Disability Insurance: Do You Qualify?

Disability benefits help protect your paycheck and your standard of living if you become disabled. These benefits supplement income to help pay for food, housing, or any of your usual expenses otherwise provided by a stable paycheck.

The State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides partial wage replacement to eligible workers who are unable to work because of a disability, illness or pregnancy. The program is run by the state of California, and is funded through employee payroll deductions.

Workers who seek coverage due to a disability, illness or pregnancy are protected by two programs: Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). The Employment Development Department (EDD) administers both of these programs. The following are the Employment Development Department’s most frequently asked questions on Disability Insurance:

What is the process to apply for Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave?

To file a claim, you can call the EDD Disability Insurance service line and request a form, (Form 2501). You can also apply online, or walk into any local EDD office to get an application.

How much money will I receive from my Disability Insurance claim?

The amount of money collected will be approximately 55% of your total earnings. Normal weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,011.You may receive up to 52 weeks, or one year, of payments.

When should I file my claim?

You should file no earlier than the 9th and no later than the 49th day after the date your claim states your disability began. If you are beyond the 49th day, include a letter explaining why you couldn’t file your claim in time.

Can a doctor outside of the U.S. certify my disability claim?

Yes, a licensed doctor from another country is able to sign your disability form so you can collect your benefits.

Can I apply even if I do not have a legal right to work in the U.S. or a social security number?

Yes, anyone working in California who pays into the California State Disability Insurance is potentially eligible for benefits. Your legal status does not affect your potential eligibility for benefits.

If I need to take time off for a disability, will the EDD protect my job?

No. DI provides you income replacement while on leave – it does not guarantee job protection during your leave. It is important that you arrange the time off with your employer before applying for Disability Insurance.

For help filing your claim, contact representatives at the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California at 1-800-480-3287 (English) or 1-866-658-8846 (Spanish). To find an office,visit: www.edd.ca.gov/disability.