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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Types of Claims

State Disability Insurance (SDI) has several types of Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) claims:

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DI provides short-term benefits to eligible California workers who have a loss of wages when they are unable to work due to their own non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Your claim begins when you have a loss of wages and your physician/practitioner certifies that your disability prevents you from doing your regular or customary job duties.

File for DI benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form, visit How to File a DI Claim by Mail.

Your pregnancy claim begins when you have a loss of wages and your physician/practitioner confirms that you have a disability which prevents you from doing your regular or customary job duties.

The usual disability period for a normal pregnancy is up to four weeks before the expected delivery date and up to six weeks (for normal delivery) or eight weeks (for Cesarean section) after the actual delivery. However, your physician/practitioner may certify to a longer disability period prior to or after delivery if there are medical complications and if you are unable to perform your regular or customary job duties.

Your post-partum benefits are limited to the period that you are actually unable to do your regular or customary work.

File for DI benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form visit, How to File a DI Claim by Mail.

Note: New mothers transitioning from a DI-related pregnancy claim to PFL-related bonding should remember that when you have recovered from delivering your baby, a Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits – New Mother (DE 2501FP) will be automatically mailed to you in a separate envelope at the same time your final DI payment is issued. 

PFL Bonding provides benefits to eligible workers who need to take time off work to bond with a new child entering the family by birth or in connection with adoption or foster care placement.

The following workers are eligible for bonding claims: new mothers after their pregnancy-related DI claim ends, new mothers (who did not previously have a pregnancy-related DI claim), fathers when their baby enters the household, and new parents of foster care or adopted children.

To learn more about PFL, view the Paid Family Leave Fact Sheet or the State Disability Insurance FAQs.

File for PFL benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form visit, How to File a PFL Claim by Mail.

PFL Care provides benefits to eligible workers who need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.

A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition of a patient that involves any period of incapacity (e.g., inability to work or perform other regular daily activities) or inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility and any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or continuing treatment by a physician/practitioner. Unless complications arise, cosmetic treatments, the common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, and headaches other than migraine, are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition for purposes of PFL. For more information, see frequently asked questions.

To learn more about PFL, view the Paid Family Leave Fact Sheet or the State Disability Insurance FAQs.

File for PFL benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form visit, How to File a PFL Claim by Mail.

For all part-time, intermittent, reduced hours, and reduced wage situations, the Employment Development Department (EDD) suggests that you file a claim and after we receive your properly completed claim, we will determine if you are eligible for DI or PFL benefits.

Part-Time Work Schedules

If you work part-time (prior to your DI or PFL claim), are unable to perform your regular or customary work, and have a wage loss for at least eight consecutive days due to your disability or family care, you may be eligible to receive DI or PFL benefits.

If you return to work on a part-time basis because you are unable to perform your regular or customary work, and have a continued wage loss due to your disability or family care, you may be eligible to receive continued DI or PFL benefits.

Intermittent Work Schedules

If you work intermittently (prior to your DI or PFL claim), are unable to perform your regular or customary work, and have a wage loss for at least eight consecutive days due to your disability or family care, you may be eligible to receive DI or PFL benefits.

If you return to work on an intermittent basis because you are unable to perform your regular or customary work and have a continued wage loss due to your disability or family care, you may be eligible to receive continued DI or PFL benefits.

For part-time and intermittent work claimants the EDD will look at what you earned on a weekly basis before your claim began, then subtract what you are currently earning working part-time or intermittently. The difference between the two figures is your wage loss, or the amount of wages you are losing by working part-time or intermittently. If your wage loss is greater than your weekly benefit amount, you will receive benefits at your full DI or PFL rate. If the wage loss is less than your weekly rate, you will receive the amount of your wage loss only.

Reduced Hours: If your work hours must be reduced as the result of a disability or family care, and you have a wage loss due to being unable to perform your regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days, you may be eligible to receive DI or PFL benefits. File for DI or PFL benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form, visit How to File a DI Claim by Mail or How to File a PFL Claim by Mail.

If you have a wage loss for at least eight consecutive days because you are unable to perform your regular or customary work and are placed in a position that pays less than your regular position, you may be eligible for reduced or full DI or PFL benefits, depending on the amount of the wage loss.

File for DI or PFL benefits using SDI Online or to file by paper form visit How to File a DI Claim by Mail or How to File a PFL Claim by Mail.

SDI pays a weekly benefit when your injury or illness is not work-related or you are taking time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. SDI benefits are paid for a temporary period of time only. Workers’ compensation helps you when your injury or illness is work-related. Workers’ compensation may also pay medical bills, benefits for temporary or permanent disabilities, and retraining benefits.

If you are receiving benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, you generally cannot receive DI or PFL benefits. However, DI or PFL benefits may be paid if your workers’ compensation claim is denied or your benefits are delayed. If the workers’ compensation weekly benefit amount is less than your DI or PFL weekly benefit amount, you may be eligible to receive the difference. If you are paid DI or PFL benefits while a workers’ compensation case is pending, a lien will be filed to recover those benefits when the workers’ compensation case is settled.

For DI claims only: If it is unknown if your injury or illness is work-related, a physician/practitioner may be able to help determine the cause of the disabling condition. If you believe that a work-related disability occurred it must be reported to the employer and a physician/practitioner’s medical report must be submitted to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

If an employee, employer, and/or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier disagree over issues regarding your workers’ compensation claim, contact the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation for information about the appeal process and your right to file an appeal.

For additional information, visit SDI Appeals.

California law allows an employer or a majority of employees to apply to the EDD for approval of a Voluntary Plan (VP) for the payment of DI and PFL benefits in place of the mandatory SDI coverage. A VP must provide all the same benefits as SDI, at least one benefit that is better than SDI, and it cannot cost employees more than SDI. For more information visit the VP Information page.

To file a VP claim, contact your personnel or benefits department.

The EDD offers an optional program, DIEC, for employers and self-employed individuals who are not required to pay into SDI, but want to be covered by Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). It is funded through quarterly premiums and can protect you against partial loss of income when you are unable to work.

DI or PFL provides benefits to eligible DIEC participants when they are unable to work and lose wages due to their own non-work-related illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth or to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.

To see if you qualify to elect DIEC, read the Information Sheet: Elective Coverage for Employers and Self-Employed Individuals (DE 231EC)

For more information about DIEC or to apply for elective coverage, visit Disability Insurance Elective Coverage Forms and Publications.

SDI was negotiated for employees in Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21. (All other state employees will be covered by NDI.)

Managerial and supervisory employees participate in the NDI program (both the regular and enhanced benefit levels).