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.

Individuals must be totally disabled to receive benefits

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Individuals in California who are seeking disability benefits must show that it will prevent them from holding gainful employment for 12 months. They may also qualify if a condition has prevented them from working for the last 12 months. When disability benefits are awarded, it is assumed that the disability is permanent. Those who receive benefits may be subject to a continuing disability review to determine if their conditions have improved.

The duration of a person’s condition is one data point used to determine the severity of that condition. An examiner will also look at medical records as well as any information provided by a third-party contact. In some cases, an administrative law judge will determine that a disability is likely to last for 12 months. However, an applicant will need to go through a reconsideration appeal prior to appearing before a judge.

If the applicant is a child, an examiner will look to see if that person is developing at a similar rate to his or her classmates. The examiner will likely review medical records as well as records provided by the child’s school. In either scenario, a person must show an inability to engage in routine tasks such as sticking to a personal hygiene routine. An application could also be approved if a person shows a mental impairment such as forgetting basic information easily.

A person who is seeking SSD benefits may be able to enhance their chances of doing so by obtaining the help of an attorney. Their attorney may explain the difference between appealing a denied application and submitting a new claim. Counsel may also gather evidence of an impairment and make sure an examiner or a judge sees it. This might enable a person to have an application for benefits approved.