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How Long Is Short Term Disability In California?

When you cannot work due to a disability or injury, short-term disability benefits can provide financial assistance to help you stay afloat until you can return to work. However, one of the most commonly asked questions regarding short term disability is how long the benefits last. 

In California, the duration of short term disability is determined by several factors, including the nature of your disability, your medical provider's recommendations, and the state's legal requirements. This article will explore everything you need to know about how long short term disability lasts in California.

Eligibility Requirements for Short Term Disability in California

Before we dive into the duration of short term disability benefits in California, let's take a quick look at the eligibility requirements. To qualify for short term disability benefits in California, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a non-work-related injury or illness that prevents you from performing your duties.

  • You must have lost wages due to your disability or illness.

  • You must have earned a minimum of $300 in wages from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during the base period.

  • You must have been employed or actively looking for work during your disability or illness.

If you meet these criteria, you may be eligible for short term disability benefits in California.

Statistics about Disability Insurance in California in 2023

Disability insurance is an important resource for Californians with disabilities, providing financial support when they cannot work due to a disability or illness. Here are some statistics about disability insurance in California in 2023:

  • In California, approximately 4.2 million adults have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides short term disability benefits to eligible workers who cannot work due to a non-work-related injury or illness. In 2023, the maximum weekly benefit amount for SDI is $1,357.

  • In 2023, the average duration of short term disability in California is six months, although the actual length of time can vary based on several factors.

  • According to the California Employment Development Department (EDD), in 2022, over 862,000 claims for SDI benefits were filed, with over $3.7 billion in benefits paid out.

  • In addition to SDI, Californians may also be eligible for long term disability insurance through their employer or private insurance. 

  • In 2023, the average monthly benefit for long term disability insurance in California is $1,500.

How Long is Short Term Disability in California?

Now, let's get to the question: how long is a short term disability in California? The answer is that it depends. The maximum duration of short term disability benefits in California is 52 weeks, but the actual length of time you can receive benefits may vary based on several factors, including:

  • Your medical provider's recommendations

  • The nature of your disability or illness

  • The date your disability began

  • The date you can return to work

In general, short term disability benefits in California can last up to six months. However, if your medical provider recommends a longer duration of disability, you may be able to receive benefits for up to 52 weeks.

How Much Will You Receive in Short Term Disability Benefits in California?

Another question about short term disability benefits in California is how much you can expect to receive. The amount of benefits you will receive is based on your income and is calculated as follows:

  • If you earned less than $118,371 in your highest-earning quarter, you would receive 60% to 70% of your weekly earnings up to a maximum weekly benefit of $1,357.

  • If you earned more than $118,371 in your highest-earning quarter, you would receive a weekly benefit of $1,357.

It is important to note that short term disability benefits in California are taxable, so you will need to report them as income on your tax return.

What Happens After Short Term Disability Benefits End?

If you cannot work after your short term disability benefits have ended, you may be eligible for long term disability benefits. Long term disability benefits can provide continued financial assistance if you cannot work for an extended period due to a disability or illness. 

However, the eligibility requirements and duration of benefits for long term disability differ from those for short term disability, so it is important to understand the differences between the two types of benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions about Short Term Disability in California

Here are some frequently asked questions about short term disability in California:

  1. Can I receive short term disability benefits if my injury or illness is work-related?

No, short term disability benefits in California are only available for non-work-related injuries or illnesses. You might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if injured on the job.

  1. How do I apply for short term disability benefits in California?

To apply for short term disability benefits in California, you must file a claim with the state's Employment Development Department (EDD). You can file your claim online, by mail, or by phone. You must provide information about your disability or illness, employment history, and medical provider's recommendations.

  1. How long does it take to receive short term disability benefits in California?

It can take up to three weeks to receive your first payment of short term disability benefits in California. However, the exact timing will depend on a variety of factors, including the completeness of your application and the processing time of the EDD.

Short term disability benefits in California can provide much-needed financial assistance to those unable to work due to a disability or illness. The duration of benefits varies based on several factors, but benefits can generally last up to six months. To qualify for short term disability benefits, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having a non-work-related injury or illness and earning a minimum wage during the base period. 

If you cannot work for an extended period, you may be eligible for long term disability benefits. If you’re more curious about SSI and short term disability in California, read more about SSI approvals.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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