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Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at night panorama California disability


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

If you need help filing for Social Security disability benefits in California, then are two federal programs you need to know about. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). The second program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 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, read messages from the EDD, 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 short-term disability insurance through a private company. Your employer may also offer maternity and paternity leave benefits or long-term disability benefits. Additionally, there are federal benefits available through your employer, like FMLA. FMLA allows you to take time off from work if you are ill.


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 and can last a few years until you are able to return to work or even until retirement age. Every 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. 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. Additionally, cancer is another cause of long term disability. Next on the list are mental impairments. For example, anxiety and depression are long term disabling conditions.


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. If you don’t have a computer or access to one, 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.

  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 and also reviews other forms of medical evidence 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 feel they do not have enough medical information to make the correct 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, these are the locations where your 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 or not you have a qualifying disability at the initial  level of your case. They also make a similar decision at the reconsideration level of appeal.

It is possible that the Claims Examiner will decide there is not enough medical evidence about your condition to determine disability. If that is the case, then the examiner may send you to a Consultative Examination. This is when you visit a doctor for a one time examination. 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. It is important to file the appeals on time, at each stage of the disability process. For instance, you only have 60 days  to appeal an unfavorable decision from the SSA. You do not want to want to miss the 60 day deadline.

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 have a combination of impairments. If you have more than one physical condition, then you may be eligible for benefits under “equalling” the disability requirements. Find out more about winning disability benefits  with medical records here.


Our law firm can also help you win SSD or SSI benefits 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 different 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 here about winning disability benefits in California using your residual functional capacity.


At Cannon Disability Law, we are experts in applying for and 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, make sure you 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 will 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 also need a list of the places you have worked. Also, you will need to describe what you did for your job 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 you without your help. That is why we state that 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 on the facts about your daily 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.

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 for your testimony.

For example, we will review the questions the judge will ask. Find out more here about what questions the judge will ask at the hearing. Likewise, we will help you prepare your answers while looking at 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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