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How Often Do you Get Paid On Disability In California?

Last updated: May 3, 2023

Disability Insurance is a wage replacement benefit program that provides financial assistance to eligible California workers who cannot work due to non-work-related injuries or illnesses. In California, approximately 18 million California employees are recipients of State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits.

If you qualify for disability benefits, you may wonder how often you will receive payments. This article will discuss how often you can expect to receive payments on disability in California and the process for filing a disability claim. Read the article below to learn more.

What Is Disability Insurance In California?

State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a program in California that offers financial assistance to qualified employees who cannot work because of non-work-related conditions such as mental illnesses, physical injuries, or pregnancy.

The program provides wage replacement benefits to eligible employees and is funded by contributions deducted from their paychecks. It is important to note that SDI does not offer job protection, only wage replacement benefits and monetary compensation.

Eligibility Criteria For Receiving Benefits

You may be eligible to receive wage replacement benefits from SDI if you meet the following requirements set by California's Employment Development Department (EDD).

Work Requirement

If employed, you must have a disability or cannot perform your regular work responsibilities for at least seven days. On the other hand, if you are currently unemployed, you must actively seek employment to remain eligible for SDI benefits.

In addition, during the first eight days of your injury or illness, you must receive medical care from your employer's medical provider. You must continue to receive medical care from a licensed physician while receiving SDI benefits.

Medical Condition

If you have a non-work-related disability, you may be eligible to receive SDI benefits. According to the EED, a disability can refer to any physical or mental illness or injury that makes it impossible for you to perform your regular job duties.

Additionally, despite pregnancy not being considered a disability, it can still qualify as a valid medical reason for being absent from work. It may therefore make you eligible for SDI benefits.

Mandated Coverage

California law mandates that workers employed by companies with payrolls exceeding $100 in three months must receive disability insurance coverage. However, there are some exceptions, including:

  • Domestic workers

  • Federal government employees

  • Interstate railroad workers

  • Volunteers of nonprofit organizations

Understanding The Benefit Payments

Below is a brief overview of the wage replacement benefits under the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and the factors influencing the benefit amount.

Base Period And Weekly Benefit Amounts

The compensation you receive as your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) depends on your yearly income. WBA is approximately 60% to 70% of your earned wages within 5 to 18 months before the start date of your claim. It is important to note that your claim start date cannot be changed or adjusted after filing a valid claim.

Your WBA is determined using a base period that spans 12 months and is split into four successive quarters. The amount of your benefits payment is determined by the quarter in which you earned the most wages throughout the base period.

Time Frame For Benefits Payment

Typically, benefit payments are released within two weeks of receiving a valid claim, whether submitted online or by mail. Ensure all information on your disability claim is accurate and complete to ensure a smooth and fast process.

Payment Options Available

If you qualify for SDI benefits, benefit payments will be issued by the EDD in one of two ways:

  • Electronic Payment. Under this option, payments will be issued to a debit card provided to the recipient.

  • Payment By Mail. If you prefer payment by mail, your benefits payment will be credited by an EDD check within 7 to 10 days.

Obtaining Disability Insurance Benefits In California

Submit a claim if you think you qualify for disability benefits. SDI Online is the easiest and fastest way to file an SDI claim with Employment Development Department (EDD). To apply online, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Create An Online Account

You must first register for a Benefit Programs Online (BPO) account to use SDI Online. To create a BPO account, visit this page.

Step 2: Fill up The Claims Form

You must provide all necessary information and documentation to file an SDI claim online successfully. Ensure that all details provided are correct and valid.

Step 3: Complete your Medical Certificate

You must obtain medical certification from your medical provider or a licensed health professional within 30 days of getting injured.

Step 4: Submit Your Claim

You must submit your disability claim within the deadline. After being injured, you have 49 days to file an online claim. However, remember that you must wait nine days after becoming disabled before submitting a claim.

Documentation Required For Filing A Claim

The following documents are needed when filing a disability claim:

  • Valid ID or California Driver's License (CDL)

  • Social Security number

  • W-2 or paystub

For qualified California employees, Disability Insurance (DI) provides temporary income replacement benefits. You are only eligible to receive a maximum of 52 weeks of disability benefits, calculated based on your WBA and base period.

If you want to remain a beneficiary of SSDI, read this article from Disability Help on how to maintain your SSDI benefits.

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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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