What is the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program?


California, for the purposes of State disability insurance (SDI), defines “disability” differently than the Social Security program. Workers who are prevented from performing the regular and customary demands of their job due to a medical condition may be eligible for benefits.

This can include non-work related illness or injury, whether physical or mental, as well as pregnancy and childbirth or even elective surgery, among other medical conditions. The program provides financial support to all eligible California workers who are unable to work or lose wages due to their condition.

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Who is eligible for California State Disability Insurance?

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) states that you must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SDI benefits. You must have earned a minimum of $300 from which SDI deductions were withheld during your base period, a calendar year. Citizenship and immigration status do not affect eligibility.

The health problem must have prevented you from performing your regular or usual duties at work for at least eight days or caused you to lose your salary. If you were not employed when you became disabled, you may still be entitled to benefits provided you are actively looking for work at the time.

Within eight days of the onset of disability, you must be under the care and treatment of a physician or licensed practitioner or licensed religious practitioner. To continue to receive benefits, you must still be receiving care and treatment.

You cannot apply for benefits until nine days have elapsed since the onset of your disability and no more than 49 days after the onset of the medical condition or risk losing your benefits. You will need to complete and submit a Disability Insurance Benefits Application Form, DE 2501 or DE 2502 for Religious Practitioners, which you can find on EDD. Online forms and publications Web page.

You must have the medical certificate part completed by your doctor, practitioner or religious practitioner. If it is within their scope of practice, a nurse practitioner can certify your disability. For a normal pregnancy or childbirth, the medical certificate can be completed by a registered midwife, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner.

How much of your salary will be replaced by California SDI?

The amount of financial assistance you can receive per week depends on your salary. The benefit will be calculated based on your base period during which you must have contributed to the program. You can verify that you have made contributions by checking your pay stubs, it will be listed under “CASDI”.

The amount of your weekly benefit is estimated at 60-70% of the salary you earned 5-18 months before the application. The maximum you can receive in 2022 is $1,540 per week for a total of $80,080 if you qualify for the 52-week maximum. To find out more about how your weekly allowance is calculated, you can visit the online website Disability insurance and paid family leave calculator.


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