State Disability Insurance Benefits
The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides short-term Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) wage replacement benefits to eligible workers who need time off work. Employees may be eligible for DI if they are unable to work due to non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.
You may be eligible for PFL to:
Care for a seriously ill family member.
Bond with a new child.
Participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country.
DI does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other federal or state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
Disability is an illness or injury, either physical or mental, which prevents you from performing your regular and customary work. Disability also includes elective surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions.
Employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney to see if you are eligible for DI benefits and if so, what your benefits may be, and how you will receive payments.
Q: If an employee pays into State Disability Insurance but don’t live in California, are they still eligible for benefits?
A: Yes, where the employees lives does not affect their eligibility. The employee may still be eligible if their job is based in California and you pay into State Disability Insurance (noted as CASDI on your paystub).
Q: If an employee quits their job or are laid off and now have a disability, can they file for disability benefits?
A: You must be working or looking for work at the time your disability begins.
Q: If an employee works more than one job. Will they get benefits that cover all their jobs?
A: Yes. If all of their employers take State Disability Insurance (SDI) out of their paychecks, their Disability Insurance benefits will reflect all jobs. This will be listed as CASDI on the employee's paystubs. Employees must report all employment on their application form when they apply by listing the name, address, telephone number, and last day they worked for each employer.
Q: Does an employee have to be working at their job for a certain amount of time to be eligible for disability benefits?
A: No. Eligibility is based on the earnings shown in their base period. Their base period is wages they earned 5 to 18 months before their disability claim begins. The employee must have at least $300 in wages in their base period, and they must have been subject to the SDI tax deduction (withholding).
Q: Can an employee receive Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time?
A: No. An employee cannot receive Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time.
The employee cannot certify for disability while also certifying for UI. The employee must choose the program that best applies to them.
Q: Can an employee opt out of the Disability Insurance program?
A: No, but employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney regarding exceptions to the general rule.
Q: Are government workers eligible for disability benefits?
A: Some government workers, including school employees, may be eligible for Disability Insurance benefits. To find out, review the collective bargaining contract. If the employee has wages from another employer in their base period, they may be eligible even though their current employer doesn’t participate in State Disability Insurance.
Q: Are school employees eligible for Disability Insurance benefits during school breaks?
A: School employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney to determine whether they are eligible for Disability Insurance benefits.
Q: Will benefits cover an elective or cosmetic surgery?
A: Yes. Elective and cosmetic surgeries are covered by Disability Insurance. The employee's physician/practitioner must certify that the employee is unable to do your normal or usual job duties because of the surgery.
Q: Can an employee receive benefits if the employer is going to pay the employee vacation, sick, or holiday pay during their claim?
A: Employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney under these circumstances as each is treated differently.
Q: Can an employee get benefits if they are am living in a residential alcohol rehabilitation facility?
A: Employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney if living in a residential alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Q: Can an employee get Disability Insurance if they go to a drug rehabilitation facility recommended by their physician/practitioner?
A: Employees should consult with an experienced employment law attorney if they go to a drug rehabilitation facility.
If you have any further questions or need additional information about California’s State Disability Insurance program, please contact me for a FREE confidential consultation at (916) 333-653 or Stephen_Fiegel_Esq@comcast.net.
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