Disability Insurance Claim Process

Disability Insurance (DI) provides short-term wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers.

Follow These Steps

You must be eligible to receive DI benefits. Some requirements are:

  • You aren't able to do your regular work for at least eight consecutive days.
  • You've lost wages because of your disability.
  • You're employed or actively looking for work at the time your disability began.
  • You're being treated by a licensed health professional.

View the complete list of eligibility requirements.

Note: Citizenship and immigration status do not affect eligibility.

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You have two options to file for DI benefits. You can file your claim using SDI Online (recommended) or by submitting the Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) by mail.

For more information, review:

Note: The EDD will not process your claim until your application is properly completed.

Your Claim Start Date

To be eligible for benefits, you must be losing wages because your disability is preventing your regular work. This means you're not working or you're working reduced hours.

The first day you can't do your regular work because of your disability is the date your disability begins. You may not change the start date of your claim or adjust your base period after establishing a valid claim. A valid claim means there are still wages in your base period. 

Important: The base claim period for a pregnancy disability claim and the resulting weekly benefit amount is the same one that will be used for the following Paid Family Leave bonding claim for new mothers.

If you have any questions about your claim start date, contact DI at 1-800-480-3287 before filing your claim.

When to File Your Claim

You can file your claim on the first day of your disability, but to avoid creating delays on your claim, losing benefits, or having your claim disqualified, you should file your claim:

  • No earlier than nine days after your disability begins.
  • No later than 49 days after your disability begins.

Note: If you have a good reason for filing late, include a letter to explain your reasons when you file your claim so the claims analyst can review your information to make a determination.

Choose your payment option when you file your claim:

  • Direct deposit (SDI Online claims only)
  • Debit card
  • Check

Your licensed health professional must certify to your disability by completing and submitting the medical certification using either SDI Online or the DE 2501 Part B – Physician/Practitioner’s Certificate of the paper claim form. It is your responsibility to have your licensed health professional complete and sign the certification and submit it to us within 49 days from the date your disability begins so you don't lose benefits or have your claim disqualified.

  • A nurse practitioner may certify to a disability within their scope of practice; however, they must perform a physical examination and collaborate with a physician or surgeon.
  • A licensed midwife, nurse-midwife, or nurse practitioner may complete the medical certification for disabilities related to normal pregnancy or childbirth.
  • If you are under the care of an accredited religious practitioner, you can download and print the Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits-Religious Practitioner’s Certificate (DE 2502) (PDF) for them to complete.

Note: Your claim is not complete until your licensed health professional completes a medical certification.

Once we receive your completed claim application, we will determine your eligibility. You can expect this process to take up to 14 days.

Note: Processing time may vary depending upon the claim. If your claim is incomplete or requires additional information, confirming eligibility can be delayed.

During this time, we will send you a Notice of Computation (DE 429D) to inform you of your potential weekly benefit amount based on the wages you earned in your base period.

Note: Receiving this notice does not confirm your eligibility to receive DI benefits.

Eligible for Benefits
If you are eligible for benefits, we will send you an Electronic Benefit Payment Notification (DE 2500E) with information about your first benefit payment.

Before you receive benefits, you must serve an unpaid seven-day waiting period (calendar days). The first payable day is the eighth day of the claim.

Review the DI Benefits and Payments FAQs for more information.

If We Can't Determine Your Eligibility

We'll contact you by phone or mail for more information. We may also need to contact your employer or licensed health professional.

Not Eligible for Benefits
If you are not eligible, we will send you a Notice of Determination (DE 2517) and an Appeal Form (DE 1000A). You have the right to appeal any decision by completing the DE 1000A electronically or by mail within 30 days of the date your form was issued.

Continue Benefits

If You’re Receiving Automatic Payments
If you are on automatic payment, we will send you a Disability Claim Continuing Eligibility Certification (DE 2593) after 10 weeks of payment. You must return this form to us to certify that your disability continues. If you do not return the DE 2593, your benefits will stop.

If You’re Not Receiving Automatic Payments
If you are not on automatic payment, we will send you a Claim for Continued Disability Benefits (DE 2500A) every two weeks to certify that your disability continues. If you do not return the DE 2500A, your benefits will stop.

The quickest way to submit the DE 2593 or DE 2500A is through SDI Online.

Extend Your Benefit Period If You Have Not Recovered
You may be eligible to receive benefits through the return-to-work or recovery date your physician/practitioner provides us. With your final payment, we will mail you a Physician/Practitioner’s Supplementary Certificate (DE 2525XX).

If you have not fully recovered and want to continue benefits, you must have your physician/practitioner complete the DE 2525XX and return the form to us to certify your continuing disability. Your physician/practitioner may complete and submit the DE 2525XX using SDI Online or by mail.

Discontinue Benefits

Stop Benefits If You Have Recovered or Returned to Work
If you recover or return to work on the date your physician/practitioner provided to us, no further action is required to stop your claim.

If you have been approved to go back to work before the physician/practitioner’s estimated date of recovery, complete one of the following:

  • The Disability Status section of the Claim for Continued Disability Benefits (DE 2500A).
  • The Recovery or Return to Work Certification portion of the Notice of Automatic Payment (DE 2587).
  • Question 1 of the Disability Claim Continuing Eligibility Questionnaire (DE 2593).
  • Use the Claim Update function on SDI Online.

If you previously recovered or returned to work and became ill or injured again, immediately file a new claim form (DE 2501) and report the dates you worked.

Register for myEDD

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

Find DI and PFL Information for You

Additional Resources

Can’t find what you are looking for? View these DI and PFL resources for more information.