California workers pay into California's State Disability Insurance (SDI). A percentage of each paycheck is deducted and added to the SDI fund. If you become disabled, pregnant or need to take paid family leave you're eligible for SDI benefits. SDI does not cover any job-related disabilities; those are taken care of by workers' compensation, which you apply for through your employer.
Qualifying for SDI
To qualify for SDI, you must be unable to do your usual and customary work, pregnant or taking paid family leave. You also have to have missed seven days or more of work and have been under medical care for eight days or more. If you meet these requirements, you should submit the claim forms to SDI. It usually processes claims within 14 days.
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SDI pays out 55 percent of your previous wages. Your base wage is determined by reviewing your wages from 17 months before your disability to five months before your disability. This year is divided into quarters, and the quarter with the highest wages determines your SDI benefit. Your maximum benefit is your weekly benefit amount times 52. If you are disabled continuously and unable to work, your benefit will last 52 weeks. If you go back to work part time, the benefit amount will be reduced and paid out until you reach your maximum benefit.
If you expect your disability to last over one year, you should apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI).You should do this as soon as you can; it takes at least three to five months for Social Security to decide on a claim. SSDI defines disability much more strictly than SDI. To qualify for SSDI, your condition must be expected to last at least one year or be terminal, and you must be unable to work and unable to train for new work. You can apply for SSDI at your local Social Security office.
If you're applying for SSDI, you should also consider applying for Supplemental Security Income. SSI is a monthly benefit for the low-income elderly, disabled and blind. SSI evaluates your current income and amount of assets. To qualify for SSI, you can have up to $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 as a couple. Receiving SSDI as well as SSI will lower the amount of SSI you receive, but increase your overall benefits.
- Disability Benefits 101: California State Disability Insurance (SDI) -- The Basics
- Disability Benefits 101: California State Disability -- Eligibility and Application
- Disability Benefits 101: California State Disability -- The SDI Benefit
- Social Security: What We Mean by Disability
- Social Security: SSI Eligibility Requirements
- Disability Benefits 101