Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits

Know the Difference between Workers’ Compensation and State Disability Insurance

Workers’ compensation provides benefits for workers when their injury or illness arises out of or is caused by their work. Workers’ compensation may also pay medical bills and benefits for temporary or permanent disabilities.

If you are hurt at work, have a medical condition due to your occupation, or an existing work-related medical condition that has become worse, you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.

Some examples of when you may receive DI benefits are:

  • Your employer or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier denies or delays workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Your workers’ compensation weekly benefit amount is less than your DI weekly benefit amount, you may be eligible to receive the difference.

However, you usually cannot receive both workers’ compensation and DI benefits at the same time.

If SDI issues benefits while a workers’ compensation case is pending, a lien will be filed to recover those benefits when the workers’ compensation case is settled.

Disability Insurance is part of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. It provides partial wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers who are unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. DI benefits are paid for a short period of time only.

If you are not sure that your injury or illness is work-related, a physician/practitioner may be able to determine the cause of your condition. If you think that a work-related disability occurred, you must report it to your employer. A physician/practitioner must submit a medical report to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

If you, your employer, or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier disagree on the workers’ compensation claim, contact the Department of Industrial Relation, Division of Workers’ Compensation for information about the appeal process.

If you are disqualified from receiving DI or Paid Family Leave benefits, you have the right to appeal any decision electronically or in writing within 30 days of the date your form was issued.

Last Revised: 12/16/2020

Register for Benefit Programs Online

Creating an account is an important step in this process. With Benefit Programs Online, you can apply for Disability Insurance (DI) and manage your claim in SDI Online.

Additional Resources

Can’t find what you’re looking for? View these resources for more information.