State Disability Insurance in CA
California SDI: State Short Term Disability Insurance
California SDI is a state mandated short term disability insurance program for people working in the Golden State. It is funded by employee payroll deductions and provides partial income replacement for workers suffering a loss of income due to a covered accident or illness. The program covers off the job accidents and sickness only.
State SDI California: Pregnancy and Maternity Leave
State SDI in California covers your normal labor and delivery along with complications of pregnancy. For a normal pregnancy, entitlements are usually payable for up to four (4) weeks before the expected delivery date and up to six (6) weeks after the actual delivery date. Entitlements may be payable for a longer period if your doctor certifies that you have a specific complication related to the pregnancy; you have a Cesarean section; or you have another simultaneous disability.
Many women work in physically demanding occupations: hair stylists, nurses, food servers and many others spend a significant amount of time on their feet. California SDI may make payments if you need to leave work even though your pregnancy is perfectly healthy. If you are unable to perform your regular or customary job duties, you may be covered without showing medical complications.
There is no set time for a pregnant woman to be off work, just as there is none for any other illness or disability. You may qualify for payments for the periods before and after your delivery during which your medical provider determines that you are unable to perform your regular and customary occupation due to your pregnancy or any condition arising out of your pregnancy.
California SDI Entitlement Amounts
California SDI entitlement payments are calculated by looking at a base period. Twelve months of your income are divided into quarters. You begin counting from five months prior to the start of your disability. The quarter with the highest earnings helps determine your claim payment amount. This is helpful for anyone with an intermittent disability leading up to a total disability, or anyone who stops working for any reason.
For most people, California SDI benefits replace 55% of your income, up to a maximum of $987 per week in 2012. Payments may last for up to twelve months.
In order to qualify you must be under the care of a doctor and must be unable to perform your regular job duties for at least eight days. You must be employed or actively looking for work at the time you became disabled. You are ineligible if you have applied for unemployment insurance or California Paid Family Leave.
Some workers are eligible if their disability results in part time or intermittent work hours, a reduction in hours, or a reduction in wages due to a diminished capacity to work. Self employed individuals may purchase coverage. You would have to apply for the California state short term disability insurance elective program.
California SDI and Unemployment Compensation
California SDI is often connected with unemployment compensation. The issues can be complex, but there are certain scenarios under which couples can tap into multiple sources of government entitlements. This happens most frequently to growing families during a maternity leave. As mentioned above, California SDI is not payable while you are receiving unemployment compensation.
Many women experience complications of pregnancy prior to delivery, and may take an extended leave from work. California maternity leave laws provide important job protections, and the state short term disability insurance plan replaces a portion of mom’s income. But what if dad needs to leave work to care for mom while she is on bed rest? California SDI will not cover dad, but the paid family leave program may provide up to six weeks of partial income replacement (fifty five percent).
But what happens when these entitlements run out?
California is one of twenty two states taking advantage of federal incentives to modernize unemployment compensation. The incentives allow for unemployment to be paid for compelling family reasons, including care for family member with a serious illness. Some couples may be able to extend these payments under these circumstances.
California SDI Claims Form
California SDI claims forms need to be completed in order for you to receive your pregnancy and/or maternity leave payments. You can download a claim form with instructions or visit the California EDD website. General information is available in English (1-800-480-3287) and Spanish (1-866-658-8846) by phone.
Further information about claims, eligibility, program details, and more can be found at CA Employment Development Department.
CA State Disability: Social Security
Social Security is for long term disabilities - those expected to last one year or longer. California SDI payments cease after twelve months. The two programs dovetail nicely together. If you expect to miss more than twelve months of work, it pays to begin applying for longer term assistance with this federal program. Once the California state payments end, the federal entitlements can begin.