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How disability benefits are changing in California

Over the last seven years, services and funding for Social Security Disability Insurance have changed. Wait times are longer, and the number of cases waiting for a hearing by a judge has risen. Many California residents will need to make a claim for these disability benefits during their lifetimes, and a recent news article gives an idea of what these people can expect. 

Approximately 4.4 percent of California’s population aged 18-64 either received Social Security Disability Insurance, Social Security Insurance or both. Social Security Disability, also known as SSDI, are benefits available to disabled workers who have accumulated a certain amount of work credits. Social Security Insurance, or SSI, is given to individuals with very low income or assets. 

Since 2010, less people are filing for SSDI, but possibly due to budget and staffing cuts, people are waiting longer to receive the benefits, and in some cases, it is up to two years before they are approved. The number of pending cases for SSDI in 2017 is over 1 million — a huge increase since 2010. In San Diego, individuals can expect to wait an average of 592 days for an eligibility appeal hearing. It is reported that California has 13.89 percent less staff available today than in 2010. 

The process for receiving disability benefits can be long and trying. In California, people are often waiting years for approval, and when they win, the average benefit is $1,171. During the approval and appeals process, many folks choose to hire an attorney to help them with getting the case through the process. 

Source: ocregister.com, “How services and funding for Social Security Disability Insurance are changing“, Kurt Snibbe, Nov. 27, 2017