If you are a California resident, you are entitled to short-term disability benefits provided by your state even if you do not qualify for disability benefits. According to the State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD), the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides SDI benefits if you are unable to work because of a non-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.
At Sackett Law, we will answer all questions that you may have in mind regarding California State Disability payments, entitlement for benefits and how much it may pay.
When Do I Qualify For State Disability?
As per EDD, you must meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for California SDI benefits-
- Be unable to do your regular or customary work for a minimum of 8 days.
- Lost wages due to your disability.
- Employed or looking for employment from the point of beginning of your disability.
- Earned a minimum of $300 from which your SDI deductions were withheld during your base period.
- Be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician/ practitioner within the first 8 days of your disability. You must remain under care and treatment to continue receiving benefits.
- Submit your Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits within 9-49 days from the day of beginning of your disability.
- Medical certification of your disability claim by an eligible physician/ practitioner.
If you fulfill these eligible conditions, you can be assured that you qualify for California State Disability Insurance benefits.
How Much Does California State Disability Pay?
Your weekly benefit amount is calculated based on a base period of 12 months. This base period is further divided into four quarters of 3 months each. The quarter in which you earned the most will be used to calculate your SDI benefits.
However, in certain exceptional situations, you can choose income from an earlier quarter, if you were-
- In military service
- Receiving Workers’ Compensation
- Unable to work due to a labor dispute
- Unemployed for a minimum of 60 days during a quarter
You must have earned at least $300 in your base period and must have paid SDI taxes out of those earnings. The base period will not include wages paid at the time when your disability began.
For example, if your disability began in February 2020, your base period will be from November 1, 2019, to October 30, 2020. SDI will divide this base period into four quarters and check your wages in each of those quarters to find out in which quarter you earned the most. If you earned the most in August-October 2021 quarter, your wages in that period will be used to determine your weekly wages for SDI benefits.
While on SDI, your weekly benefits will be around 55% of your average weekly wages, subject to a minimum of $50 per week and a maximum of $1,540 per week. However, the exact percentage is subject to a sliding scale starting from 55%. The lower the wage, the higher the percentage and the higher the wage, the lower the percentage.
SDI is structured as a short-term insurance scheme that provides financial support when you are unable to work due to an emergent situation. Your benefit payment will generally start within two weeks of filing your claim and you will get payments every two weeks till the end of the benefit period.
Your benefit period will continue till the date on which your doctor considers you to be able to go back to work. However, if you are still unable to work because of the disability, you and your doctor can apply for a longer SDI benefit period.
The SDI is designed to pay a maximum of 52 weekly wages payment. So, SDI benefits can continue upto a maximum duration by which you will receive a cumulative amount equivalent to average wages for 52 weeks. However, if you are working part-time or your benefits get reduced due to some other reason, you can receive benefit payments for a duration longer than 52 times your average weekly wage payments.
Reduced SDI Benefits
If you start working part-time while on SDI, your SDI benefits may get reduced. If your SDI benefits plus part-time wages are less than your pre-disability wages, there will be no reduction. But if they exceed the pre-disability wages, there will be a reduction.
Following other factors too may reduce your SDI benefit payments-
- Holiday pay
- Sick Leave pay
- Workers’ Compensation payments
- Military Pay
- Other income
Contact Sackett Law Today For Winning The Benefits You Deserve
At Sackett Law, we aim at being more than just a law firm when it comes to helping the disabled community. We are here to help you in every possible way. Contact us today for a free case review and consultation.