The California State Disability Insurance or SDI is a partial wage replacement insurance plan for California workers. This SDI program is mandated by the state and is funded through employee payroll deductions.
SDI program provides affordable and short-term benefits to eligible workers who are suffering from a loss of wages due to unfortunate circumstances of non-work related illness or injury, or a medical disability from pregnancy or childbirth resulting to inability to work.
The majority of employees in California, which is about 12 million workers, are covered by State Disability Insurance program. However, some employees are exempt from SDI such as railroad employees, some employees of non-profit agencies, employees who claim religious exemptions, and most of government employees.
There are also four more other states that offer the same State Disability Insurance program, with each state operates its program independently, namely Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii. If you are living within those states, you can contact your local Employment Development Department Office.
The benefits of California State Disability Insurance coverage include:
* SDI coverage travels with worker. In other words, the coverage of this program is not dependent on staying with a specific employer.
* SDI coverage is mandatory for most California workers.
* SDI is non-exclusionary. Therefore, an eligible worker’s coverage can’t be cancelled or denied because of health risk factors, pre-existing medical condition, or hazardous employment.
* SDI may pay up to 52 weeks of benefits with a waiting period of only seven days.
* Payroll deductions for all covered workers are based on the same low contribution rate.
The State Disability Insurance Branch of the California Employment Development Department or EDD administers three kinds of disability insurance plans such as:
State Plan – this is the type of disability insurance plan that most California employees are covered with.
Voluntary Plan – this is a private type of disability insurance plan that is approved by the Director of EDD, which can be substituted for the State Plan. Employees and employee groups may establish Voluntary Plans provided that the majority of employees and the employer agree to do so.
If you are covered by voluntary plan, you can get information about the coverage of this plan and file a voluntary claim through your employer.
Elective Coverage – employers and self-employed individuals, including general partners may elect coverage. But the method of computing benefits for elective coverage participants is different from those employees whose coverage by the State Plan is mandated.
The cost of participating, which is usually set annually, can be gotten from your local EDD Employment Tax Office. Also, individuals in family employment who are not subject to the California Unemployment Insurance Code may also elect coverage at the same rate as employees covered by the State Plan along with the same benefits as the State Plan.
Elective Coverage claims are filed in the same way as State Plan claims. However, there are some differences when it comes to eligibility requirements. If you need more information, you may contact EDD Disability Insurance customer service at 1-800-480-3287 or at EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center toll free number 1-888-745-3886.