There is California disability and the social security, both are completely different animals. SS is much more difficult to qualify for and you usually get denied automatically the first time.
CA disability insurance is just that, insurance that you pay for. Unemployment is not. Disability is not taxable. Unemployment is.
As someone who went from unem. to disability, I can at least give you some advice in those regards.
1. Disability usually pays substantially more than unemployment.
2. I got layed off in December 2007. Planned on a few months off to catch up on things then go back to work. Lesson learned: plan nothing lol.
3. By the time my unem. started to run out, my disease had relapsed substantially, there was little work at the hall and the recession was just getting it's legs. Work collapsed. I had already been in to see quite a few doctors for this strange breathing problem where I felt like I was suffocating sometimes. Guess we call that the MS hug. Hadn't given my MS much thought for the previous 3-4 years, other than I knew it was there and the bill would come due eventually though unsure when that was so just kept plugging along. Didn't have a neuro, didn't have a GP, didn't know how to get either or where to start looking. Doctors you see when you are sick sick, not just fatigued, feeling bad, with probable MS but no diagnosis.
Which led me to actually finding a good neuro, and a GREAT GP, and that was pure providence cause their names came out of the preferred providers catalog at the end of my fingertip, blindfolded.
So I broached the subject of disability with my GP, he thought that would be a good stopgap measure to figure out what was going on with me.
Now here is the very very very important part that you need to keep in mind money wise. IF you make a seamless transition between unemployment and disability, the government/IRS considers your disability an extension of your unemployment for tax purposes and you will pay the piper.
HOWEVER if there is a lag or clear separation there, I recommend only two weeks, IOW stop your unemployment, wait, THEN file your disability. They will calculate your claim the same as your unemployment but it is based on your income, that determines your weekly amount, they multiply that by 52 and that is your total claim. Because my income had been pretty good before the claim (lots of overtime), my total claim came to like 53,000 for the year. That was 900 a week tax free and took us through many a rough time, of course much of that went to my copays for all the scans and upper gi's and mri's and visits and it really piled up fast! Next thing I know an entire year had went by, but I was feeling worse at the end than the beginning, ccsvi had taken over without me knowing it! Neuro recommended drugs, so I started the shots and all that and the rest is history.
Disability pays substantially more than your unem and for much longer but you do need to file continued claim forms, you will need to see the doctor on a regular basis, they don't just give you a big chunk of time for one form, but with a disease like MS, it doesn't take much to speed you through the system and keep you there. My doc did it quite easily as a matter of fact and didn't put a whole lot on the forms. It's when people try to fake a bad back or something innocuous that the disability office gets their hackles up, tries to get you seen by their own doctors to verify and all that, but a permanent, debilitating chronic disease, a bit easier.
You can do it, it's a little bit of work, don't worry about past claims or unem or any of those check boxes, you've got much bigger fish to fry here...
Also as a tip, let say your doc put you on for a month, or two. You anticipate being longer, call the disability office a week or two before your next appt, and request they mail you a continued claim form, DON'T wait for them to mail your last check, which includes the form, then by the time the doc fills that out, sends it in, you have weeks of wait time tacked on unnecessarily. Of course they didn't volunteer this info til I spoke with a rep some 5 months into it and they said, "you can request the claim form before your appt". Duh on me. Steep learning curve on all that stuff. Disability office is much easier to deal with though than unemployment office which is impossible to reach anyways.
Above comments are solely for CA state disab and have nothing to do with SS which is of a more permanent nature and usually much less.
RRMS Dx'd 2007, first episode 2004. Bilateral stent placement, 3 on left, 1 stent on right, at Stanford August 2009. Watch my operation video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwc6QlLVtko
, Virtually symptom free since, no relap