FAQ - Workers’ Compensation

Show All | Hide All

Disability Insurance (DI) is a component of the SDI program. DI pays a weekly benefit for non-work-related injuries or illness for a short term period. The DI program is funded by California workers. Workers pay into the DI Program through payroll deductions.  

Workers’ compensation benefits are paid by employers. Workers’ compensation helps workers when their injury or illness is work-related and may include temporary and permanent disability benefits, medical coverage, and job retraining.

You can file a DI claim, but in most cases you cannot be paid both workers’ compensation and DI benefits for the same period of time except in limited situations. For example, we may pay interim benefits if your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier denies or delays payment, or we may pay the difference in weekly benefit rates if your workers’ compensation benefits are less than your DI benefits. If SDI pays you benefits while your workers’ compensation case is pending, we will file a lien to recover those benefits from your employer/workers’ compensation insurer when you resolve your workers’ compensation case.

Your physician/practitioner may be able to help you determine if the cause of your disability is work-related. If you believe you have a work-related disability, you must report it to your employer and have your physician/practitioner submit a medical report to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. For more information, visit the Department of Industrial Relations FAQs.

The WCAB is a state agency that has the authority to resolve workers’ compensation claim issues between injured workers and their employer. If you, your employer, or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier disagree over issues related to your injury claim, contact the WCAB for assistance. A WCAB judge will hear your side and your employer’s side of the issue and make a decision regarding your case. The Information and Assistance Unit at the WCAB can provide more information about the appeal process and your right to file an appeal.

If you have or expect to receive a SJDB retraining voucher as part of your workers compensation benefit, you can still apply for DI benefits. Using your SJDB retraining voucher will not prevent you from qualifying for DI benefits.

In most cases, you cannot receive DI benefits for the same period you are receiving Temporary Disability or Permanent Disability benefits from your employer or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. However, there are exceptions. For example, if your workers’ compensation weekly benefit is less than your DI weekly benefit, you could receive the difference between the two rates. Contact SDI for further information.