roughly half of all applications denied at the first stage.
With Social Security Disability, you do have the option to appeal a denial. In many cases you will simply need to provide more thorough medical documentation to prove your claim, or clarify how your disability prevents you from working.
Because gathering all of this evidence can be daunting and time-consuming, we focus our practice on handling Social Security Disability appeals for our clients. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to review your case.