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Can I get short-term disability after a car accident?

After a car accident, you may struggle financially while you heal from your injuries. It can take time before you can return to work. In the meantime, you may get lucky and be able to take vacation or sick time benefits so you do not lose any pay, but what if this is not an option?

The Employment Development Department explains California offers the option of short-term disability.

State Disability Insurance program

The SDI program provides benefits to people who cannot work because of an injury or illness not affiliated with the job. If you can receive workers’ compensation benefits, you do not qualify for SDI.

The program is taxpayer-funded. Your payroll taxes pay for it, so you are eligible as long as you meet the requirements.

Requirements

Beyond the requirement that your injury must not qualify you for workers’ compensation, you also need to prove that it keeps you from performing your regular job duties. You must have earned at least $300 in the 12 months prior to your accident and those wages must have had SDI deductions.

Benefits

The SDI program only provides pay replacement. You will need to use other programs to protect your job. The Family Medical Leave Act might be an option for job security.

Benefits come at 60 to 70% of your regular pay. The state will calculate that by looking at up to 18 months of past earnings prior to the injury. You can receive the benefits for 52 weeks.

Filing

To file for short-term disability benefits, you need to do it online or through the mail. You must wait seven days before you can receive benefits.

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