How to Claim Your Benefits from the California State Disability Insurance Office

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got sick or injured and couldn’t work for a while? If you live in California, you may have a solution: the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program.

How would you pay your bills, take care of your family, and cope with the stress?

SDI is a program that provides partial wage replacement to workers who need time off work due to disability or family care.

But how do you claim your benefits from the SDI office? What are the eligibility requirements, the application process, the payment methods, and the claim management tips?

In this article, I will answer all these questions and more, so you can take advantage of this valuable program and get the support you need.

Read on to find out how to claim your benefits from the California State Disability Insurance Office.


What is SDI and Who is Eligible?

SDI is a state-run program that is funded by payroll deductions from employees and employers.

SDI covers most workers in California, except for some public employees, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.

To be eligible for SDI benefits, you must:

  • Have paid into SDI through your wages in the past 5 to 18 months.
  • Have a medical certification from a licensed health care provider that verifies your need for time off work.
  • Have lost wages due to your disability or family leave.
  • Meet the minimum earnings requirement of $300 in the base period (the 12 months before your claim begins).

How to Apply for SDI Benefits?

You can apply for SDI benefits:

  • Online
  • Mail

The online application is faster and more convenient, as you can submit your documents electronically, track your claim status, and receive messages from the SDI office.

To apply online, you need to create an account on SDI Online and follow the instructions to complete your application.

You can also watch tutorials on how to use SDI Online on the EDD website.

If you prefer to apply by mail, you need to obtain and fill out a paper claim form from the SDI office, your employer, your doctor, or the EDD website.

You need to mail your completed claim form and any supporting documents to the address on the form.

You should apply for SDI benefits as soon as you become disabled or need to take family leave, as there is a deadline of 49 days from the first day of your disability or leave to file your claim.

READ MORE: Standard Disability Insurance: Protecting Your Income in Times of Need

How Much and How Long Will You Receive SDI Benefits?

The amount and duration of your SDI benefits depend on your income, your disability or leave type, and your eligibility.

How long will it take to get my benefits in California state disability insurance office?
Photo courtesy: Loyd J Bourgeois, LLC

Generally, you can expect to receive about 60% to 70% of your regular wages, up to a maximum of $1,357 per week (as of 2024). The minimum weekly benefit amount is $50.

You can use the SDI Calculator to estimate your benefit amount.

The length of your SDI benefits varies depending on your medical condition and certification.

For DI benefits, you can receive up to 52 weeks of benefits within 104 weeks.

For PFL benefits, you can receive up to 8 weeks of benefits within a 12-month period.

You can check your remaining benefit balance on SDI Online or by calling the SDI office.

How to Receive Your SDI Payments?

You can choose to receive your SDI payments by debit card or direct deposit.

The debit card option is the default and faster method, as you will receive your card within 7 to 10 days after your first payment is issued.

You can use the card to withdraw cash, make purchases, or transfer funds to your bank account.

One can also enroll in direct deposit by logging into your SDI Online account and providing your bank account information.

You will receive your payments within 24 to 48 hours after they are issued.

How to Manage Your SDI Claim?

You are responsible for managing your SDI claim and keeping the SDI office informed of any changes in your situation. You need to:

  • Continue to submit medical certifications from your doctor to verify your ongoing disability or leave.
  • Report any income or work activity that you receive or perform while on SDI.
  • Notify the SDI office of any change in your address, phone number, or email.
  • Respond to any requests or messages from the SDI office on time.
  • Cooperate with any audits or investigations that the SDI office may conduct to verify your eligibility.

How to Contact the SDI Office?

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about your SDI claim, you can contact the SDI office online, by phone, in person, or by mail.

You can use the Contact SDI page on the EDD website to find the best way to reach the SDI office based on your inquiry type.

You can also visit the Office Locator page to find the nearest SDI office to your location.

The SDI office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time), Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.


SDI is a valuable program that can help you cope with the financial and personal challenges of being unable to work due to disability or family care.

By following the steps and tips outlined in this article, you can apply for and receive your SDI benefits from the California State Disability Insurance Office with ease and confidence.

We hope this article was helpful and informative for you. If you liked it, please share it with your friends and family who may also benefit from SDI. Thank you for reading.

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