PLEASE NOTE: Our office is still open, serving our clients, and taking new clients, too! Attorneys and staff are working remotely and/or safely apart within our office(s) while recognizing the recommended guidelines for social distancing. Your health and safety, and that of our staff, is important to our firm. In response to the threats of COVID-19, we are currently offering clients and potential clients the ability to communicate with our attorneys and staff by telephone or email. As soon as it is deemed safe to meet in person, we will be happy to schedule in-office appointments. In the meantime, please contact our office by telephone or email to discuss your legal needs. We continue to fight for your disability benefits during this difficult and unprecedented time. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

How to apply for disability benefits

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A California resident who files for Social Security Disability benefits must show evidence of an actual disability. This evidence must also prove the severity of the condition. It may be possible for the Social Security Administration to help an individual find this evidence assuming that permission has been granted to provide assistance. Providing evidence in a timely manner may work to reduce the amount of time needed to process a claim.

Evidence of an impairment provided to the SSA must be objective and come from a reputable medical source. In some cases, a nonmedical source may also be able to present evidence that an individual is unable to function in a work setting. Nonmedical sources may include friends, neighbors or clergy.

In the event that there is not enough evidence for the SSA to make a determination about a person’s medical condition, an examination may be conducted. Ideally, the exam is conducted in conjunction with the medical source provided by the claimant. However, if that source does not want to perform the exam, the SSA will find an alternate source. This may also occur if the claimant’s source is deemed to be unreliable in any way. Once the exam has been completed, a report will be issued that will be used as part of any determination made by the SSA.

Applying for SSD benefits may help an individual pay bills and cover medical expenses while out of work. While the SSA may provide assistance in finding evidence to prove that a person has a legitimate disability, it may be advisable to have the assistance of experienced legal counsel throughout the process.