What Does SDI Stand for on W2 Tax Forms?

A woman is peeling an apple for her disabled boyfriend.
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If you live in California, you may be able to obtain SDI, a form of insurance that's designed specifically to be used by disabled individuals. The benefits that you obtain through this program are listed on your W-2 form and can be deducted from your taxes. Understanding how SDI works and who qualifies for it is essential in making sure that your tax forms are completed properly without any mistakes.

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What Is SDI on W-2 Forms?

SDI refers to state disability insurance, which is required for most employees in California. This is considered to be a temporary benefit program, which means that benefits will cease once certain conditions are met.

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If an employee becomes temporarily disabled as a result of an illness, a mental health problem, a physical injury or some other type of health condition, they may be able to obtain a partial wage replacement as a result of the insurance they carry. In the event that the temporary disability makes it difficult for workers to complete their everyday obligations, these benefits may be provided.

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Who Qualifies for State Disability Insurance?

Any employee in California who earns ​$300 or more​ in wages during a base period is automatically eligible for SDI payments. Keep in mind, however, that these payments are available to you only as long as SDI deductions are taken out of your pay. These deductions can change each year.

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For the ​2021 tax year​, the SDI tax rate was set to ​1.20 percent​ on a taxable wage maximum of ​$128,298​. With these limits in mind, the maximum amount of money that can be withheld from your paycheck for the calendar year is just ​over $1,539​.

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The base period mentioned previously refers to a 12-month period before the SDI claim is made. In order for your claim to be granted, you must be receiving medical care from a doctor, and your doctor will need to certify that you're currently unable to work.

Benefits from Paid Family Leave are also provided through this program, which means that you might have access to these benefits if you're currently taking care of a new child or a sick family member. If you are pregnant, SDI benefits are typically paid for ​two weeks to four weeks​ before the birth occurs, as well as a four-week period following the birth. SDI benefits for the post-pregnancy period may extend to ​six weeks​ if a cesarean section took place.

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How to Apply for SDI

It's possible to file an SDI claim on the Employment Development Department website. This claim must be filed within ​49 days​ after the disability has occurred in order to receive the benefits that you're owed.

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Where Is SDI on W-2 Forms?

As mentioned previously, around ​1.20 percent​ of each paycheck you receive is withheld by your employer in order to pay for the premium on your State Disability Insurance. When you receive your annual W-2 form, you'll notice that SDI is located in ​Box 14​. This box contains all of the contributions to SDI that you've made during the previous tax year. While you won't be able to claim a credit or deduction for these payments, it's possible to use the amount of money you see in Box 14 as a deduction on your income tax return.

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Most employees in California are required to pay for state disability insurance, which gives you a certain level of protection if you're ever temporarily disabled. Keep in mind that this disability applies only to an illness or injury incurred outside of work. For injuries that take place while you are working, it's likely that workers' compensation insurance would apply.

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