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Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at night panorama California disability


Filing for Social Security disability benefits in California is something that Cannon Disability Law can help you with. Especially, if you have a disability that prevents you from working for longer than 12 months.

There are two federal programs that can help you. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). SSD benefits also come with Medicare benefits.

The second program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Receiving monthly SSI benefits qualifies you for Medicaid benefits. Learn more about Medicaid benefits here. Both programs are run by the Social Security Administration.


California also has a shortterm disability insurance program through the state. The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides short-term Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) wage replacement benefits to eligible workers who need time off work.

You may be eligible for the California SDI program if you are unable to work due to non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.

You may also be eligible for PFL to:

  • Care for a seriously ill family member.
  • Bond with a new child.
  • Participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country.

To file for benefits, submit online forms, or manage your profile, access your SDI Online account at the California State Disability Insurance program website.

Additionally, your employer may offer private short-term disability insurance. Your employer may also offer maternity/paternity leave benefits and long-term disability benefits.

Long-term disability benefits pay a portion of your salary if you become disabled. Additionally, there are federal benefits, like FMLA, available through your employer. FMLA allows you to take time off from work if you are ill. It then allows you to return your job once you are better.


There are two types of disability insurance that you can purchase: short-term and long-term. Short-term will typically replace a portion of your salary from three to six months following the onset of a disability. Long-term benefits will generally begin six months after your disability begins. Long-term benefits usually last a few years until you are able to return to work. However, they can also last until retirement age.

Typically, private insurance limits mental health payments to a two year term. This is not true across the board. But, most policies put a limit of two years on any payment for mental health disability, like depression or anxiety.  Therefore, if you have a combination of impairments, like a severe back impairment and depression, you should make sure the insurance company’s payments are based on your back impairment. Because, if they base payments on your mental health impairment, there will be a time limit on the payout period.

Every insurance policy, whether it be short or long term disability, is different. Each policy also contains its own guidelines. If you read your policy, then you will know the timelines that it offers.

Disability insurance is not the same as Workers’ Compensation benefits. In the case of disability benefits, injury or illness does not have to stem from a workplace event or accident. In fact, research by the U.S. Department of Education shows that the most common causes of long-term disability are heart disease and back injury. Next on the list are mental impairments.


Here are three easy ways to apply or file your application for disability in California.  Probably the simplest way to file an application is to file online. However, if you don’t have a computer or access to one, then you can still apply over the telephone or in-person.  Benefits begin from the date you file your application, so the longer you wait to file, the more money you lose.

Here are three ways to file your application:

  1. Online: You can apply online at Social Security’s website.
  2. Telephone: You can apply over the telephone by calling the SSA’s toll-free customer service line at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
  3. In-person: You can apply in-person at your local Social Security field office.


After you apply for benefits, your case will transfer to the office of Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS is a state organization. DDS reviews medical records to help the Social Security Administration make prompt decisions in disability claims. Disability Determination Services can also assist with both SSI and SSDI claims in California.

Also, DDS can request more information if they do not have enough medical information to make a decision about your case. For example, they may send you to a consultative examination. Find out more here about consultative examinations with a doctor or psychologist.  The addresses and phone numbers of DDS are listed below:


Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 6118
Covina, CA 91722-6118
Telephone: 626-732-8100

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 28931
Fresno, CA 93729-9835
Telephone: 559-440-5000

Disability Evaluations Division
Sierra Branch
P.O. Box 28937-8937
Fresno, California 93720
Telephone: 559-440-5200

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 54800
Los Angeles, California 90054-0800
Telephone: 213-736-7000

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 60999
Los Angeles, California 90060-0999

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 24225
Oakland, California 94623-1225
Telephone: 510-622-3506

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 619020
Roseville, California 95678-9861
Telephone: 916-774-4100

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 997120
Sacramento, California 95899-7120
Telephone: 916-263-5000

Disability Determination Services
P.O. Box 85501
San Diego, California 92186-5501
Telephone: 619-278-4550

Disability Determination Service Division
P.O. Box 85326
San Diego, CA 92186-5326
Telephone: 619-278-4300


After you file for disability in California,  the Claims Examiner reviews your case. The Claims Examiner looks at your medical records to see if you qualify for disability. If you have questions or need to submit medical records, then you can submit information to DDS.

The Claims Examiner decides whether you have a qualifying disability at the initial stage of your claim. They also make a decision at the reconsideration level. Find out more about disability in certain California cities here.

It is possible that the Claims Examiner will decide there is not enough medical evidence to determine disability. If that is the case, then the examiner may send you to a Consultative Examination. A Consultative Examination is when you visit a doctor for a one time exam. It is also free for you. For tips on what to expect at a Consultative Examination go here.

If the Claims Examiner denies your case at the reconsideration level, then you will need to file a Request for a Hearing. Your hearing request is due within 60 days of the date of the denial. It is important to file any appeal on time. For instance, you only have 60 days  to appeal SSA’s unfavorable decision. You do not want to want to miss the 60 day deadline. If you do, you may need to start over.

If you need more information because you already lost your hearing, go here. You do have options. For example, you may be able to apply again. Likewise, you can file an appeal to the Appeals Council or to the Federal Court.


Physical impairments can result in disability. If you cannot work for more than 12 months due to any of the following physical impairments, then you should apply for disability benefits in California.

It is also possible to be disabled due to a combination of impairments. If you have more than one physical condition, then you may be eligible for benefits under “equalling” the disability rules. Find out more about winning disability benefits  with medical records here.


Our law firm can also help you win SSD or SSI benefits. Especially, if you have a mental condition that prevents you from working. For example, you may have one mental impairment or a combination of mental conditions. Either way, we can help you with your case. Disability benefits are available for many mental health disorders, including:

In addition, mental health issues can combine with physical impairments. If you cannot meet SSA’s criteria under one mental health impairment, then you may have a disability due to your residual functional capacity. Find out more about winning disability benefits in California using your residual functional capacacity here.


At Cannon Disability, we are experts in winning disability benefits. For example, in the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 disability cases for our clients. If you need help applying for benefits, contact our office. We can also help you appeal a denial from the SSA.  Additionally, if you do not have medical evidence, then you can find a free or low cost California doctor here.

When you contact our office for help with your application, have some basic facts ready. For example, we will need to know your birthdate, wedding date, and divorce date. We will also need to know the date you last worked. Also, we need to know the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your doctors.

For instance, the application asks basic information about your family and your children. Likewise, you will need your work history. This means you need a list of all of the jobs in the last 15 years. Also, you will need to describe what job you did at each workplace. The SSA needs to know this information in order to process your application.


Finally, our legal team cannot file an application for disability in California without your help. That is why we say we are your legal team. Because, a team requires cooperation from all of the players. We may be experts at disability law, but you are the expert about your life. Our team needs to know when you stopped working and also, why you cannot work. Likewise, we need you to explain the symptoms of your disability to us.

First we need you to become our client. You can review the forms we need to you to sign here. Once we receive these forms, we can represent you. We will help you file your application for benefits.

After we file your application, we will also collect your medical records. We will also need your help to do collect your records from your physicians. Likewise, we need records from your counselors and physical therapists. If you don’t give us the information about your doctors, then we can’t contact them for you.

Most importantly, if you are filing for disability in California, we can represent you. If your case goes through a denial at the reconsideration phase, then we will request a hearing for you. Prior to your hearing, we will prepare you to testify.

For example, we will review the judge’s typical questions. Next, we will help you know how to answer those questions. Find out more here about what questions the judge will ask at the hearing. Likewise, we will help you prepare your answers about your specific disabilities. Let us help you win your SSD and SSI case. If you need help filing for disability in California, then contact Cannon Disability Law today.

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