About Disability Insurance (DI)

En español

Disability Insurance (DI) is a component of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, established in 1946, to provide partial wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers who are unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Approximately 18.7 million California workers are covered by the SDI program. SDI contributions are paid by California workers through employee payroll deductions.

DI does not provide job protection, only monetary benefits; however, your job may be protected through other federal or state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

For more information about the FMLA, visit the Department of Labor or call 1-866-487-2365. For more information about the CFRA, visit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or call 1-800-884-1684

What is Disability?

Disability is an illness or injury, either physical or mental, which prevents you from performing your regular and customary work. Disability also includes elective surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions. Although work-related disabilities are covered by workers’ compensation laws, DI benefits may also be paid for work-related illness or injuries under certain circumstances prescribed by law. Visit workers’ compensation for more information. For more information about filing for DI benefits, visit Disability Insurance Claim Process.

Disability Benefit Payments

Benefits are payable for a maximum of 52 weeks. For claims beginning on or after January 1, 2019, weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,252. 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. For more information, visit Calculating Disability Benefit Payment Amounts.

To receive benefits, you must:

  • File a claim for DI benefits using SDI Online or a paper claim form.
  • Serve a seven-day, non-payable waiting period.
  • Have at least $300 in wages that were subject to SDI contributions during your 12-month base period.
  • Have your physician/practitioner certify to your disability by completing the “Physician/Practitioner Certification”.

You have an option in how you receive your benefit payments. If you are eligible to receive benefits, the Employment Development Department (EDD) issues benefit payments by the EDD Debit CardSM through Bank of America or by check, which is mailed to you from the EDD. You do not have to accept the EDD Debit Card.

Claimants will be able to select their payment option when they file their claim.

EDD DEBIT CARD: If eligible, benefit payments are issued on the EDD Debit Card within 24 hours of processing your certification and immediately available to you.

EDD CHECKS BY MAIL: If eligible, benefit payments are issued by EDD check within 24 hours of processing your certification. Allow 7 to 10 days for delivery of checks in the mail.

To learn more about DI benefits, visit the Disability Insurance Provisions brochure, State Disability Insurance fact sheet, or FAQs.

Note: Beginning January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 908 (Chapter 5, Statutes of 2016) increased the DI and Paid Family Leave wage replacement rate to approximately 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) and removed the 7-day waiting period for Paid Family Leave. This applies to claims with a start date of January 1, 2018 or after.

To request general program information or data about State Disability Insurance, complete the State Disability Insurance Request for Information Form (DE 2541E) and return it to the Employment Development Department using the appropriate email address listed on the form.

Note: Inquiries about individual claims using this form will not be answered.