California residents and others who have physical or mental impairments that make it impossible to work may be entitled to disability benefits. Typically, benefits are granted if a person meets medical vocational allowance criteria. This means that an individual cannot go back to any job that he or she has had over the past 15 years. It also means that an individual would not be qualified to do any other work that he or she could be mentally or physically able to perform.
Applicants are encouraged to provide as much information about their work histories as possible to an examiner when submitting their applications. This may make it easier for that person determine the exact tasks that an individual performed over the past 15 years. Detailed information can also help an examiner determine exactly how a physical or mental impairment makes it impossible to do those jobs again in the future.
For example, an individual may not be able to stand for long periods of time or exert him or herself for more than a few minutes at a time. It may also be impossible to lift heavy objects throughout the course of a day. Mental impairments may make it impossible to learn new skills or to follow instructions given by a supervisor.
Individuals who are seeking SSI or SSD benefits may have a better chance of obtaining them with the help of a legal representative. This person may be able to help a person compile medical and other information that an examiner needs to approve an initial application. If an application is denied, an attorney might help file an appeal or talk an individual through the process of doing so.