Disability Insurance Benefits and Payments FAQs

You can apply for Disability Insurance (DI) by completing the Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) form online or by mail.

To apply online, you must first complete a one-time registration using Benefit Programs Online (BPO) to establish an online account. Visit the BPO login page and select Register to create an account now. For more information, visit How to File a DI Claim in SDI Online.

BPO registration is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After you have registered for and logged in to BPO, select SDI Online, which will direct you to the SDI Online Registration Options. Once your registration is complete, log in to BPO and select SDI Online to be directed to your Home page to file your claim.

Note: It may be necessary to send some documents via U.S. mail even if you selected electronic communication.

To apply by mail, visit an SDI Office or request the paper form from a physician/practitioner or your employer. You may also request that a hard copy version of the form be mailed to you by calling 1-800-480-3287 or visiting Online Forms and Publications. For more information, visit How to File a DI Claim by Mail.

The EDD calculates your weekly benefit amount using a base period. This base period covers 12 months and is divided into four consecutive quarters of three months each.

Your weekly benefit amount is about 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) of wages earned 5 to 18 months before your claim start date, up to the maximum weekly benefit amount. The wages must have been subject to the State Disability Insurance tax. Your base period does not include wages paid at the time your disability begins.

For more information, visit Calculating Disability Benefit Payment Amounts or try the Weekly Benefit Amount Calculator to estimate your benefit amount.

Most benefit payments are issued within two weeks after the EDD receives a properly completed claim online or by mail. By filling in your application completely and verifying that all information is correct, you help ensure your benefit payment is issued promptly.

Yes. When you file your claim you have the option to choose either an EDD Debit CardSM issued by Bank of America or a check issued by the EDD.

The first seven days of every new claim is a non-payable waiting period.

Note: For claims submitted due to COVID 19, the Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect Disability Insurance benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Receiving this notice does NOT confirm that you have been found eligible to receive benefits.

The EDD sends you the Notice of Computation (DE 429D) to inform you of your potential weekly and maximum benefit amount based on the wages you earned in your base period. The EDD may need more information before making a decision about your eligibility. Benefit payments are normally issued within two weeks of the EDD receiving a properly completed claim online or by mail; however, if we need additional information, more time may be needed to process your claim.

You may collect up to 52 weeks of full Disability Insurance benefits, or the amount of wages in your base period, whichever is less. You may be paid for periods longer than 52 weeks if your benefits are reduced because you returned to work on a part-time basis, or if you received other money during your disability claim period. You may want to contact the Social Security Administration if your disability will be extended beyond that time.

No. Disability Insurance (DI) only provides monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other laws, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FMLA and CFRA are leave laws that allow you to take unpaid leave from your job to care for yourself, family members who are ill, or children who are unable to take care of themselves. DI does not change either law in any way and is completely separate from them. DI provides up to 52 weeks of paid benefits to you when you have a wage loss when taking time off work for your own non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. If your employer is subject to the provisions of the FMLA and CFRA, they may require you to take FMLA and CFRA leave at the same time as DI.

For more information about the FMLA, visit the Department of Labor or call 1-866-487-2365. For more information about the CFRA, visit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or call 1-800-884-1684.

No. Once your claim is established, your base period and your Disability Insurance weekly benefit amount remain the same for the span of that disability claim.

Your Disability Insurance (DI) benefits are not reportable for tax purposes with one exception. If you are receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, become unable to work due to a disability, and begin receiving Disability Insurance benefits, your DI benefits are considered a substitution for your UI benefits, and will then be reportable for tax purposes.

If DI benefits are reportable, a notice will accompany the first benefit payment sent to you advising that the benefits are being reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In January the EDD will provide you with a 1099G form showing the reportable amounts paid (no more than the original UI maximum) and forward a copy of the 1099G to the IRS.

Yes. However, Social Security may reduce the amount you receive for Disability Insurance benefits. For Social Security Administration (SSA) eligibility requirements, visit the SSA website.

You must report in writing or contact the EDD immediately:

  • If you have returned to part-time or full-time work.
  • If you have recovered from your disability.
  • To report a date of death on behalf of a deceased claimant.
  • Any wages received. See Reporting Your Wages for a complete list of wages to report.

Reporting this information ensures you receive the correct benefit amount and prevents an overpayment.

If you don’t notify the EDD of wages received or changes in your status, you may cause an overpayment. An overpayment happens when you receive Disability Insurance benefits you were not eligible to receive. If you knowingly report incorrect information, or withhold information, then a false statement disqualification of up to 92 days will be applied. In addition, any resulting overpayment will be increased by a 30 percent penalty.

If you have recovered or returned to work, notify the EDD immediately by using your SDI Online account, by mail, or by calling the Disability Insurance office at 1-800-480-3287.

For more information on how to report your return to work date, visit Disability Insurance – Stop or Continue Your Benefits and review the section Stop Your Benefits.

To report a deceased claimant of Disability Insurance benefit payments, contact the Disability Insurance Office at 1-800-480-3287.

You may also notify the EDD by writing to the PO Box address printed on the payment notice. Be sure to provide the claimant’s name and date of death, and your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you with additional instructions. Benefits are payable through the date of death if otherwise eligible.

First, you must have received your billing notice. The Benefit Overpayment Statement of Amount Due (DE 8301R) form is a billing notice that is mailed to you each month. If you have not yet received this notice or have lost it, please contact the EDD at 1-800-480-3287.

Visit Benefit Overpayments to make a payment.

For more information, view the Make a Payment on a Benefit Overpayment (YouTube) tutorial.

If you choose to be paid with the EDD Debit Card, it is mailed to you when your first payment is authorized by the EDD. The card is valid for three years, and if you have a previously unexpired card from a prior Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, or Paid Family Leave claim, the benefit payments for the new claim will be placed on the previously issued card. Benefit payments issued to your EDD Debit Card account should be received in no more than five business days. If it has been over five days since the benefit payment was issued, contact the EDD.

If you choose to be paid by check, please allow 10 days from the date the check was issued for postal delivery or return of a check.

If it has been over 10 days since the check was issued, contact the EDD. The EDD will investigate to determine if your check has already been cashed and, if it has, will mail you a copy of the check and endorsing signature. If the signature is yours, no further action will be required. If the endorsement is not yours, contact the EDD for further instructions.

Checks are negotiable for one year. If your check has “expired,” contact the EDD for benefit payment instructions.

All court orders to begin or end child support obligations are submitted to the EDD through the Department of Child Support Services. The EDD does not accept any documents directly from the customer.

If you have further questions, contact Child Support Services in the county where you reside. To locate the Child Support Services office nearest you, visit Local Child Support Agencies.

If your physician/practitioner certifies that your disability prevents you from working, you may file a claim for Disability Insurance (DI) benefits. You must first contact Unemployment Insurance (UI) to suspend your claim because an individual cannot receive DI benefits for the same period of time in which UI benefits are paid.

For information about DI eligibility, visit Am I Eligible for DI?

You may file a disability claim by completing a one-time registration with Benefit Programs Online then filing your DI claim using SDI Online.

If you choose to file by mail using a paper form, you can order a Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) from Online Forms and Publications.

Disability Insurance does not protect your job. It only provides partial wage replacement when you are unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth. You may have your job protected under other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

For more information about the FMLA, visit the Department of Labor or call 1-866-487-2365. For more information about the CFRA, visit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or call 1-800-884-1684.

The California Unemployment Insurance Code exempts various groups from participating in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which includes Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave. Among these are public entities, which includes most government and school district employees. For groups such as these to be covered, they must apply for and elect SDI coverage.

Employees that fall within these exempt groups may not participate in SDI as an individual. Group participation is required. See the Information Sheet for Non-Profit and/or Public Entities (DE231NP) (PDF) and the Information Sheet for Specialized Coverage (Elective Coverage for Exempt Workers) (DE 231SC) (PDF).

The EDD has a program for self-employed individuals and independent contractors, called Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DIEC). Premiums for the current year are based on the net profits you reported to the IRS on your Schedule SE for the tax year two years prior to the current year.

For more information, visit Eligibility for DIEC.

The California Unemployment Insurance Code exempts various groups from participation in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program which includes both Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave including most school district employees. For groups such as these to be covered, they must apply for and elect to participate in the SDI program.

Employees that fall within these exempt groups may not participate in SDI as an individual. Group participation is required. See the Information Sheet for Non-Profit and/or Public Entities (DE231NP) (PDF) and the Information Sheet for Specialized Coverage (Elective Coverage for Exempt Workers) (DE 231SC) (PDF).