California State Disability Insurance (SDI)

The Basics

California State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a short-term public insurance program run by California's Employment Development Department (EDD). SDI pays you about 60-70% of what you used to make at work because you:

  • Have a non-work-related illness or injury. These SDI payments may continue for up to a year.
  • Need to take Paid Family Leave (PFL) to care for a sick relative or to bond with a new child. PFL payments are for up to eight weeks, or
  • Are pregnant. Note: Pregnancy Disability Leave is not covered in this article. If you have questions about it, contact the EDD.

Important: If you are sick due to COVID-19 or caring for somebody who is sick due to COVID-19, you may qualify for SDI or PFL benefits. See EDD's questions and answers about COVID-19 and the state of California's chart of all the different benefits that may help families impacted by COVID-19.

To get SDI, you must have had California SDI taxes (usually 1.1% of your wages) taken out of your pay for a certain period of time. If you've done this, SDI will replace some of the income you’re losing when you can’t work for one of the above reasons.

There are three main ways to be covered by SDI:

  • Most California employees (but not all) are automatically covered under the State Plan.
  • Some employers offer private Voluntary Plans instead (these plans must provide coverage at least as good as the SDI State Plan, plus have at least one feature the State Plan doesn't have). Learn more about Voluntary Plans.
  • If you are self-employed or a business owner, you can pay to get Elective Coverage, which only provides benefits for 39 weeks instead of a full year. Learn more about Elective Coverage.

The rest of this article has more details focusing on the State Plan's SDI and PFL benefits.

Comparing SDI with other programs

State Disability Insurance (SDI) provides short-term benefits if you can't work because of a non-job-related injury or illness. Other programs are sometimes confused with SDI:

Learn more about SDI and Other Programs.

Get Expert Help

DB101 cannot answer questions about your situation. If you have questions about your SDI claim or want to apply for SDI, please contact the EDD.

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