California state short-term disability insurance for pregnancy replaces a portion of income while mom is unable to work. This is a big help for families!

You may be wondering how much money you qualify to receive, and how long the benefits might last. With a new mouth to feed and clothe, this information is vital to proper budgeting.

Follow this three-part outline to find answers to the most common questions.

  • What application forms should I complete to file a claim for benefits?
  • How much does the program pay during pregnancy and on maternity leave?
  • What laws protect my job and healthcare while on leave?

California Short-Term Disability Claim Forms

The California state short-term disability insurance (SDI) application forms have several varieties. Pregnant women need to complete the correct paperwork in the right sequence to qualify to file a claim.

Because this is a state-run entitlement program, most individuals working in California automatically qualify to apply or benefits. However, there are exceptions to every rule.

Debt Relief Application

Debt relief application. If you already owe more than $10,000 in credit card debt, complete this simple online form. Learn about how a settlement program might help you weather a financial crisis. California SDI replaces only 55% of income. You may be facing extra medical bills at the same time. It is easy to fall hopelessly behind on your bills during pregnancy.

Policy Application

Complete a policy application form to begin coverage if you are self-employed or a 1099 contractor. The state of California does not automatically enroll the self-employed. Contractors fall into the same category. Employer groups often do not withhold SDI payments from the checks of 1099 employees.

Complete the policy application form while to begin coverage. Self-employed workers and 1099 contractors must pay into the system for at least six months before filing a claim for benefits. This means you can enroll during the first trimester of a pregnancy.

Claim Form

California short-term disability claim forms also come in a wide variety. Most people seeking to file an application for benefits simply choose between the online form submission and mailing in an actual piece of signed paperwork.

However, claimants must choose the form for the correct program, or risk a denial or delay in processing. Choose the option that describes the actual coverage you have.

  1. Online SDI claims submission is for people who prefer the convenience.
  2. Mailed SDI application forms are for individuals who like tactile paperwork.
  3. Individual application for benefits form applies to self-employed individuals who began coverage at least six months prior via Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DEIC).
  4. State government employees have a separate program negotiated in bargaining units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21. The program may require a separate form.
  5. Voluntary claim forms are unique to each private company. Some employers choose to offer voluntary coverage. Voluntary plans must exceed the mandatory SDI benefits or offer a lower premium.
  6. Supplemental application forms are also unique to the private company. Supplemental plans fill in the gaps in the SDI program. The supplemental coverage may have a higher weekly maximum benefit or pay claims for longer than 52 weeks.

California Short-Term Disability Pregnancy

California state short-term disability insurance (SDI) covers mom’s pregnancy complications. It also pays benefits while she recovers from labor and delivery. Sometimes mom experiences postpartum disorders, which may delay her return to work. The program often continues making claims payments until she is physically able to resume working.

The amount is a fraction (55% with a $1,173 weekly cap in 2017) of your pre-disability income. The length of payments depends on, how soon before delivery mom must stop working, and how long after birth before she is physically able to resume her job.

During Pregnancy

California short-term disability pays the benefit to mom during pregnancy when a medical complication prevents her from working. Her doctor must validate the medical reason why she is unable to perform the duties of her job.

Claim payments can begin after a 7-day waiting period. This means that many intermittent pregnancy-related conditions may not qualify. This list of medical conditions provides guidance as to which could be a valid claims reason.

  • Anxiety and stress may qualify as a mental illness
  • Bed rest is not a valid medical reason by itself
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome must impede primary job duties
  • Exhaustion by itself does not meet the standard
  • Gestational diabetes rarely interferes with job duties
  • Lower back pain can impede lifting or standing for long periods
  • Sciatica also impedes sitting or standing
  • Miscarriage (pregnancy loss) may require recovery at home
  • Morning sickness must be very severe and continue daily for weeks
  • High-risk pregnancy alone does not qualify
  • Preterm labor may be eligible after satisfying the waiting period

Maternity Leave Pay

California short-term disability generates maternity leave pay in the four weeks up to the expected due date, and while mom recovers from normal labor and delivery. This is a great feature since normal childbirth is a planned event for many women.

  • Before due date: 4 weeks
  • Vaginal birth: 6 weeks
  • C-section delivery: 8 weeks
  • Total for normal birth: 10 – 12 weeks

Women can often extend the period of maternity leave pay when recovery takes longer than expected. Not every delivery goes smoothly. Postpartum medical disorders such as bleeding or infections can elongate the recovery time.

SDI also covers any mental illness that prevents a person from performing her regular and customary work. Women experiencing postpartum depression may qualify to extend leave for this reason.

California Short-Term Disability Laws

The California short-term disability insurance (SDI) laws are the most extensive in the country. The state has regulations regarding income replacement for off-the-job accidents, illnesses, and pregnancy-related conditions. It also has related rules offering job protections and extended income replacement for caregivers.

Disability Insurance Law

California Unemployment Insurance Code, Section 2655, passed in 1946 is the original law. This regulation requires coverage for personnel working for any employer with a payroll exceeding $100 in any quarter. There are some exceptions to this requirement.

  • Domestic workers
  • Government entities
  • Interstate railroads
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Religious exemptions

Some people are not required to participate but can elect to enroll on their own.

  • Sole proprietors
  • Self employed
  • Government workers

Paid Leave Laws

Paid maternity and family leave benefits accrue from two California laws.

The SDI program provides partial income replacement for the person who is unable to work due to an off-the-job accident, illness, or pregnancy-related condition. Benefits last up to 52 weeks.

The Paid Family Leave Act also offers partial income replacement for caregivers. Caregivers provide support to seriously ill family members. The law includes baby-bonding benefits for both moms and dads. It also includes adoption and placement of a foster child. Claim payments last for up to 6 weeks.

Job Protection Laws

Five different job protection laws in California guarantee that mom can return to her previous job at similar pay, continue access to health care, and protect her rights while pregnant. The first two are state-based, while the remaining laws apply nationwide.

  1. California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (PDL) offers the first four months while mom cannot work.
  2. California Family Rights Act (CFRA) offers the final three months while she bonds with baby.
  3. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) helps slightly different groups of people nationwide.
  4. Pregnancy Discrimination Act offers additional right across the country.
  5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects pregnant women on the job.

Source: CA EDD