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Disability help by stateCalifornia disability benefits

Disability Lawyers Near San Diego

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
February 2, 2024  ·  3 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard-trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience and has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

According to San Diego’s latest Community Health Statistics Unit report, more than 300,000 San Diego residents have a disability. If you’re a San Diegan with an injury, medical condition, or mental impairment that prevents you from working, you have options for support. 

California is one of just five states offering short-term disability insurance. But if you suspect your condition will last longer than a year, you should also apply for Social Security disability benefits. Read on to learn about the types of disability benefits available in your state and how to find a disability lawyer in San Diego.

Disability benefits in California

California’s State Disability Insurance program offers coverage to more than 18 million workers. If you have an injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least eight days, you can receive partial-wage replacement benefits through the state. Typically, State Disability Insurance (DI) benefits are 60-70% of your former wages and last up to 52 weeks. 

Social Security disability benefits offer financial support and healthcare coverage to people with disabilities that are expected to last for more than a year or result in death. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have earned at least 40 work credits and paid into Social Security during your employment history.

Supplemental Security Income is the right program for applicants with little to no work history and very few assets. Your monthly income must be at most $1,000, and your assets must be less than $2,000 (or $3,000 if you are married.)

Learn more about the different eligibility requirements for SSDI vs. SSI.

What is the 5-year rule for Social Security?

The Social Security Administration’s five-year rule is a general guideline to assess your work history. If you have worked for at least five of the last ten years, you probably meet the work credit eligibility criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

What is the longest wait for SSDI approval?

The most challenging part about applying for disability benefits is the waiting period. It can take over two years to receive approval after applying. The most extended wait period is generally scheduling a hearing.

According to the latest data from the SSA, the average wait time to schedule a hearing in San Diego is 12 months. 

A hearing is the third stage in the appeal process. The SSA denies more than 70% of initial applicants and 90% of reconsiderations. At the hearing stage, the SSA approves about 50% of cases. 

Match with a trusted disability lawyer in California

Do I need a disability lawyer in San Diego?

Working with a Social Security disability lawyer can improve your chances of winning benefits by three times. A disability lawyer can fill out the application, obtain medical records, and represent you at a disability hearing. The bottom line is that a disability lawyer knows what the SSA needs regarding medical evidence and the right answers to prove your disability.

If you have a severe medical condition, you can likely win benefits without a lawyer. The SSA’s compassionate allowance list includes terminal illnesses, certain cancers, and rare diseases. If your condition is on the list, notify the SSA to accelerate your application. Note that this is an uncommon approach to getting benefits.

What does a disability lawyer cost in California?

There are no upfront costs to working with a disability lawyer. Social Security disability attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay your lawyer if they win your case. You begin with a free consultation, and then, if you decide to move forward with the lawyer, you will sign a contingency fee agreement. 

After you win your disability claim, the lawyer will get  25% of your first benefit payment — this payment is capped at $7,200 by law. Your amount of back pay will determine the check size and the lawyer’s fee.

SSA offices in San Diego

It can be helpful to visit your local field office to apply for benefits in person or check on the status of your application. San Diego has two SSA office locations: 

San Diego

1333 Front Street San Diego, CA 92101

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM Phone Number: (855) 820-0097 Fax Number: (833) 902-2618

San Diego

8505 Aero Drive San Diego, CA 92123

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM Phone Number: (866) 331-6397 Fax Number: (833) 902-2596

A complete list of SSA offices

How to find a disability lawyer in San Diego

Finding and vetting a disability lawyer can be challenging. When searching for a disability lawyer, it is important to consider their experience in disability law, educational background, and client reviews. Atticus is a public-interest law firm that does the heavy lifting for youur win rate for California clients is 91%. Take our quick disability quiz to see if you qualify.

Atticus works with several disability law firms in California, including:

Potter, Cohen, Samulon & Padilla  3852 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, California 91107

Disability Advocates Group 17525 Ventura Blvd., Encino, California 91316

Hadley and Fraulob

2207 J St., Sacramento, California 95816

Related resources:

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in California

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in California

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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