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Financial Assistance Beyond SSDI: Exploring Alternative Disability Benefits

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

California residents facing disabilities often seek financial assistance to alleviate the economic challenges that can accompany impaired health. While Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a well-known federal program, there are other disability benefits that may be available to California residents in need of support. Here, we will explore these alternatives and provide a comprehensive guide for individuals seeking financial support beyond SSDI with the guidance of a California disability law firm.

Financial Assistance Beyond SSDI: Exploring Alternative Disability Benefits

California’ State Disability Insurance (SDI)

California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program is a vital resource for individuals who are temporarily unable to work due to non-work-related illnesses, injuries, pregnancies, or other health conditions. Administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD)< SDI provides partial wage replacement benefits for up to 52 weeks for qualifying individuals.

To qualify for SDI, applicants must have a loss of wages due to a non-work-related disability, have earned enough wages in the base period, and be under the care of a licensed healthcare provider. The program aims to bridge the financial gap during times of temporary disability. SDI benefits are typically calculated as a percentage of an individual’s weekly earnings, up to a specified maximum amount. The duration of benefits depends on the severity of the disability and the anticipated recovery time.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

While SSDI is a federal program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) but provides financial assistance at the state level. SSI is designed to support individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. Based on financial need, SSI eligibility takes into account an applicant’s income, resources, and living arrangements. Individuals with disabilities, including children, may qualify if they meet the financial criteria set by the SSA. SSI recipients receive a monthly cash benefit, and in California, they may also qualify for Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal provides essential healthcare coverage for individuals with limited financial resources.

County Assistance Programs

Many counties in California offer additional assistance programs to support individuals with disabilities. These programs may include cash aid, food assistance, housing support, and vocational rehabilitation services. Eligibility criteria and available services vary by county, making it essential to explore local resources.

California In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program in California provides assistance to individuals with disabilities who require support to remain safely at home. IHSS offers services such as personal care, domestic services, and paramedical support, with the goal of preventing institutionalization. To qualify for IHSS, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria, including being unable to perform certain activities of daily living without assistance. Eligibility is determined through a needs assessment conducted by the county.

IHSS benefits include receiving assistance from a caregiver, often a family member. Assistance, in some case, includes compensation for the family member caregiver’s services. The program aims to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by providing necessary support within their homes.

California Children’s Services (CCS)

California’s Children’s Services (CCS) is a state program that provides medical and therapeutic services to children under the age of 21 with certain physical limitations and chronic health conditions. CCS aims to improve the health and well-being of children with specific medical needs. Eligibility for CCS is based on specific medical diagnoses and conditions. Children with qualifying medical conditions may receive access to a range of medical services, including diagnostic testing, treatment, and specialized care. CCS provides comprehensive healthcare services tailored to the unique needs of each child, ensuring they receive the medical attention necessary to manager their conditions and enhance their overall well-being.

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)

CalWORKs is a state-funded program that provides financial assistance to eligible families, including those with disabilities. The program aims to support families with children in meeting their basic needs, offering cash aid, employment services, and supportive resources. CalWORKs program eligibility is based on various factors, including income, family size, and assets. Families with children under 18 may qualify for assistance, including those with parents or guardians facing disabilities. The program provides financial aid to eligible families in helping to cover essential expenses such as housing, food, and utilities. The program also includes employment services to support parents in achieving self-sufficiency.

California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)

The California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) is designed to provide financial assistance to immigrants who are ineligible for federal SSI due to immigration status. CAPI aims to offer support to elderly and disabled immigrants facing financial hardships. Eligibility for the CAPI program is limited to immigrants who meet specific criteria, including age, disability, and immigration status. Applicants must be ineligible for federal SSI benefits due to immigration-related restrictions. CAPI benefits provide monthly cash assistance to eligible immigrants to help their financial needs and support them in times of economic vulnerability.

Contact Our California Disability Attorneys Today

While these alternative disability benefits in California can be valuable resources, navigating the application processes, meeting eligibility criteria, and addressing potential challenges can be complex. Reaching out to the trusted team at Disability Advocates is a critical step to help ensuring that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled to and to help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the application and appeals processes. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
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