FAQs – Voluntary Plan

My employer told me I was not eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits because I belong to a Voluntary Plan (VP). What is that?
California law allows your employer to offer you a voluntary disability plan in place of SDI coverage. Your VP must provide all the benefits of SDI, at least one benefit that is better than SDI, and it cannot cost you more than SDI does.

How can I find out if my employer offers a VP or if I am covered by SDI? If I am covered by a VP, how do I file a claim?
Contact your employer’s personnel or benefits office.

I just received a notice that you are referring my claim for SDI benefits to a VP. Why? How long do I have to wait?
Your claim for SDI benefits was referred to a VP because there is a question of who your disability provider is. The VP carrier has 25 days to respond to our referral. We will contact you after we receive their response, but we cannot pay you benefits during the interim period.

My VP stopped paying me benefits. Can SDI pay me now?
No. You are covered for disability insurance benefits under the VP, and SDI will not pay.

My employer’s VP said I was not covered by them. What should I do?
If your employer’s VP advises you that you are not covered by them, they will refer your claim for disability benefits to SDI. Check with your employer to ensure your claim was referred.

My employer’s VP said I was covered, but denied my disability benefits. What can I do?
If your VP denies benefits and you disagree with the denial, you have the right to appeal the decision and have a hearing before an impartial Administrative Law Judge. To file an appeal, send SDI a detailed letter stating why you think the VP denial is incorrect. Be sure to print and sign your name on the appeal letter, and include your social security number, address, and telephone number. SDI will file the necessary appeal documents with the California Unemployment Insurance Office of Appeals but will not pay SDI benefits in the interim, nor attend the appeal hearing. It is important for you to attend your appeal hearing.

I am covered by a VP, but I received a State Notice of Computation from SDI. Why? Is this the weekly amount I am going to receive?
State Disability Insurance provides this information to you and your employer to assist in determining your wages and benefit amount. The benefit amount listed on the State Notice of Computation shows the minimum amount your employer’s plan must pay you.

I filed a claim with my employer over a month ago and still have not heard anything. What can I do?
Contact your employer or agent to find out the reason for the delay. If you feel the reason is unsatisfactory, you can file an appeal for presumed denial of benefits. Contact SDI for help with your appeal.

I work for two employers. One has a VP coverage and the other has SDI coverage. Can I receive disability benefits from both SDI and the VP?
Yes. If you are working for two different employers at the time of your disability, with one employer carrying SDI and the other a VP, you can receive simultaneous coverage. Both companies are equally responsible for paying a portion of your disability benefit.

I am currently covered by a VP. Can I change coverage to SDI?
Yes. Contact your employer’s VP representative or benefits department for information on transferring coverage to SDI.

I am an employer and am interested in establishing my own VP. Where can I get more information?
Contact the Voluntary Plan Unit at 916-653-6839.

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