Disability Insurance – Eligibility FAQs
Disability Insurance (DI) provides short-term wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers.
You may be eligible for DI if you are unable to work and are losing wages because of your own non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.
Note: Citizenship and immigration status do not affect eligibility.
Get answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to know if you are eligible for DI.
If I pay into State Disability Insurance but don’t live in California, am I still eligible for benefits?
Yes, where you live does not affect your eligibility. You may still be eligible if your job is based in California and you pay into State Disability Insurance (noted as CASDI on your paystub).
You must be working or looking for work at the time your disability begins. View our complete list of eligibility requirements to learn more. If you aren’t sure if you’re eligible, file a claim anyway.
Yes. If all of your employers take State Disability Insurance (SDI) out of your paychecks, your Disability Insurance benefits will reflect all jobs. This will be listed as CASDI on your paystubs. Report all employment on your application form when you apply by listing the name, address, telephone number, and last day you worked for each employer.
Do I have to be working at my job for a certain amount of time to be eligible for disability benefits?
No. Eligibility is based on the earnings shown in your base period. Your base period is wages you earned 5 to 18 months before your disability claim begins. To learn more, use our DI/PFL calculator to create a general estimate. You must have at least $300 in wages in your base period, and they must have been subject to the SDI tax deduction (withholding). If you think you are eligible for disability, file a claim.
I’m a farmworker who became disabled during the off-season. Am I eligible for Disability Insurance benefits?
Legal precedent has determined that certain seasonal workers may be eligible for Disability Insurance benefits if their disability starts in the off-season and they have not left the labor market. If you think you are eligible for disability benefits, file a claim and EDD will determine your eligibility for benefits.
As a farmworker, pesticide exposure presents a risk to my baby or my health during pregnancy. Can I file for Disability Insurance benefits?
Yes. Health care providers may certify a patient as disabled for State Disability Insurance benefits if the patient’s job requirements pose a danger to the health of a pregnant patient or the fetus. If your licensed health professional finds that it is not medically safe for you to perform your normal or usual work due to exposure to pesticides, you can apply for disability.
No. You cannot receive Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time.
You cannot certify for disability while also certifying for UI. You must choose the program that best applies to you.
No. The State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
There are two exceptions:
- If your employer or a majority of employees in your company apply for approval of a Voluntary Plan in place of SDI coverage. For more information visit: Voluntary Plan Information.
- If you adhere to the faith or teaching of a bona fide religious sect, denomination, or organization whose creed, tenets, or principles require dependence on prayer for healing you may request an exemption. Complete and mail the Religious Exemption Certificate (DE 5067) to the address on the form. If you are granted this exemption, you will not be eligible to receive SDI benefits.
Some government workers, including school employees, may be eligible for Disability Insurance benefits. To find out, review your collective bargaining contract. If you have wages from another employer in your base period, you may be eligible even though your current employer doesn’t participate in State Disability Insurance. If you aren’t sure if you’re eligible, file a claim anyway.
School employees are not eligible for Disability Insurance benefits if:
- Full wages were or will be paid to the employee during the contract period when services were performed.
- A period of disability overlaps with a school break and the employee is not scheduled to work, does not have a history of working during the break, or does not have an additional employer.
- The disability period extends through the school break period.
However, if the employee is not receiving wages but would have been working for extra income if not disabled (such as teaching summer school classes, tutoring, or other secondary job), then the employee may be eligible for benefits to replace the additional income.
Yes. Elective and cosmetic surgeries are covered by Disability Insurance. Your licensed health professional must certify that you are unable to do your normal or usual job duties because of the surgery.
Can I receive benefits if my employer is going to pay me vacation, sick, or holiday pay during my claim?
Vacation Pay: Yes, you can receive Disability Insurance (DI) benefits at the same time.
Sick Pay: You cannot receive DI benefits for any period that you also receive sick leave wages that are equal to your full salary. If you receive only partial sick leave wages, you may be eligible for full or partial DI benefits. The first seven days of your DI claim is a non-payable waiting period. Any type of wages paid by the employer during the waiting period do not conflict with DI benefits.
Other Pay: All other pay, including holiday pay, must be reported to confirm your eligibility. The first seven days of your DI claim is a non-payable waiting period. Any type of wages paid by the employer during the waiting period do not conflict with DI benefits.
You may qualify for up to 30 days of Disability Insurance benefits if you are living at an approved residential alcohol rehabilitation facility that a licensed health professional recommends. The facility must be licensed and certified by the state in which the facility is located.
An additional 60 days may be paid if you remain a resident of the facility and your licensed health professional continues to certify to your need for continuing residential services.
Can I get Disability Insurance if I go to a drug rehabilitation facility recommended by my licensed health professional?
You may qualify for up to 45 days of Disability Insurance benefits if you live at a licensed health professional-approved drug-free residential rehabilitation facility. The facility must be licensed and certified by the state in which the facility is located.
An additional 45 days may be paid if you remain a resident of the facility and your licensed health professional continues to certify to your need for continuing residential services.
A judge said I didn’t have to go to jail if I entered a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center. Can I receive benefits for the time I spend there?
No, you cannot receive Disability Insurance benefits if you are in a rehabilitation center because of a criminal violation. These restrictions include federal, state, or other city penal institutions, jails, medical facilities, or public or private hospitals.
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 and manage your claim in SDI Online.
Find DI Information for You
Can’t find what you are looking for? View these resources for more information.