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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Workers’ Compensation

The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and State Disability Insurance (SDI)

Disability Insurance (DI) is a component of the SDI program. DI pays a weekly benefit when an injury or illness is NOT caused by or related to work. The DI benefits are paid for a temporary period of time only. 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 a worker is hurt at work, has an accumulative medical condition due to occupation, or an existing work related medical condition that has become aggravated the worker can file a DI claim, but usually cannot receive both workers’ compensation and DI benefits for the same period of time except in limited situations. For example, DI benefits may be paid if the employer or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier denies or delays workers’ compensation benefits. If the workers’ compensation weekly benefit amount is less than the worker’s DI weekly benefit amount, the worker may be eligible to receive the difference. If SDI does issue benefits while a workers’ compensation case is pending, a lien will be filed to recover those benefits when the workers’ compensation case is settled.

If it is unknown that an injury or illness is work-related, a physician/practitioner may be able to help determine the cause of the disabling condition. If a worker believes that a work-related disability occurred it must be reported to the employer and a physician/practitioner’s medical report must be submitted to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

If an employee, employer, and/or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier disagree over issues regarding a workers’ compensation claim contact the Department of Industrial Relation, Division of Workers’ Compensation for information about the workers’ compensation appeal process and your right to file an appeal.

Information on SDI appeals.