California residents do not need to have a permanent disability to receive Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, an individual seeking such assistance must have a total disability. To qualify as being totally disabled, an applicant must not be able to reach the substantially gainful income threshold in a given year. Those who receive benefits may be allowed to continue working as long as their income is below that amount.

To successfully obtain SSD or SSI benefits, an applicant must show that he or she cannot return to work or fulfill the duties of any job for a year. Applicants will use relevant medical records to establish that they have a disability. Once an application is approved, he or she must participate in a continuing disability review. Reviews take place once a year, every four years or every seven years based on the type of benefits a person receives.

As with the original benefit claim, an individual complies with the CDR by providing medical records in a timely manner. These records should show that there has been no improvement in an individual’s medical or financial situation. As SSD and SSI are federal programs, the rules are the same for all applicants. This differs from workers’ compensation programs that may have different rules in different states.

Those who are not able to work because of a physical or mental disability may be able to receive SSD benefits. Depending on the scope of the impairment, it may be possible to receive benefits on a permanent basis. An attorney may be able to help a person fill out a benefit application or gather records to help prove a disability exists. Attorneys may also be helpful during the continuing disability review process.