Disability Insurance: Do you qualify?

The State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides partial wage replacement to Yes, a doctor from another country is able 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, with answers, about Disability Insurance:

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

To file a claim, you can call the EDD Disabil- ity Insurance customer service line and request a form, (Disability Insurance Form, 2501). You can also apply online, or walk into any local EDD office to get an application. You can process an ap- plication (claim) online by visiting http://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/di_how_to_file_a_claim.htm or you can call an SDI program representa- tive at 1-800-480-3287 (English) or 1-866-658- 8846 (Spanish). You need to mail your claim form within 49 days from the first day you were disabled. If your claim is late, you may lose benefits.

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

The amount of money collected will be ap- proximately 55% of your total earnings. Normal weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,011. State Disability benefits are calculated using the wages you were paid approximately 5 to 18 months before your SDI claim begins. You may receive up to 52 weeks, or one year, of payments.

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

Yes, a doctor from another country is able to sign your disability form so you can collect your benefits. Although, the process will take a little longer because the out of country doctor’s license has to be approved by the EDD’s medical director’s office.

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.

Do I get paid for the waiting period week?

No, anyone who files an initial claim for Dis- ability benefits, needs to serve a non-payable 7 day waiting period. The only exception to this law is for those new mothers who are transitioning from their pregnancy related disability claim onto the Paid Family Leave claim.

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 protec- tion during your leave. It is important that you arrange the time off with your employer before applying for Disability Insurance. The EDD does not protect jobs; they only pay benefits to those who qualify for Disability Insurance. For help filing your claim or to have EDD answer any questions you have, you can call a representative at 1-800-480-3287 (English) or 1-866-658-8846 (Spanish). The EDD has Dis- ability offices throughout the state to answer any questions, and to help you apply. To find an office, visit: www.edd.ca.gov/disability . Representatives are available from 8a.m. to 5p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.