SSDI, SSI, Estate Planning, Elder Law & Medi-Cal Planning in California

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How Do You Get SSDI or SSI in California?

SSI Attorney in Los Angeles CA: SSDI or SSI
SSI Attorney in Los Angeles CA: SSDI or SSI

Before you look into whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI, it’s important to understand the differences. Applying for the wrong program could lead to denials that waste your time and cause unnecessary frustration. An SSI Attorney can help, here’s what you need to know.



Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to a person who is blind or disabled and no longer able to work. The money comes from the contributions a person makes into a Social Security trust fund through the FICA taken from regular paychecks. Because you must have been working and paying into FICA, not every adult qualifies.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a payment made to blind or disabled people or older adults. To qualify, you have to have limited income and resources. SSI is paid through tax revenues, so you can claim it even if you haven’t worked.


It’s possible to qualify for both SSDI and SSI. Whether you qualify for SSI, SSDI, or both, there are things to realize.

SSDI – Health insurance is provided through Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part C. Part D is optional.
SSI – Health insurance is provided through Medicaid and covers medical and dental care needs as long as you go to a Medicaid-approved doctor or dentist.
In addition to the medical insurance coverage, SSDI and SSI provide a monthly stipend to help pay the bills. SSI is going to be more restrictive when it comes to how much money you get.

It is important to know that between 2010 and 2019, an average of 21% of SSDI applications were accepted. Upwards of 8% are approved after reapplying, but 67% are denied. It’s not easy to get your application approved the first time or even at all.


How Much Do You Get, and How Does It Work?

SSDI payments are based on your lifetime average wages covered by Social Security. There is no supplement through Medi-Cal. To get SSDI payments, you do have to meet the qualifications listed for disability or blindness. It replaces the income you’re losing by being unable to work.

For example, suppose you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 60. Your cognitive and fine motor skills are diminishing, so you can’t do your job, but you’re too young to retire. SSDI helps.


SSI is different in that you have to meet the income allowance. It’s a needs-based benefit with strict criteria to meet.

The amount of money you get is subtracted from the Federal Benefit Rate, so you may not qualify if you’re making too much money. If you do qualify, you may also qualify for California state supplements.

Go back to the example of having Alzheimer’s disease. Your mom has burned through her savings and assets paying for the home care services she needs as the disease progresses. She’s down to the $2,000 asset limit. At that point, SSI can help her afford the care she needs. It’s a complex process, however, so she’ll need help applying.

It’s challenging to navigate the application process for SSDI and SSI. If you’re having a hard time, work with an SSI and SSDI attorney. Having an expert’s help ensures the process goes smoothly. Call an SSDI and SSI attorney for expert guidance with your application.


The Law Office of James Dolenga offers Medi-Cal Planning, SSDI, SSI, Estate Planning, & and SSI Attorney in Los Angeles, CA. Call today for your legal consultation. (866) 772-5299



James Dolenga, JD

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