COVID-19 FAQs: Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefits

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COVID-19 FAQs

Eligibility

If you are unable to work and able to provide a written certification by a state or local health officer that you are infected with, or suspected of being infected with, COVID-19, you are encouraged to file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Most California workers are covered by DI through deductions from their paychecks (noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs).

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Yes, if your quarantine is certified by a state or local health officer. If you are not found eligible for DI, you are encouraged to apply for an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.

For more information, refer to What benefits are available if I am subject to quarantine, am not ill, and am not found eligible for a Disability Insurance claim?

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, you are encouraged to file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to eight weeks, of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. For the purposes of PFL coverage, a family member is defined as seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.

If you are self-employed, you may have benefits available from the EDD employment insurance programs that you or your employer may have paid into over the past 5 to 18 months. You may have contributions from a prior job, or it’s possible you may have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee.

We encourage you to file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim if you are sick or quarantined. If you are caring for an ill or medically quarantined family member, file a Paid Family Leave claim. Our EDD representatives will review your case and determine your eligibility for benefits. For fastest processing of your claim, submit your claim online.

If you believe you are misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you should list the business you contract with as your last employer. Be sure to include:

  • The employer name, phone number, and address.
  • Type of work performed.
  • Dates worked.
  • Your gross wages and how you were paid (such as hourly or weekly).

You may also be eligible for benefits if you pay into Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DIEC). DIEC is an option for self-employed people (such as independent contractors) and employers to apply for coverage under State Disability Insurance (SDI). This includes school district and state employees who are exempt from SDI, but can negotiate to participate in the DIEC. Visit Self-Employed/Independent Contractor to learn more.

You may have benefits available through other insurance programs that your employer have paid into in the past 5 to 18 months. California law allows your employer to offer you a Voluntary Plan option instead of the SDI program. You should check with your employer’s personnel or benefits office about filing a Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave.

You also may have contributions from a prior job in the past 5 to 18 months, or it’s possible you may have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee.

If you believe you are misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you should list the business you contract with as your last employer. Be sure to include:

  • The employer name, phone number, and address.
  • Type of work performed.
  • Dates worked.
  • Your gross wages and how you were paid (such as hourly or weekly).

Benefit Payments

Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. The EDD provides a Disability Insurance Calculator to estimate your potential benefit amount. Disability benefits are paid through the date your doctor certifies or when you exhaust your available benefits, whichever comes first within a 52-week period.

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. You can use the Paid Family Leave Calculator to help estimate your potential benefit amount.

If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Documents and Certification

To be eligible for Disability Insurance (DI) benefits, you must submit certain medical documentation. This requirement can be met by a medical certification signed by a treating physician or a practitioner that includes a diagnosis and ICD-10 code, or if no diagnosis has been obtained, a statement of symptoms; the start date of the condition; its probable duration; and the treating physician’s or practitioner’s license number or facility information. This requirement can also be met by a written order from a state or local health officer that is specific to you.

Telehealth and virtual appointments are acceptable for a physical examination, but medical certifications are still required.

For fastest processing of your claim, submit your claim online and have your supporting medical documentation submitted online immediately after.

You may also request that the EDD send you a Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits (DE 2501) (PDF) form, which can be ordered online and sent to you. Submit the completed form to the EDD using the envelope provided. If your medical documentation is provided in any other form other than EDD’s designated claim form, it should be submitted separately by mail to:

Employment Development Department
PO Box 10402
Van Nuys, CA 91410-0402

To be eligible for PFL benefits, you must submit certain medical documentation regarding the family member in your care who is either ill or quarantined due to COVID-19. This requirement can be met by a medical certification for that person from a treating physician or a practitioner that includes a diagnosis and ICD-10 code, or if no diagnosis has been obtained, a statement of symptoms; the start date of the condition; its probable duration; and the treating physician’s or practitioner’s license number or facility information. This requirement can also be met by a written order from a state or local health officer that is specific to your family member’s situation. Absent those documents from a physician or health officer, you may be eligible for an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim instead.

Learn more about benefits available if you’re not eligible for PFL.

Telehealth and virtual appointments are acceptable for a physical examination, but medical certifications are still required.

For fastest processing of your claim, submit your claim online and have the supporting medical documentation submitted online immediately after.

You may also request that the EDD send you a Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits (DE 2501F) (PDF) form, which can be ordered online and sent to you. Submit the completed form to the EDD using the envelope provided. If your medical documentation is provided in any other form other than the EDD’s designated claim form, it should be submitted separately by mail to:

Employment Development Department
PO Box 45011
Fresno, CA 93718-5011

Yes. Physicians and practitioners are still “seeing” patients when they use virtual platforms. Virtual appointments are acceptable for a physical examination, but medical certifications are still required.