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What To Know About Short Term Disability Insurance In California

Last updated: April 9, 2023

All employees in California are required to contribute to the state's short-term disability insurance (SDI) program through payroll deductions. As a result, more than 18 million California workers are covered by short-term disability insurance (STD). This represents approximately 48.6% of the population.

Employees unable to work due to a disability can receive weekly benefits from the SDI program until they are either ready to return to work or the benefits expire. In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about short term disability insurance in California, along with what you need to do when applying for one. Read on to learn more. 

Understanding Social Security And Short-Term Disability Benefits

State Disability Insurance (SDI) is administered by the Employment Development Department of California (EDD). If you are unable to work due to any of the following reasons, you may be eligible for SDI benefits.

  • A non-work-related illness or injury has struck you.
  • There is a physical or mental disability that prevents you from doing your regular job. 
  • You are undergoing pregnancy.
  • It would help if you took paid family leave to care for a sick relative or a newborn.
  • You just went through childbirth.

The State Disability Insurance program provides wage replacement benefits as well as medical coverage to qualified California workers. During your working years, you must have contributed to SDI through payroll deductions. In the event you are eligible, you will receive compensation amounting from 60% to 70% of your wages in at least 5 months and at most 18 months preceding your disability. 

One year is the maximum duration of short-term disability benefits. If you have a condition that has exceeded more than a year, you may qualify for other benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Things To Do When Applying For Short Term Disability Insurance (California)

Things To Do When Applying For Short Term Disability Insurance

Taking the following steps will increase your chances of getting approved by the EDD for your short term disability insurance claim.

Tell Your Doctor About Your Application

To certify that you are disabled, the EDD requires that the Physician/Practitioner Certification is completed. Before filing your SDI application, be sure to speak with your medical provider about your disability.

To qualify for benefits, you must be under the care of a licensed physician or accredited health practitioner within eight days of being disabled. To continue receiving benefits, you have to stay under that physician's or practitioner's care.

Provide All The Important Details

When submitting a claim for short-term disability, make sure to provide all the necessary information, such as:

  • ID number or valid driver’s license in California (CDL) 
  • True full name as shown on your ID or CDL
  • Birthdate as it appears on your ID or CDL
  • Social Security (SS) number
  • Name of current employer
  • Name, mailing address, and phone number of current company (as indicated in your pay stub or W-2)
  • The last day you performed your regular duties (or started working less than modified or full duties)
  • Other income you received or expect to receive from your current employer after missing work, such as paid time off, sick leave, annual leave, and vacation pay. 
  • Workers’ comp claim information

Provide all required information to avoid delaying or denying your claim. 

File On Time

You must submit your claim for SDI benefits within a certain period, as per the requirements of the EDD. Before you are able to file a claim, there is a nine-day waiting period after your date of injury. You must, however, file a short term disability insurance claim within 49 days of becoming disabled.

Ensure To Have Paid Into SDI

Disability insurance requires that you be disabled in addition to paying into the program. If you are an employee, you must have paid SDI taxes in California and earned at least $300 in SDI deductions. Ensure that you have paid SDI taxes before filing a claim, and check your latest pay stub for "CASDI".

Be Patient With Employment Development Department (EDD)

Getting in touch with a government agency can be a challenge. Staff from the Employment Development Department can be extremely busy and difficult to reach. Short-term disability benefits can be applied for online or by mail.

To submit and manage your disability claim, the EDD recommends creating an account on Benefit Programs Online. Typically, it takes up to 14 days for a claim to be processed after it is filed. However, the timeline for the review of your SDI claim may vary depending on your situation.

Ask The Professionals

It is easy to file a claim for SDI benefits. Typically, your employer or healthcare provider will provide you with the paperwork. Your healthcare provider will also be required to fill out a portion of the form.

Consider consulting with an attorney if your employer refuses to give you the time off you need or if you are unsure of your disability rights and how the various disability insurance laws interact. If you require legal assistance, check out this article from Disability Help on how to find the right disability lawyer for you.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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