Applying for State Disability Benefits is Harder Than it Should Be – Let Us Help You Navigate These Difficult Waters
In theory, the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California is designed to provide a variety of services to workers, people seeking work, and employers. In reality, they can often stand in the way. Case in point: state disability. If you have applied for state disability and run into issues navigating the confusing world of the EDD, we invite you to contact DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 for a free consultation with a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the State Bar of California.
The Basics of State Disability
All California employees are required to contribute to the state’s short-term disability insurance (SDI) program through payroll deductions. Employees can earn weekly benefits from the program if they are unable to work due to a disability until they are ready to return to work or the benefits expire. The Employment Development Department of California is in charge of the program (EDD).
Employees eligible for supplemental security income
Employees who have earned at least $300 in earnings during their “base period” are entitled to SDI payments, provided that SDI deductions have been made. (The base period is the twelve months before the employee’s final full calendar quarter before filing an SDI claim.) Furthermore, an employee must be under the supervision of a physician, who must certify that the person is unable to work.
In the perspective of EDD, you are disabled if your doctor certifies that you are unable to do your work. You don’t have to be unable to conduct any sort of work; all you have to do is be unable to do your job’s normal and customary tasks.
When a person is pregnant, SDI can be started two to four weeks before their due date and continued for four weeks after their baby is born or six weeks in the case of a cesarean. For elective surgery, SDI will pay a person’s recovery from elective and aesthetic procedures if their doctor confirms that they are handicapped.
Situations that render an employee eligible for SDI benefits
Employees’ eligibility for SDI benefits may be revoked under certain circumstances. Employees with the following characteristics are not eligible for benefits:
- Skipped the doctor’s appointment that the EDD set up
- Are unable to work as a result of a felony offense he or she committed
- Are getting unemployment benefits
- Are incarcerated for a criminal offense
- Are getting paid sick leave equivalent to his or her full salary or regular earnings
- Are getting paid family leave benefits
- Are getting workers’ compensation payments that are larger than what the employee would get under SDI
If you are disqualified under one of the above causes there might be options for you. Contact DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 right away for a consultation.
How SDI amounts are calculated
Your bi-weekly payout is calculated based on how much you earned during your base period. You will get 60-70 percent of the average salary you received from your employer during the calendar quarter of the base period in which you earned the greatest money. Your average salary will include wages from both jobs if you worked two jobs during your base period.
The maximum weekly amount in 2021 is $1,357. SDI payments are not taxed. Because the state calculates your weekly payment using the highest-paid quarter of your base period, the date you make your claim might have an impact on the amount of benefits you get.
You can take advantage of this by selecting a date that would provide you with the greatest base period income, but you must make a claim with EDD within seven weeks after becoming unable to work. We can help you find the right time to file.
Payments can continue for up to 52 weeks
Most workers can get payments for up to 52 weeks if they are unable to work for that long. Self-employed people who pay into the system, on the other hand, can only get benefits for 39 weeks, and those in alcohol or drug rehab can only get payments for 90 days (unless they have a certified disability for drug or alcohol addiction).
Your SDI benefits could affect other benefits
Paid sick leave, PTO, or holiday pay received while receiving SDI, as well as income for part-time work, will be deducted from your SDI benefit amount. For instance, pay you receive for light-duty work related to your disability.
However, you can request that the EDD “integrate” your SDI benefit with your sick pay or PTO. If your employer agrees, you can be paid just enough sick time or paid time off (PTO) such that when paired with SDI, you receive the same amount as your regular income or earnings. For the sort of income you get from your company, you enter “Integrated Benefits” on your application form.
You may also be eligible for sick leave or PTO during the first seven days of your disability, as SDI does not begin paying you until the eighth day. Your SDI payment will not be affected if you receive paid vacation benefits. The state may deduct your disability benefits from your SDI payment if you apply for and are granted Social Security disability benefits.
How to make a claim for disability benefits
You can make a claim online at EDD’s SDI Online page, or you can request that Form DE 2501, Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits, be mailed to you through the EDD website. You only have 49 days from the date you become incapacitated to submit a claim. You’ll also need to have your doctor write out a medical certificate of disability, or you may register online and have your condition certified.
If your application for SDI benefits is approved by the EDD, you will get a notice of eligibility that includes an estimate of your weekly benefit amount.
If your employer is refusing to cooperate or you are unsure about your leave rights, you should see an employment lawyer. Although the SDI program does not provide you with leave or reinstatement rights or job protection, the California Family Rights Act, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, California’s pregnancy disability leave law, and the Americans with Disabilities Act all provide some form of job protection.
At DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 we urge you to contact us at to request a consultation.