California workers who are employees have payroll taxes automatically deducted from each paycheck. There are several types of taxes that all workers pay, including social security tax. This is often compared to insurance because if someone becomes disabled, they might be eligible for benefits from the government since they have paid taxes into the system. However, not everyone is eligible just because they’ve paid in and then become disabled.
There are two types of social security disability. Eligibility for the first type, Supplemental Security Income, is determined by disability and income. SSI has nothing to do with how long someone has worked. In fact, it is sometimes even available to people who have never worked. To qualify, however, a person must fall below a certain income level.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is a pay-in system. Employees and the self-employed pay through taxes, and eligibility for someone who is disabled depends on how long the person has been paying. If someone has been working and paying the taxes long enough, the government must also decide that the person is really disabled. There is no income test for SSDI.
For some people, it is difficult getting approved for SSDI. This is in part due to the fact that the government has a very stringent definition of ‘disability.” A disability must have lasted a year or be expected to last at least a year in order for someone to qualify. An application is more likely to be approved in a shorter time if a worker’s condition is on the list of ‘compassionate allowances.” This list includes certain types of cancer and other serious diseases.
With help from a lawyer, Social Security denials can be appealed. An appeal to a denial involves a hearing, during which a judge will hear testimony from neutral experts as to the ability of the claimant to work.