How to Apply for Long-Term Disability in California

How to Apply for Long-Term Disability in California
••• man in wheelchair image by jimcox40 from

If you are out of work for a non-industrial related injury, illness, mental impairment or because of pregnancy, you may be eligible for California State Disability Insurance. Since you’ve been working, you have probably seen deductions on your paycheck for State Disability, which go into a common disability fund which will be able to pay you for your disability now that you are no longer working. The process is quite simple if you follow the rules.

Check that you meet eligibility requirements for disability insurance in the state of California. The full list can be found at the Employment Development Department on the California government website. Requirements include prior employment from which State Disability was deducted, a documented inability to do that work for at least eight days consecutively, and ongoing treatment by a doctor or accredited religious professional.

Choose the date to file your claim. Your disability benefit is calculated using your “base period,” which is a one-year period beginning approximately five months before your disability claim begins and includes all eligible wages paid to you during this one-year period. Wages are considered eligible if State Disability Insurance was deducted. Your benefit will be 55 percent of your weekly earnings, based on your highest earning quarter within the base period, up to the maximum benefit amount which was $987 per week in 2010.

Complete the employee section of the Disability Claim form found on the Employment Development Department website or in your local Disability Insurance office.

Ask your doctor to complete the Doctor’s Certification portion of the Disability Claim Form. If you are under the care of an accredited religious practitioner, get a copy of the Practitioner’s Certificate from the website or your local Disability Insurance office, have him complete and sign this form and include it with your claim form. If you are already receiving temporary Worker’s Compensation benefits, you may skip this step.

Sign the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization at the end of your Disability Claim form.

Mail your completed claim form to the nearest Disability Insurance office. You must wait at least nine days after you become disabled, but no longer than 49 days before filing your claim.


  • Disability benefit checks are sent through the US mail. If you do not have a USPS mailbox or P.O. box, you must specify that it is a private mail box using the letters PMB before the rest of the address.