Disability Insurance – Pregnancy FAQs

Have questions regarding Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL)?

Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on how the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides short-term disability and PFL benefits. Both DI and PFL are wage replacement benefits available to eligible workers who need time off work.

Disability Insurance (DI)
When your physician/practitioner certifies that you are unable to work due to your pregnancy, you can file a DI claim for your pregnancy-related disability and recovery from delivery.

If your pregnancy-related condition will require you to stop working earlier than four weeks prior to your baby’s estimated due date, you can file a claim sooner. Your physician/practitioner can certify to longer periods during pregnancy and/or after birth if you have a pregnancy-related condition that prevents you from performing your normal or usual job duties.

Learn more on how to apply for disability and set up and manage your benefits through your SDI Online account.

Paid Family Leave (PFL)
Once you have recovered from your pregnancy-related disability and your physician/practitioner has said you can return to work, you can file a PFL claim. PFL pays up to eight weeks of benefits to bond with your new child.

When your last DI benefit check is issued, we will automatically send you a Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits - New Mother (DE 2501FP) or the link will be sent to your SDI Online inbox.

No. Your claim begins when you lose wages and your physician/practitioner confirms that you are unable to do your normal or usual job duties. However, if your physician/practitioner certifies that you must limit your hours of work or change your work duties because of your pregnancy, you may be eligible for benefits.

You may be eligible for benefits based on your:

  • Age.
  • Occupation.
  • Job limitations.
  • Prior pregnancy history.
  • Current medical condition.
  • Physician's/practitioner's certification that you are unable to do your normal or usual work.

If you think you are eligible, file a claim.

Usually, disability benefits are between 6 to 12 weeks based on the following conditions of your pregnancy and delivery:

  • Without medical complications: You can receive benefits up to four weeks before your expected delivery date and up to six weeks after your delivery.
  • By cesarean section: You can receive benefits up to four weeks before your expected delivery date, and up to eight weeks after your delivery.

In some cases, your physician/practitioner may certify to longer periods if there are medical complications or if you are unable to perform your normal or usual job duties.

No. Once your baby is born, your benefits are limited to the period that you are unable to do your normal or usual work.

Our Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DIEC) program offers business owners and self-employed people the option to protect themselves against loss of income due to injury, pregnancy, or illness, whether or not it is work related.

Disability Insurance (DI)
If your physician/practitioner certifies that you are unable to work due to your pregnancy, you can file a DI claim for your pregnancy-related disability and recovery from delivery.

You must first stop certifying for UI benefits and notify Unemployment Insurance (UI) that you are no longer able and available for work. UI will schedule a phone interview with you to suspend your claim because you cannot receive DI and UI benefits at the same time.

You can apply for disability by completing a one-time registration with Benefit Programs Online, then file your DI claim using SDI Online. You can also order a Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) from Online Forms and Publications and file by mail using the paper form.

Paid Family Leave (PFL)
Once you have recovered from your pregnancy-related disability and your physician/practitioner has said you can return to work, you can file a PFL claim. PFL pays up to eight weeks of benefits to bond with your new baby.

When your last DI benefit check is issued, we will automatically send you a Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits - New Mother (DE 2501FP) or the link will be sent to your SDI Online inbox.

Last Revised: 12/22/2020

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 you claim in SDI Online.

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First 5 California provides resources, support, programs, and information for children ages 0 to 5 and their families.

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