Social Security Disability Resource Center

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SSD and SSI applications in California

Many individuals in California who are effectively disabled (unable to perform the work requirements of their current jobs, past jobs, or any other job) wait quite a while before they decide to contact the social security office and file an application for disability. In fact, some potential claimants never seriously consider filing for disability benefits until their funds are exhausted and their disabling condition has become even more severe.


1. Tips to file for disability
2. How to apply for disability
3. How to apply with an application for disability
4. Requirements for applying for disability
5. Medical conditions for which you can file for disability
6. How long does it take to get disability

Why do some people wait so long before applying for disability? There are many answers to the question. For some, delaying filing may reflect the hope that their condition will improve, making a return to work possible. For others, a delay in filing may have a bit to do with hearing from others how difficult the (social security disability) system is. Such scenarios are understandable, of course. The mere prospect of not being able to work and earn a living is fatiguing, in and of itself.

However, waiting too long to file an appeal, or in this case an application for disability benefits can be harmful to an individual's well-being. What is "too long" in this instance? Too long can be defined as waiting beyond the time that you have become disabled and unable to work. In other words, when you can no longer go to your job, or can no longer work and earn a certain minimal amount (social security refers to this as substantial gainful activity), you should immediately file an application for disability. And you should not hesitate to do this, because the application and appeal system can take an incredibly long time to get through.

This brings us to other questions, of course, such as how to file an application for disability and how long such an application takes to process. How to file for disability is fairly simple (though, it can be somewhat confusing, depressing, and intimidating). You simply contact the social security administration (by contacting your local social security office--try to avoid the 1-800 number as it tends to be the source of a fair amount of bad information) and inform them that you wish to file a disability claim. Once you've performed that simple act, the process will be set in motion.

What happens after you've requested an application? An interview appointment date will be set. Your interview can be done over the phone, or in person at the social security office. What happens after an interview has been conducted and an application has been filed? You wait, for several weeks, or, perhaps, several months, for a disability claims examiner (at a state agency that handles disability claims for the social security administration) to gather all your medical records and make a decision on your case. If the decision is an approval, of course, then you should begin receiving benefits shortly (shortly is a relative term---sometimes it can take weeks to get into benefit receipt status and months to receive your backpay). If the decision is a denial, you have the choice of starting over with a new application for disability, or filing an appeal (typically, the better choice).

How long does it take to get a decision on an application for disability? This is a nebulous question because the answer varies with each and every social security disability claim. There are no deadlines on SSD cases (unlike medicaid) so an application for disability may take thirty days, three months, six months, or beyond a year. In most cases, a decision will take close to the average that's spouted by most claims reps (claims reps are the individuals who take disability claims at the social security office). But that doesn't always happen.

If you are denied for disability, of course, you probably want to consider getting representation for your claim, though you are entitled to obtain help at any stage of the process, even after you've just applied for social security disability or SSI disability, or before a disability hearing is scheduled to take place.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Filing for disability in California

    How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California

    How long should you wait before you apply for disability?

    SSD and SSI applications in California

    What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?

    Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?

    Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?

    How long does a disability case take in California

    After you file for disability in California

    Filing for disability in California and your condition

    Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process

    The California disability process

    Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?

    The Social Security Disability process in California

    California Disability determination process

    Disability approval criteria in California

    California Social Security Disability decisions

    Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California

    Questions about disability in California

    How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?

    California Social Security Back Pay

    Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?

    Disability two year medicare waiting period in California

    California review of Social Security Disability claim

    California Social Security Disability status

    VA disability and California Social Security Disability

    Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case

    How do examiners make disability decisions in California?

    Applying for disability benefits in California

    How long does disability take in California?

    How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?

    Why do disability claims take so long in California?

    How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?

    Disability claims in California with certain conditions

    Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California

    Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California

    Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California

    Winning California disability

    Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?

    Getting approved for disability in California

    Winning disability in California

    California Disability Lawyers and Representation

    Getting a disability attorney in California

    Finding a new disability attorney in California

    Applying for SSI in California

    Filing for SSI disability in California

    SSI disability denied in California

    Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?

    How to apply for SSI Disability in California

    Doctors, medical records, and medical exams

    Doctors and applying for disability in California

    Can you be turned down for disability in California if your doctor says you are disabled?

    Disability hearings in California

    Disability Hearings in California

    California quick disability hearing

    How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?

    How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?

    Disability denials in California

    Disability Denied in California

    If a disability claim is denied in California

    Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California

    If you get denied Social Security Disability in California

    Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?

    Getting approved or denied for disability in California

    Disability appeals in California

    How do you file a disability appeal in California?

    How many disability appeals do you get in California?

    If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?

    If your disability reconsideration is denied in California

    Filing a reconsideration appeal in California

    Why was I denied disability in California?

    Qualifying for disability in California

    Qualifying for disability in California

    Qualify for SSD in California

    Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?

    Disability lawyers in California

    Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

    Cost of a California disability attorney

    Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?

    Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California

    Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California

    How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?

    Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?

    Lawyer for a disability hearing in California

    Why was I denied disability in California?