Disability Insurance Claim Process

The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program provides short-term Disability Insurance (DI) wage replacement benefits to eligible workers. You may be eligible for DI benefits if you are unable to work and are losing wages because of your own non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.

1. Review Your Eligibility

You must be eligible to receive DI benefits. Some requirements include:

  • Being unable to do your regular work for at least eight consecutive days.
  • Having lost wages because of your disability.
  • Being employed or actively looking for work at the time your disability began.

For a complete list of eligibility requirements, visit Am I Eligible for Disability Insurance Benefits?

You may also be interested in visiting Calculating Disability Benefit Payment Amounts.

If your employer has its own voluntary plan, visit Voluntary Plan.

If you are self-employed or an independent contractor and pay into Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DIEC), visit Eligibility for DIEC.

2. File Your Claim

You may submit a Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) using SDI Online or by mailing a paper application. Claims filed through SDI Online take less time to process. To submit the DE 2501 using SDI Online, you must first complete a one-time registration in Benefit Programs Online (BPO). Visit the BPO login page and select Register to get started.

After you register in BPO, you will also register in SDI Online. Once both registrations are complete, you can log in to BPO and select SDI Online to file your claim. To file your claim online, complete and submit sections one through five of the application.

Note: It may be necessary to send some documents via U.S. mail even if you select electronic communication.

To submit a paper DE 2501 by mail, complete Part A – Claimant’s Statement of the DE 2501 paper claim form. To order a paper DE 2501, visit Online Forms and Publications.

Your claim is not complete until your medical provider completes Part B - Physician/Practitioner’s Certificate of the DE 2501 (step 3). If your form is not properly completed, the EDD will not process your claim until all the information is obtained.

For more information about filing your claim, visit:

Important Information About the Start of Your Claim

The day you became unable to work due to your disability is the day your disability begins. You will need to include that date when you submit your claim.

You may not change the beginning date of your claim or adjust your base period after establishing a valid claim. If you have any questions about your claim start date, contact DI at 1-800-480-3287 before filing your claim.

Submit your claim no earlier than nine days after the first day your disability begins, but no later than 49 days after your disability begins, or your claim is considered to be a late claim and you may lose benefits.

3. Physician/Practitioner Completes a Medical Certification

Your physician/practitioner must certify to your disability by completing and submitting the medical certification portion using either SDI Online or the DE 2501 Part B – Physician/Practitioner’s Certificate of the paper claim form. It is your responsibility to have your physician/practitioner complete and sign the form and submit it to the EDD within 49 days from the date your disability begins or you may lose benefits.

Your claim is not complete until your physician/practitioner completes a medical certification.

4. The EDD Reviews Your Claim and Determines Eligibility

Once a properly completed claim form is received, the EDD usually determines whether or not you are eligible to receive DI benefits within 14 days.

The EDD will send you the Notice of Computation (DE 429D) to inform you of your potential weekly benefit amount based on the wages you earned in your base period. Receiving this notice does NOT confirm that you have been found eligible to receive DI benefits.

Before you receive benefits, you must first serve an unpaid seven-day waiting period (calendar days). The first payable day is the eighth day of the claim.

If you are eligible for benefits you will be sent a benefit payment notification (DE 2500E).

You can choose how you receive your benefit payments when you file your claim. If you are eligible to receive benefits, the EDD can issue benefit payments by check or by the EDD Debit CardSM through Bank of America. You do not have to accept the EDD Debit Card.

EDD Debit Card: If you are eligible for benefits and ask to be paid by debit card, all authorized benefit payments will be deposited to your EDD Debit Card issued by Bank of America.

The same EDD Debit Card is used for DI, Paid Family Leave, and Unemployment Insurance payments. It is valid for three years from the date of issue. If you received benefits in the last three years from any of the EDD programs, your benefits will be deposited on the card previously issued to you. Keep your card until the expiration date of the card has passed.

For more information, visit EDD Debit Card.

EDD Checks by Mail: If you are eligible for benefits and you asked to be paid by check, your benefit payments will be issued by EDD check. Allow 7 to 10 days for delivery of checks in the mail.

You must meet eligibility requirements to receive benefits. If you are not eligible for benefits, the EDD will send you a Notice of Determination (DE 2517) and an Appeal Form (DE 1000A). You have the right to appeal any decision by completing the DE 1000A electronically or by mail within 30 days of the issue date of the disqualification notice. For more information, visit Appeals.

5. Certify for Continued Benefits or Discontinue Benefits

If your claim is on automatic payment, the EDD will send you a Disability Claim Continuing Eligibility Certification (DE 2593) after 10 weeks of payment. You must return this form to the EDD to certify that your disability continues. If you do not return the DE 2593, your benefits will stop.

If you are not on automatic payment, the EDD will send you a Claim for Continued Disability Benefits (DE 2500A) every two weeks to certify that your disability continues. If you do not return the DE 2500A, your benefits will stop.

If you have an SDI Online account, the quickest way to submit the DE 2593 or DE 2500A is through SDI Online.

You are eligible to receive benefits through the return to work or recovery date your physician/practitioner provides to the EDD. With your final payment, the EDD will mail you a Physician/Practitioner’s Supplementary Certificate (DE 2525XX).

If you have not fully recovered and want to extend your disability period to continue benefits, you must have your physician/practitioner complete the DE 2525XX and return the form to the EDD to certify to your continuing disability. Your physician/practitioner may complete and submit the DE 2525XX using SDI Online or US mail.

If you recover or return to work on the date your physician/practitioner provided to the EDD, no further action is required to discontinue your claim.

If you have been approved to go back to work before the physician/practitioner’s estimated date of recovery, complete one of the forms below using SDI Online or the paper form:

  • The Disability Status section of the Claim for Continued Disability Benefits (DE 2500A).
  • The Recovery or Return to Work Certification portion of the Notice of Automatic Payment (DE 2587).
  • Question 1 of the Disability Claim Continuing Eligibility Certification (DE 2593).
  • Use the Claim Update function on SDI Online.

If you previously recovered or returned to work and became ill or injured again, immediately file a new claim form (DE 2501) and report the dates you worked.

For more information on how to continue or extend your benefits, visit Discontinue, Continue, or Extend Your DI Benefits.

Related DI Claim Information