The Social Security Administration defines a disabled person as someone who is unable to work due to an extreme condition that will last at least a year or until the individual dies. Many California residents may not be directly impacted by a disability. However, that does not mean that they will not become disabled by some unexpected event in the future. It is important that people understand as much as they can about Social Security disability benefits.

When individuals become disabled and cannot work because of a disability, Social Security Disability benefits can be used to replace a portion of their income. There are other programs that provide partial disability or disability for a short time, but for Social Security benefits, one has to fit the strict definition of disabled as determined by federal regulations. The federal definition used to determine if an individual qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance is typically what is used to determine if someone qualifies for Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The medical severity of a condition is usually the focus when applications are submitted for disability benefits. In order to verify the severity of their conditions, applicants also submit their medical records.

Because whether or not someone is able to work is an aspect of severity that Social Security considers, applicants also have to submit comprehensive information about their prior work. Some of the details they have to provide include primary tasks that were performed and how many hours were worked every week.

An attorney could help a disable person obtain the benefits for which they qualify. The lawyer could also help the client understand federal regulations regarding SSD benefits, submit initial applications and appeal denied benefits.