Our California State Disability Insurance (SDI) calculator answers three common questions.

How much do I get every week, how long does it last, and what is the maximum amount I might receive?

It also answers the corollary to another very common question. Are the benefits taxable?

No, they are not, and that changes the equation dramatically.

  • Weekly benefit amounts
  • Payment duration and maximum amount
  • Consequences of taxation to take-home-pay

California SDI Weekly Benefits Calculations

California state disability insurance weekly benefit calculations have three main components: your base period income amount, the waiting period, and the percentage of income replaced after factoring in a weekly hard dollar cap.

Scan through the list of requested elements before entering your variables into the calculator. The more precise the information you provide, the more accurate the estimates.

Base Period Amount

The first step is determining the base period amount.

Divide your income into quarters ending on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.

Count backwards from when your disability began to the most recent quarter ending at least three months prior. Select the four quarters by counting in reverse. The quarter with the highest earnings is your base period amount.

Waiting Period

California SDI does not pay benefits during the first week of your disability.

Enter the total number of weeks you expect your disability to last. The calculator will automatically subtract the one-week waiting period from your estimate.

Percentage of Income

California SDI replaces approximately 55 percent of your gross income, up to a hard dollar cap. The hard dollar cap in 2014 is $1,075 weekly. If your annual income exceeds $101,700, you may be subject to the hard dollar cap.

Enter your base period earnings into the input form. The system will automatically compute whether you are subject to the cap, or eligible for the full 55 percent.

Individual short-term disability can increase your level of income replacement.

California SDI Payment Duration

The California state disability insurance payment duration helps us determine the maximum amount of income replacement you might expect to receive.

Now that we have the variables for the weekly amount, we need to multiply by how long the payments may last.

Maximum Amount

California SDI payments last up to 52 weeks if you are continuously disabled. You must be under the care of a licensed medical provider, who verifies in writing why you are unable to work.

The maximum payment amount is a simple calculation: the weekly amount times the duration, minus the waiting period.

Normal Pregnancy

California SDI payment duration for pregnancy varies by type of delivery. It is the cornerstone of maternity leave laws in the state.

The program begins paying four weeks before a normal delivery, and six weeks after a vaginal birth. C-section delivery may last longer.

Input 10 weeks for a normal vaginal delivery, and 12 weeks for a normal C-section birth.

Self Employed

The duration of claims payments is shorter for people participating in the self-employed program. The maximum duration for self-employed workers is 39 weeks.

Check off yes or no for self-employed on the input form. The calculator will automatically compute the maximum amount based upon your response.

Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

California SDI permits claims payments for workers who must reside at a licensed drug or alcohol rehabilitation center. The maximum claims payment duration is 90 days.

Check of yes or no for drug and alcohol rehabilitation on the input form. The system will automatically calculate the maximum amount based upon your response.

California SDI Benefit Tax Consequences

California state disability insurance benefits are not taxable at the state or federal level, unless your disability begins while collecting unemployment compensation. Our calculator includes the consequences in its computations.

You pay taxes while you are working, but not while receiving claims payments. This raises an interesting question. How much does your actual take-home-pay change after factoring this in?

You receive only 55% of gross income while disabled. However, you were not receiving 100% of gross income while working. State and federal taxes take out a big portion.

Federal Taxable

California SDI benefits are not taxable at the federal level. Many of us pay two forms: income, and FICA.

We have to include both forms to correctly estimate and compare the changes in your actual take-home-pay.

Federal Income

Your benefits are not federal income taxable. Find the marginal rate that you expect to pay.

Enter the marginal rate on the input form when prompted. The system will automatically forecast the amount avoided.

Marginal Rate Single Joint
10% >$9,075 >$18,150
15% >$36,900 >$73,800
25% >$89,350 >148,850
28% >$186,350 >$226,850

Federal FICA

To the best of our knowledge, you do not owe federal FICA taxes on California SDI benefit payments.

While working, employees pay a total FICA rate of 7.65% of gross income. The rate drops to 1.45% on gross income above $118,500.

There is no need to input any information about FICA. The calculator automatically computes the savings, and includes them in your take-home-pay comparison.

State Income

You also do not owe California state income taxes on your SDI claims payments. We also have to include the state-based consequences into the equation.

As you can see from the chart below, most people fall into the 9.3% bracket. The range is quite large.

Input the marginal rate that applies to your filing status. The calculator will include these data in its computation.

Marginal Rate Annual Income
1% <$7,582
2% <$17,976
4% <$28,371
6% <$39,384
8% <$49,774
9.3% <$255,250
10.3% <$305,100
11.3% <$508,500
12.3% >$508,500

Sources:

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