State Disability Benefits - Not Available In Every State
Nobody can know whether or not they might be injured in an accident or befallen by some sort of illness, so there's a lot of interest in the types of disability benefits that might be available. On this website, we've got quite a lot of infomation regarding federal forms of disability benefits, whether in the USA or other countries. However, there are a number of states in the US that offer state disability benefits.
At the time of this writing, it appears the states offering their own disability insurance program are Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and California. We'll concentrate on the specifics of the California program in this article. The plans in the other states are operated in a similar manner, but please check with the appropriate authorities for specifics should you feel you qualify for RI, HI, NJ or NY disability benefits.
The program, called State Disability Insurance (SDI) provides benefits to workers who are unable to work due to a medical condition not connected to work, including pregnancy. It's funded via payroll deductions, and benefits are available to most workers, with the exception of government and railroad employees, employees of certain non-profit groups, and any workers who have claimed a religious exemption. It can pay benefits for as long as one full year with a seven day waiting period.
Some other provisions of the State Disability Insurance program:
Coverage can't be denied because of preexisting medical conditions, hazardous working conditions, or health risk factors. This provision is called non-exclusionality.
All covered employees have payroll deductions withheld at the same rate.
Coverage does not require the worker to stay with the same employer, and is mandatory for all workers who are not specifically excluded as noted above, or who have not qualified for one of the alternate plans noted below.
Self employeed individuals may elect to be covered by the program by paying into the plan at the same rate as those having the deductions withheld from their paychecks.
What exactly qualifies as 'disabled' for state disability benefits? California SDI uses the Social Security Administration's definitions of disability, paraphrased to the following - inability to perform any substantially gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. The condition must be expected to last for more than twelve months or result in the applicant being deceased.
There are two other types of state disability benefits available in CA. The first is called the Voluntary Plan, which can be substituted for the SDI plan if an employer and the majority of his employees agree. These plans are administered by the employer. The second alternative plan is called Elective Coverage, which is a plan that mainly covers self-employed individuals. There are some specific requirements that must be fulfilled in order to choose either of these alternative plans.