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Extending Disability Benefits in California? California

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  • Extending Disability Benefits in California? California

    My wife has a very rare, chronic autoimmune disorder that forced her to go on SDI in California. After one year, she is still unable to return to work, and we just received her last benefits check.

    Is there any way to extend disability benefits beyond one year if the ailment is legitimate? We have filed for federal SSDI benefits but the process is dragging and we have rent coming up (plus two kids under four years!).

    EDD seems to indicate that you cannot extend SDI bennies beyond one year. This seems like bulsh- considering how much effort is being put into making sure UI can be extended seemingly ad infinitum.

    We're even considering having her apply for UI just to be able to continue receiving SOME kind of extra cashflow (I work full time, but don't make nearly enough to support a family of four in Los Angeles). However, I'm concerned about possible legal ramifications, not to mention I'm a bit uncomfortable with the ethical dilemma of her stating she's ready to return to full time work when she's really not.

    Any help would be appreciated!!!


  • #2
    California SDI benefits are for one year for a single condition. She cannot qualify for unemployment benefits unless she is ready, willing and able to job search and accept a reasonable job offer. Many states are being really picky about UI recipients documenting their job search contacts. Plus, if she hasn't worked in a year, she probably wouldn't be financially eligible anyway.

    SSDI does take a LONG time. Do you have an attorney helping you through this process?

    I'm sorry for her situation, but I don't know of anything else that would help at this time, except possibly some public assistance? Contact your county welfare office.
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    • #3
      Here's a link on the Ca. SDI.

      IF YOUR DISABILITY IS PERMANENT or is expected to continue for a year or more, contact the U.S. Social Security
      Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or on the Internet at

      That's their suggestion which you have already done - too bad it takes so long. My only suggestion is the same as Patty's - check into public assistance (welfare, social services, United Way, church.....)

      Unemployment ins. doesn't seem to be an option.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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      • #4
        SSA uses 5 steps to determine if you are ''disabled'' under their rules.

        She probably fits #2 right away...
        Is your condition "severe"?

        Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to #3
        You should also know...
        Note: We have two initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:
        Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and pancreatic cancer.

        Quick Disability Determinations: We use sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance

        For more information about changes to our disability claims process, visit our Disability Service Improvement website.
        You can find info on the process here

        Access to the list of impairments/conditions is here

        BTW... those UI extensions are provided by the federal government to the states as "loans", and must be paid back within the prescribed period. That is one of the major issues facing Calif today. The ability to repay the loan.

        SDI is a ''disability insurance'' policy the state has mandated employees to partake in. Fully funded by employees. And, this was done because people in general can't be trusted to provide for wage loss on their own in the event of non industrial injury/illness. The coverage is limited to 52 weeks because most injuries/illness resolve witin that timeframe.
        That too is the reason EDD directs you/us to the SSA web site for info on SSDI.

        Good luck to you and your family.