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California State Disability Insurance

California state disability insurance (SDI) is a program that provides inexpensive, short-term monetary benefits to workers who experience a decrease in income after the occurrence of a disability. This disability must be a non work-related illness or injury or a medically disabling situation from pregnancy or childbirth. SDI pays benefits that replace part of the disabled individual’s wages, paid every other week, and is a state-mandated program so most of the employees of California are covered under the program. A few exceptions who are not insured with the California state disability program include railroad employees, employees who claim religious exemptions, some employees of non-profit organizations, and most government employees.

To be eligible for the program, you must have paid into the State Disability Insurance fund with a payroll deduction through a California employer. If you are self-employed, you may participate by paying into elective coverage. To receive the full fifty-two week benefit, or thirty-nine for the self-employed, you must have paid into the State Disability Insurance fund for a minimum of eighteen months. Individuals who have paid into the State Disability Insurance fund for more than six months and less than eighteen months may be eligible to receive benefits for shorter periods of time.


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