California residents who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits may be able to submit claims online or by phone. However, it may not necessarily be a good idea to do so. Those who choose to submit a claim online typically cannot talk to a representative, which may make it harder to fill out an application properly. Individuals who choose to file by phone may find that they are on hold for long periods of time.

They may also find that they receive inaccurate information from anyone who they speak to. Anyone who chooses to file online or by phone should be ready to provide personal information such as their name and address to confirm their identities. If an individual chooses to apply for benefits in person, it may be necessary to provide a birth certificate as well as photo identification.

Regardless of how a person applies for benefits, he or she will need to provide medical records and other information to establish the severity of a mental or physical disability. Individuals will also be asked to provide a detailed work history, and this history will be used to determine if they can perform any type of work that they may be qualified for. If not, an applicant may be approved for benefits through a medical vocational allowance.

Individuals who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits may want to do so with the help of an attorney who may be able to help a person gather medical records or other evidence needed to help an examiner approve a request for compensation. If an original application and reconsideration appeal is denied, an attorney may be able to represent an individual at a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.