California Short Term Disability (Part 1)

Who Can Get California Short-Term Disability?

California is one of only a few states that operates a paid short-term disability program. California Short-Term Disability Insurance (SDI) is funded by employee contributions made through their payroll withholding. California SDI pays employees a portion of their usual wages while they are temporarily unable to work due to disability.

Most California employees who are paid regular wages will qualify for disability benefits through this program, provided they meet the state’s eligibility requirements (discussed below).

If you meet the California Short Term Disability requirements and you or your lawyer file the necessary documentation, you will receive SDI benefit payments of about 55% of what you were earning before becoming disabled – up to a “cap”. (See Part 2 for calculating benefits).

Note: California SDI is a separate program from Social Security Disability (SSDI and SSI). This article discusses ONLY California SDI. To learn more about Social Security benefits, see our other articles.

Eligibility Requirements for California Short-Term Disability (SDI)

There is a seven-day waiting period to collect Short-Term Disability (CA SDI). During these 7 days you may not collect benefits. On the eighth day, you become eligible to collect SDI.

To receive California SDI benefits, you must meet all of these specific requirements:
1. You must be unable to perform your regular work for at least eight consecutive days.
2. You must have been employed (or actively looking for work) at the time you were disabled.
3. You must have lost wages because of your disability. (i.e. if you found other work or were transferred to another positions you did not “lose wages”)
4. You must have earned at least $300, from which state disability insurance deductions were withheld, during a previous period.
5. You must be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician (or in some cases an accredited religious practitioner.)
6. You must submit your claim within 49 days of the date you became disabled.
7. If requested, you must complete an independent medical examination.

Ineligibility / Dis-Qualification for California Short-Term Disability (SDI)

An applicant will not be eligible for California SDI if:
1. They have not lost of wages. (e.g., still working and receiving regular salary; or on paid sick leave; or receiving Unemployment or Paid Family Leave benefits.)
2. They became disabled while committing a crime that resulted in a felony conviction.
3. They are in a jail, prison or recovery home because they were convicted of a crime.
4. They are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits at a rate equal or greater than the SDI rate.
5. They did not have a requested independent medical examination.

How to File for California Disability

You must submit your application for CA SSDI within 49 days after becoming disabled, or you may disqualify yourself from receiving benefits.

You may file a claim yourself, or have an attorney file the claim for you. If you chose to do it yourself, you will need to obtain the application form from your employer or from the California Economic Development Department (EDD).

You or your lawyer must complete part of the form and your physician or health care provider will have to complete the rest.

The EDD may request additional information. The EDD will also contact your employer to verify your employment, wages and other information. If approved you will receive your SDI benefits approximately every two weeks – currently, the EDD pays SDI benefits on a bank debit card.

Long Beach California Short Term Disability Lawyers

California is one of the few states that offer State Disability benefits – and while this is a great thing – applying and calculating benefits can be confusing. Call our office to speak to a disability lawyer if you have been disabled and would like help understanding the complete range of disability benefits for which you may qualify.

Long Beach Short Term Disability Lawyers: 562-622-4800

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