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Base Period

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The yearlong period that SDI uses to determine your regular wages. It starts around 17 months before your disability and ends around 5 months before then. Your base period is divided into 4 quarters, and the quarter with the highest wage is used to determine your benefit amount.

Benefit (California State Disability Insurance - SDI)

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Weekly income replacement that generally lasts a maximum of 52 weeks. Benefits based on self-employment elective coverage are generally paid for a maximum of 39 weeks.

Payments are based on an individual’s income during the SDI program’s base period, which is prior to the onset of disability.

Benefits Planner

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A trained expert who can help you understand and apply for benefit programs. Their goal is to help you develop a plan for your future and organize your financial life to run as smoothly as possible.
  • For questions about work and your Social Security benefits, use Social Security's "Find Help" tool to locate a WIPA project near you. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 / 1-866-833-2967 (TTY/TDD). The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) also has Work Incentives Planners (WIPs).
  • If you need assistance with your Medicare, the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program can help. HICAP provides free information and counseling to people with Medicare. You can call HICAP at 1-800-434-0222 or visit the HICAP website.
  • If you need assistance with Medi-Cal and have a disability, you can contact Disability Rights California at 1-800-776-5746 or visit their website. You may also be able to get help with Medi-Cal from a local legal aid organization. The Health Consumer Alliance website has a lot of useful information about Medi-Cal, including a web page that can direct you to a local legal organization for assistance.
  • If you have questions or need assistance with a program or benefit not listed here, contact an Independent Living Center. Independent Living Centers provide peer support and information on a wide range of topics for people with disabilities.

Disability (Definition used by California State Disability Insurance - SDI)

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Any illness or injury which prevents an individual from doing their regular or customary work. SDI includes disabilities resulting from elective surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The disability must be verifiable by a medical provider. The SDI program may require some applicants to undergo an Independent Medical Examination to determine disability status.

Elective Coverage

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Optional State Disability Insurance (SDI) for the self-employed. Individuals must pay premiums based on self-employment taxes. Unlike SDI for employees, elective coverage generally provides income replacement benefits for a maximum of 39 weeks.

Gross Income

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Your earned income (before taxes and other deductions are made) plus your unearned income.

Integration

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The adjustment of payments when an individual is eligible for more than one benefit program.

Medical Provider (SDI)

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The person who provides a medical certification of a disability. They can be a licensed physician, surgeon, U.S. government medical office, osteopathic physician, chiropractor, podiatrist, optometrist, dentist, designated psychologist, nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner, midwife, or accredited religious practitioner.

Overpayment

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Payment that exceeds the approved benefit amount.

Premium (General)

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A regularly scheduled payment to an insurer or health care plan.

Retroactive Payments

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Payments made for the period between disability onset and application approval.

State Disability Insurance (SDI)

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A California program that replaces some of your income when you can't work because of a non-work related disability.

Workers' Compensation

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A program that replaces income and provides for medical treatment when you can't work because of on-the-job injuries.