California State Disability Insurance Program
When employees become disabled and unable to work, their jobs might be protected, but they’re often left with no replacement income. To help individuals in this situation, five states provide, or require that employers provide, short-term disability insurance to eligible workers. This benefit pays a percentage of an eligible employee’s income in the event that the employee becomes disabled as a result of an off-the-job injury or illness, including disability due to pregnancy. As this temporary disability insurance covers non-work related injuries, illnesses, or disabilities, it is different than workers’ compensation.
In order to be eligible for benefits, individuals in California must be employed or actively looking for work at the time they become disabled, and they must be unable to do their regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days. If employed, they must have lost wages because of the disability and have earned at least $300 from which deductions were withheld during a previous period.
To receive benefits, individuals must complete and submit a claim form within 49 days of the date they became disabled. Filing can be done online or by mail. Medical certification by a physician or accredited practitioner is required.
Those who qualify for benefits will receive weekly compensation of about 55% of their previous weekly earnings in the highest quarter of the base period. They may collect up to 52 weeks of benefits, generally.
The withholding rate for 2016 is 0.9 percent per pay period, and the maximum to withhold for each employee is $960.68 per year. California allows employers to have a private plan in place of the state plan, but either way employers in the state are required to display specific informational posters about the program.
More information on California’s disability insurance program is available on the state website here.
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