In California, an individual who is unemployed because of a disabling condition may be eligible for benefits from Social Security disability insurance or state disability insurance. However, some people may meet the requirements for both programs. If you are eligible for SSDI and SDI, you may be able to receive benefits from both programs at the same time.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked a sufficient amount of time at a job covered under the program. You must be totally disabled, unable to return to your old job and unable to perform the tasks required for any other job. You must also show that medical professionals expect your disabling condition to last for at least one year or result in death. If you qualify for SSDI, you will receive monthly payments and medical coverage.
To qualify for SDI, you must be unemployed or unable perform your usual duties for at least seven days because of a disability. If you are still working but can't perform your usual duties, you must have lost wages to qualify. You also must have been working or searching for work at the time you became disabled, and you must have earned a minimum of $300 from an employer who withheld SDI contributions.
As of 2011, you can legally receive benefits from SDI and SSDI at the same time. However, if you are receiving benefits from both programs, you may receive reduced benefits from SSDI. If you qualify for SDI but you believe your condition will last for more than one year, apply for SSDI immediately. You can typically receive SDI for no more than a year, but you can receive SSDI until you are able to return to work.
Even though qualifying for SDI can reduce your benefits from SSDI, many individuals still apply for both programs. Workers typically receive an SDI decision within a few days or weeks, whereas SSDI can take much longer. Dependents of workers who qualify for SDI or SSDI may be eligible for dependent benefits. SDI offers paid family leave to a family member who is caring for the injured worker, and SSDI offers benefits to dependent children and spouses.