Calculating Disability Insurance Benefit Payment Amounts
Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is approximately 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) of wages earned 5 to 18 months prior to your claim start date up to the maximum weekly benefit amount. You may receive up to 52 weeks of Disability Insurance (DI) benefits. The daily benefit amount is calculated by dividing your weekly benefit amount by seven. The maximum benefit amount is calculated by multiplying your weekly benefit amount by 52 or adding the total wages subject to State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax paid in your base period, whichever is less.
For claims beginning on or after January 1, 2018, weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,216. To qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount ($1,216) you must earn at least $26,325.01 in a calendar quarter during your base period. Your weekly benefit payment amount may vary if you receive other income (such as sick leave pay, paid time off, etc.) while receiving DI benefits from the Employment Development Department (EDD).
Note: Beginning January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 908 (Chapter 5, Statutes of 2016) increases the DI and Paid Family Leave wage replacement rate to approximately 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) and removes the 7-day waiting period for Paid Family Leave. This applies to claims with a start date of January 1, 2018 or after.
Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
Your WBA, which is based on your highest quarter of earnings in the base period, is the amount the EDD determines you will be paid for each week you are unable to work.
In general, to calculate your WBA:
1. Confirm your claim start date.
Your claim begins on the date your disability began. The date the claim begins determines your base period. SDI calculates the weekly benefit amount using your base period (see step 2 below).
You may not change the beginning date of your claim or adjust a base period after establishing a valid claim. If you have any questions about your claim start date, please contact DI at 1-800-480-3287 before filing your claim.
2. Find your base period.
Your benefit amount is based on the quarter with the highest wages earned within the base period. The following explains how to find your base period.
A base period covers 12 months and is divided into four consecutive quarters. The base period includes wages subject to SDI tax which were paid approximately 5 to 18 months before your disability claim began. The base period does not include wages paid at the time your disability begins. For a DI claim to be valid, you must have at least $300 in wages in the base period. The following information may be used to determine the base period for your claim. If a claim begins on or after January 1, 2018:
- January, February, or March, the base period is the 12 months ending last September 30. (Example: A claim beginning February 14, 2018, uses a base period of October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017.)
- April, May, or June, the base period is the 12 months ending last December 31. (Example: A claim beginning June 20, 2018, uses a base period of January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.)
- July, August, or September, the base period is the 12 months ending last March 31. (Example: A claim beginning September 27, 2018, uses a base period of April 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018.)
- October, November, or December, the base period is the 12 months ending last June 30. (Example: A claim beginning November 2, 2018, uses a base period of July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.)
Base Period Example:
Base Period Example: Customer files for disability on June 1st.
Special base period: Under certain circumstances, the law permits substitution of wages paid in quarters prior to the normal base period of a claim in order to make a claim valid. If your current base period was adversely affected by: military service, industrial disability, trade dispute, or long-term unemployment, you are eligible to request a special base period. If your base period meets one of the requirements listed, contact DI at 1-800-480-3287 to verify if you are eligible for the special base period and provide additional information to support your request.
3. Estimate your weekly benefit amount.
The WBA is determined by using the quarter in which you were paid the highest wages in your base period. Refer to the DI and PFL Weekly Benefits Chart for further information.
How your WBA is calculated:
- If your highest quarterly earnings are less than $929, your WBA is $50.
- If your highest quarterly earnings are between $929 and $5,229.98, your WBA is approximately 70 percent of your earnings.
- If your highest quarterly earnings are more than $5,229.98, your weekly benefit amount is approximately 60 percent of your earnings.
For an estimate of your WBA, based on your highest reported quarterly earnings, refer to the Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) Weekly Benefits Amounts (DE 2588) or the Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) Weekly Benefit Amounts in Dollar Increments (DE 2589).
To calculate your approximate WBA, use the PFL Weekly Benefits Calculator. The PFL Benefits Calculator may be used for both PFL and DI claims.
What Affects Your Payments
Under certain circumstances, you may not be eligible for a period of your DI claim or you may be entitled only to partial benefits. All income types must be reported to the EDD even though they may not always affect your benefits. The EDD will determine if benefits must be reduced. In addition, your benefits may be reduced because of a prior Unemployment Insurance, PFL, or DI overpayment or for delinquent court-ordered child or spousal support payments. To avoid overpayment, penalties, and a false statement disqualification you must report all your income to the EDD.
If you have exhausted your available SDI benefits but your disability is continuing, you may want to consider applying for disability benefits through Social Security.
For more information about what can affect your payments, visit the following links: