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Federal and State Assistance for Disabled Workers in California

There are federal and state assistance for disabled workers in California that will help them pay their medical expenses, basic needs, and loss of wages.


This is California’s health care program that provides assistance to disabled workers, children, and adults who have limited source of income.

The advantage of this program is that this can be adjusted depending on the medical needs and financial situations of beneficiaries.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The SSDI program provides monetary assistance to disabled individuals who have enough Social Security tax contributions during their past employment.  “Enough contributions” depend on the age of a worker and the length of period he has worked before being disabled.

For example, a 21-year-old disabled person should have at least 1.5 years of work experience.  On the other hand, a 31-year-old individual should have worked at least five years before becoming disabled.

However, this program only provides benefits to people who are suffering from long-term or permanent disability that is expected to result to death or that will last at least for a year.

The good thing about this program is that certain family members of the beneficiaries can receive a separate benefit.

Certain family members include:

  • spouses at least 62 years of age—including those divorced spouses who remain
  • spouses at any age who are taking care of the beneficiaries’ child aged 16 years and younger
  • children aged 18 years and younger including those who are legally adopted, stepchildren, and financially-dependent grandchildren
  • children at any age who have been disabled before the age of 22.

SSI provides monetary assistance to disabled individuals who have limited earning that prevents them to have a decent living.  This means that a monthly earning that is more than $2,000 for individuals, or $3,000 for married couples, will not qualify for this program.

Unlike SSDI program which requires claimants to have enough Social Security contributions, SSI can provide assistance even to those who have not enough contributions during their past employment or have no work experience.

This year, the monthly payment for SSI is $674 for an individual or $1,011 for a couple.

Worker’s compensation

In California, worker’s compensation provides six basic benefits to disabled employees: medical care, permanent disability benefits, temporary disability benefits, death benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.

This benefits only applies to job-related injuries and disabilities, regardless if a worker has contributed to his own injuries.

And because employers are automatically responsible to provide this compensation, the tradeoff is that workers cannot file personal injury lawsuit against their companies.


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