California State Disability Law Overview (SDI)

About The DI Program
California State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a partial wage-replacement insurance plan for California workers. The SDI program is State-mandated, and funded through employee payroll deductions. SDI provides affordable, short-term benefits to eligible workers who suffer a loss of wages when they are unable to work due to a NON WORK-RELATED illness or injury, or a medically disabling condition from pregnancy or childbirth.

The majority of California employees, approximately 12 million workers, are covered by the SDI program. Some employees are exempt from SDI; for example, railroad employees, some employees of non-profit agencies, employees who claim religious exemptions, and most government employees.

Four other states and one Commonwealth offer a disability insurance program. They are Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Each state operates its program independently.

Benefits of California SDI Coverage
  • SDI coverage "travels" with the worker. Coverage is not dependent on staying with a specific employer.
  • SDI coverage is mandatory for most California workers.
  • SDI is non-exclusionary. An eligible worker's coverage cannot be canceled or denied because of health risk factors, pre-existing medical conditions, 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.
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