Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) &
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Our firm provides comprehensive, personalized, and tailored legal services to meet all of our client’s estate planning needs. Our firm utilizes a variety of tools to help families preserve their assets for generations to come. Specifically, we work with our clients to minimize estate taxes and ultimately avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process by utilizing Wills (simple & complex), Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts, Living Wills, Family Limited Partnerships, Irrevocable Trusts, and Charitable Gifting Strategies.

When it comes to Medicaid & Medi-Cal Services & Elder Law, our goal is to protect our clients’ nest eggs. We ensure that our clients qualify for Medicaid services and other government medical benefits so that their estates are protected from expensive nursing home and hospital bills. If you become disabled and unable to work, we will help you determine if you qualify for SSD coverage. As a Social Security disability lawyer, James Dolenga will also inform you about the monthly disability benefits and health coverage for a deceased, disabled or retired worker’s disabled dependents.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)/Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you feel that you are no longer able to work because of physical and/or mental reasons, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. To be considered disabled, you must be unable to perform any substantial work due to a physical and/or mental condition, which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death. There are also special rules that can help once you turn 50, 55 and 60.

SSDI eligibility is based on previous contributions to Social Security, and SSI eligibility is based on your income level. If you are found eligible for SSI payments, you may also qualify for State Supplemental Payments (SSP).

You may apply for SSDI or SSI at any Social Security office. If you have a child or children with a disability, you may also apply for SSI on their behalf.

The Social Security Disability Process in California

In order to get the best result and expedite this process it is very important to work with a veteran SSDI/ SSI attorney in California.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that gives monthly cash benefits to people who have worked, paid Social Security taxes, and now have disabilities that prevent them from working.

SSDI is linked to Medicare. Once you have gotten SSDI benefits for 2 years, you automatically become eligible for Medicare, even if you are under age 65. We’ll discuss the connection between SSDI and Medicare later in this article.

If you worked in the past, but now have a disability, you should consider applying for SSDI benefits. Once you apply, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at your case.

You will have to meet these 2 basic requirements to qualify for SSDI benefits:

  • You must be insured. SSA will look at your work history and see if you have worked long enough to be covered by SSDI. Because it’s an insurance program, you do not have to prove financial need to qualify for SSDI. This is an important distinction between SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • SSA must decide that you are disabled. They will look at 5 different criteria and if you meet all 5, SSA will decide that you are disabled.

You must meet both of these requirements to get SSDI benefits; if you only meet one of them, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.

Providing exceptional Estate Planning, SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid & Medi-Cal Planning for seniors and families in Torrance, Los Angeles, Orange County, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Simi Valley, Ontario, San Bernardino and more.

SSDI and SSI Attorney in Torrance, California

What is Social Security Income (SSI)?

People who are disabled, blind, or elderly may not be able to work or afford to live on their own. If you can’t work, have no other sources of income, and have limited resources, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The federal government created the SSI program to help people in this situation. Those who qualify for SSI benefits get monthly cash payments to pay for those basic needs. The SSI program is run by the Social Security Administration. In California, people who get SSI also get a smaller benefit from the State Supplemental Program (SSP) included with their monthly SSI benefit.

In California, people who qualify for SSI also get Medi-Cal benefits automatically.

James Dolenga will create a well-written, customized estate plan, so you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your goals are achieved while protecting your family and legacy. Get help today.

What conditions automatically qualify you for SSDI?

  • Musculoskeletal system, such as amputation, chronic joint pain and spinal disorders
  • Special senses and speech, such as impaired hearing, sight or speech
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis
  • Cardiovascular illnesses, such as arrhythmia, congenital heart disease and heart failure
  • Digestive system, such as bowel or liver disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease and other anemias, bone marrow failure or hemophilia
  • Skin disorders, such as burns, dermatitis and ichthyosis, a group of about 20 conditions that cause dryness and scaling
  • Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes and thyroid problems
  • Congenital disorders such as Down syndrome that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries
  • Cognitive and mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, depression, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia
  • Cancer
  • Immune system diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), inflammatory arthritis and lupus

SSA provides Listings of Impairments, conditions that allow automatic approval of benefits, but only if all of the criteria is met and documented. Otherwise the claimant will continue through the process, proving and inability to work.

Need Medicaid & Medi-Cal? It’s important to seek the advice of a seasoned professional who understands the rules, process and provisions under these laws. Don’t risk losing the assets and inheritance you worked hard for.

Do I Need a California SSDI or SSI Attorney to File for These Benefits?

According to AARP, “Research has shown that having a professional representative can boost your chances of getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the two SSA-run programs that pay benefits to people with disabilities.

A lawyer or advocate can fill out the SSDI or SSI application on your behalf and help gather medical records and other evidence for your claim. They can review your application for mistakes or omissions that could hurt your chances of success and can join you for meetings or conferences with Social Security officials. The SSA will work directly with your representative and provide access to information from your Social Security file.

Having an attorney or advocate can be especially important if you disagree with Social Security’s initial decision on your claim and file an appeal.

Your representative can prepare you and any witnesses on your side to testify at a hearing before an administrative law judge, the second level in the appeals process, and can question expert witnesses that Social Security presents. 

A 2017 study by the federal Government Accountability Office found that “people who are represented at disability hearings are nearly three times more likely to be successful.”


Are you ready for exceptional help with Estate Planning, SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid & Medi-Cal Planning for seniors and families in Torrance, Los Angeles, Orange County, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Simi Valley, Ontario, San Bernardino and surrounding areas? Then let’s Get Started!