Disability Insurance Eligibility Requirements
Am I Eligible for Disability Insurance Benefits?
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.
In order to be eligible for DI benefits, you must:
- Be unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight days.
- Have lost wages because of your disability.
- Be employed or actively looking for work at the time your disability begins.
- Have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during your base period. Learn more with Calculating Benefit Payment Amounts.
- Be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician/practitioner or accredited religious practitioner within the first eight days of your disability. The date your claim begins can be adjusted if it does not meet this requirement. You must remain under care and treatment to continue receiving benefits.
Complete and submit your Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) on time. 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.
If you have a good reason for filing late, please provide that explanation when you file your claim so the claims analyst can review your information to make a determination.
Have your physician/practitioner complete the medical certification portion of your disability claim.
- A nurse practitioner may certify to a disability within their scope of practice.
- 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 may download and print the Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits-Religious Practitioner’s Certificate (DE 2502) (PDF).
A note for misclassified workers: If you think your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, you should still apply for DI and let us decide your eligibility.
- Citizenship and immigration status do not affect eligibility.
- Your employer will be notified that you have submitted a DI claim. However, your medical information is confidential and will not be shared with your employer.
- School employees are not eligible for DI benefits when receiving full wages or for school break periods unless they normally work another job during the school break for extra income. Visit Disability Insurance – Eligibility FAQs or Contact DI for more information.
Note: An independent medical examination to determine your initial or continuing eligibility may be required.
If you think you’re eligible for disability benefits, you’ll want to file a claim to apply.
To learn more about Disability Insurance, review the following:
Paid Family Leave
If you or a family member takes time off work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner, either of you may be eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits.