When an individual is unable to work because of a medical condition, he or she may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. These benefits are also available to those who have a mental illness that prevents them from holding gainful employment. There are two programs through the SSA, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, that may provide financial relief for these California individuals.
There are different eligibility requirements for the two programs. An applicant who is not eligible for one may be eligible for the other. One of the main requirements for SSDI/SSI benefits is that an applicant have a disability expected to last for at least 12 months or for the rest of his or her life. This is an option for those who have worked and paid certain payroll taxes for at least five years of the previous decade.
SSI benefits are for both children and adults who certain types of disabilities. A child who has severe function capacity may be eligible for this type of support to pay for his or her medical needs. An adult who is not eligible for SSDI/SSI benefits because of a lack of sufficient work history could be eligible for SSI benefits instead.
The impacts of a mental illness may not be visible, but they are just as real as the impacts of physical disabilities. A California applicant who is seeking to apply for disability benefits may find it helpful to speak with an experienced Social Security benefits attorney before doing so. An evaluation of the case can identify the appropriate types of benefits to pursue and how to move forward with the application process.