Filing for Disability in California: Social Security and SSI

Here is an overview of the disability benefits process in California as well as some statistics and helpful resources and contact information.

Updated by , Attorney

Social Security disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are federal programs. While these disability programs are run by the Social Security Administration, there are some differences in how the programs are operated in California.

The Social Security Disability Process in California

After you file an initial disability application with the Social Security Administration (SSA), either at the field office, by telephone, or online, the SSA will forward the application to the Disability Determination Service Division (DDSD), a state agency under the California Department of Social Services. A disability claims examiner at DDSD will gather evidence from your doctors and, with the help of a doctor who works for DDSD, will make the medical determination as to whether you qualify for disability benefits. (You can find contact information for the DDSD offices below.)

If you are denied benefits, you can appeal by requesting that DDSD reconsider your claim. If DDSD denies you again, you can request an appeal hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

Social Security Disability Statistics in California

California's approval rate for disability benefits is about the same as the national average for awarding benefits. After filing the initial application, 37% of disability applicants are approved to receive benefits. At the reconsideration level (the first level of appeal), about 14% of the previously denied cases are approved. And at the disability hearing level (the second level of appeal), in 2022, 62% of the previously denied cases were approved for benefits (with a higher percentage of disability claimants who have a disability lawyer or representative winning benefits).

Stage of Application California Nationally
Initial Application 37.2% 38.5%
Reconsideration Review 14.1% 14.7%
Appeal Hearing 62% 57%

The average wait time in California for an ALJ hearing in late 2022 is about 17 months, up from 12 months in 2021.

SSI Benefit Amounts in California

As SSI is a federal program, the federal government provides a monthly benefit to all who qualify. But the State of California adds a supplementary payment onto the monthly federal benefits. This extra payment affects not only the amount of SSI you'll get but also your eligibility for SSI (because it raises the income limit for SSI).

In 2022, the federal government provided the following monthly benefits to SSI disability recipients with no other income:

Federal Monthly SSI Benefit
Individual $914
Couple $1,371

And California provides the following additional benefits depending on your living situation:

CA Monthly Benefit

Total Monthly Benefit (CA and Federal)

Living independently with cooking facilities

Individual: $199

Couple: $505

Individual: $1,113

Couple: $1,876

Living independently without cooking facilities

Individual: $306

Couple: $719

Individual: $1,220

Couple: $2,090

Living in nonmedical out-of-home care situation

Individual: $559

Couple: $1,158

Individual: $1,493

Couple: $2,529

Living in the household of another

Individual: $204

Couple: $511

Individual: $1,118

Couple: $1,882

Eligibility for Other Public Benefits

For those who are newly unable to work, California has a short-term disability insurance (SDI) program that provides eight to ten weeks of benefits for those who are ill or injured and unable to work. The SDI benefit is 60-70% of your normal wages. California's paid family leave program also provides up to six weeks of paid leave. For more information, see our article on California short-term disability.

California residents who are approved for SSI are automatically approved for Medicaid benefits as well. Social Security will enroll you in Medicaid automatically when it approves your SSI benefits.

California residents who receive SSI are also eligible for CalFresh benefits (federally known as SNAP, or food stamps). Previously, California SSI recipients were paid a higher state supplementary payment instead of food stamps.

How to Contact the DDSD

California's DDSD makes the initial decision regarding whether or not you will receive disability benefits. They have 11 branches throughout California.

Central Valley Branch

P.O. Box 28931
Fresno, CA 93729-9835
Phone: (559) 440-5000

Covina Branch

P.O. Box 6118
Covina, CA 91722-6118
Phone: (213) 736-7900

La Jolla Branch

P.O. Box 85501
San Diego, CA 92186-5501
Phone: (619) 278-4550

Los Angeles West Branch

P.O. Box 60999
Los Angeles, CA 90060-0999
Phone: (213) 736-7500

Los Angeles North Branch

P.O. Box 54800
Los Angeles, CA 90054-0800
Phone: (213) 736-7000

Oakland Branch

P.O. Box 24225
Oakland, CA 94623-1225
Phone: (510) 622-3506

Rancho Bernardo Branch

P.O. Box 509135
San Diego, CA 92150

Roseville Branch

P.O. Box 619020
Roseville, CA 95678-9861
Phone: (916) 774-4100

Sacramento Branch

P.O. Box 997120
Sacramento, CA 95899-7120
Phone: (916) 263-5000

San Diego Branch

P.O. Box 85326
San Diego, CA 92186-5326
Phone: (619) 278-4300

Sierra Branch

P.O. Box 28937
Fresno, CA 93720-8937
Phone: (559) 440-5200

Stockton Branch

P.O. Box 207015
Stockton, CA 95267

How to Contact a Hearing Office in California

The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) handles all hearings. Its regional headquarters are located in San Francisco. There are also hearing offices in many other cities.

Fresno Hearing Office

2440 Tulare Street, Suite 300
Fresno, California 93721
Phone: (866) 596-7568
Fax: (833)-586-0162

Services the following field offices: Fresno, Hanford, Madera, Merced, Porterville, Southeast Fresno, Visalia, and West Fresno

Long Beach Hearing Office

Federal Building, Suite 5300
501 West Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, California 90802
Phone: (855) 532-0889
Fax: (833) 365-0277

Services the following field offices: Lakewood, Long Beach, San Pedro, and Torrance

Downtown Los Angeles Hearing Office

888 S. Figeroa St., Suite 800
Los Angeles, California 90017
Phone: (888) 488-0517
Fax: (833) 719-0416

Services the following field offices: Crenshaw, Los Angeles Downtown, University Village, Watts, and Wilshire Center

Los Angeles (West) Hearing Office

12121 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 400
Los Angeles, California 90025
Phone: (866) 748-2089
Fax: (833) 414-0623

Services the following field offices: Chatsworth, Culver City, Hollywood, Inglewood, Lancaster, Westwood, Panorama City, and Santa Clarita

Moreno Valley Hearing Office

22690 Cactus Avenue
3rd Floor
Moreno Valley, California 92553
Phone: (866) 737-4503
Fax: (833) 559-0770

Services the following field offices: Blythe, Corona, Hemet, Indio, Moreno Valley, Morongo Basin, Palm Springs, Riverside

Norwalk Hearing Office

12440 E. Imperial Highway
Suite 250
Norwalk, CA 90650

Phone: (877) 870-6385
Fax: (833) 648-0169

Services the following Social Security field offices: Boyle Heights, Compton, Downey, Huntington Park, Montebello, Norwalk, Whittier

Oakland Hearing Office

Oakland Federal Building, Suite 200N
1301 Clay Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (866) 366-4916
Fax: (833) 769-0239

Services the following field offices: Antioch, Berkeley, East Oakland, Fremont, Hayward/Livermore, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro, and Walnut Creek

Orange Hearing Office

Centrum North, Suite 600
1120 West La Veta Avenue
Orange, California 92868
Phone: (866) 593-1447
Fax: (833) 769-0241

Services the following field offices: Anaheim, Brea, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Missions Viejo, Newport Beach, Ontario, Pomona Valley, and San Ana

Pasadena Hearing Office

Pasadena Towers 1
800 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 500
Pasadena, California 91101
Phone: (866) 354-0220
Fax: (833) 311-0104

Services the following field offices: Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Glendale, Glendora, Industry Hills, Old Burbank, Pasadena, San Fernando, and West Covina

Sacramento Hearing Office

Suite 250
1610 Arden Way
Sacramento, California 95815
Phone: (866) 931-2544
Fax: (833) 365-0279

Services the following field offices: Auburn, Chico, Oroville, Placerville, Redding, Roseville, Sacramento (North, South, and West), Susanville, and Yuba City

San Bernardino Hearing Office

Suite 200
605 North Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, California 92401
Phone: (866) 331-7127
Fax: (833) 719-0408

Services the following field offices: Barstow, Fontana, Redlands, San Bernardino, and Victorville

San Diego Hearing Office

525 B Street, Suite 900
San Diego, California 92101
Phone: (866) 331-2294
Fax: (833) 586-0164

Services the following field offices: Chula Vista, El Cajon, El Centro, Kearny Mesa, La Mesa, National City, Pacific Beach, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos, and Yuma

San Francisco Hearing Office

Equity Building, 16th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105
Phone: (866) 770-1221
Fax: (833) 365-0281

Services the following field offices: Bakersfield, Chinatown, Daly City, Delano, Mission, Parkside, Downtown San Francisco, San Mateo, and Western Addition

San Jose Hearing Office

RFP Federal Building, Suite 330
280 South First Street
San Jose, California 95113-3086
Phone: (866) 331-2219
Fax: (408) 535-5286

Services the following field offices: Campbell, Gilroy, Mountain View, Redwood City, Salinas, San Jose, San Jose East, San Jose South, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville

San Rafael Hearing Office

Suite 230
4040 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, California 94903
Phone: (866) 814-3559
Fax: (415) 472-5824

Services the following field offices: Crescent City, Eureka, Lakeport, Napa, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Suisun City, Ukiah, Vallejo

Santa Barbara Hearing Office

Suite 206
222 East Carrillo Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Phone: (866) 273-4953
Fax: (805) 564-3404

Services the following field offices: Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura

Stockton Hearing Office

3116 W. March Lane, Suite 100
Stockton, California 95219
Phone: (866) 494-3136
Fax: (209) 477-3394

Services the following field offices: Lodi, Manteca, Modesto, Sonora, and Stockton

Updated December 7, 2022

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