One reason for denied Social Security disability claims is because applicants get better in less than 12 months. But if you live in one of the five states listed below, you can apply for short-term or temporary disability benefits. That’s because they have their own state disability benefit programs that cover workers who qualify. Learn the eligibility requirements, how to apply, payment amounts and much more below.
How California’s State Disability Program Works
The California State Disability Insurance program, or SDI, helps people unable to work for up to one year. However, you must either work for an eligible employer or be self-employed and have elective insurance coverage to qualify. Basically, California residents pay into the SDI program through their payroll tax deductions. If an illness or injury that’s not work-related makes you stop working for weeks or months, SDI should cover you. Learn the program’s eligibility requirements, how long payments last and average dollar amounts below.
Medical Qualifications for SDI Benefits in California
Did you earn at least $300 working in California and pay regular payroll taxes within the last 12 months? That’s step one to qualifying for SDI. Step two involves having an eligible medical reason to file your claim, such as:
- Pregnancy leave
- Childbirth (as well as its related health conditions)
- Recovering from an elective surgical procedure
- Any mental or physical medical problem that stops you from completing your customary job duties as expected
Your disability can come from an injury, illness or combination of health problems. As long as your doctor thinks it will last less than one year and isn’t permanent, SDI should cover it. Before you apply for SDI, your doctor must first complete a Physician/Practitioner Certification form.
How Californians Can Apply for SDI
There’s a fairly small window of time when you can apply for state disability benefits in California. Your disability must prevent you from working for at least eight days to qualify for SDI. However, your deadline to apply for state disability passes just 49 days after your condition begins. If you wait until day 50 or later to apply, then you cannot qualify for SDI. You also can’t apply for SDI if you’re not currently working or looking for a job when you become disabled. Here’s how to file your SDI claim:
- Online through the state’s Benefits Programs Online portal.
- Using a paper Claim for Disability Insurance (DI) Benefits form.
Applying online is fast, free and easy, plus you can check your claim status 24/7. Otherwise, call 1-800-480-3287 to get a paper application mailed to your home.
California SDI Payment Amounts, When They Begin & How Long You Can Receive Them
In general, California state disability pays anywhere from $50 per week up to $1,540 (maximum benefit for 2022). But how can you tell the amount your SDI benefit will be before you apply? The California state disability insurance program pays 60%-70% of your typical wages before you stopped working. In addition, your SDI payments can start as soon as 24 hours after your claim’s approved. If approved, you’ll get SDI benefits for up to:
- 52 weeks if you work for someone else (an eligible employer operating in California)
- 39 weeks if purchased elective SDI coverage because you’re self-employed
What’s more, you can work part-time while receiving SDI payments!
How Hawaii’s State Disability Program Works
Since 1969, Hawaii residents unable to work due to illness or injury have been able to apply for state disability. These state disability benefits come from a program called Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI). Applicants must meet all the following eligibility requirements before filing their claim:
- Earn at least $400 while working during the 12-month period before becoming disabled
- Employed in Hawaii at least 20 hours/week for 14 weeks prior to filing a TDI claim
- In current employment or working during the two-week period immediately before your illness or injury date
In addition, you can satisfy these requirements working for several different Hawaii employers. You don’t have to work all 14 weeks back-to-back, either (just over the same one-year period).
Who Can’t Apply for Hawaii State Disability?
Hawaii’s revised laws exempt some workers and situations from drawing short-term state disability benefits. These include:
- Federal employees
- Commission-only agents working in real estate or insurance
- Some domestic workers (i.e., housekeepers, nannies)
- Anyone currently receiving unemployment, workers’ comp, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Newspaper distribution workers younger than 18
- Certain family employees
- Unpaid interns
- Student nurses
- Those who wait more than 90 days after their disability begins to file a TDI claim (without any valid reason)
- You injured yourself on purpose, or while committing a crime
Medical Qualifications for TDI Benefits in Hawaii
The first thing to know is that state disability doesn’t cover work-related illnesses or injuries. So, if that applies to you, file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer instead. Hawaii’s TDI program pays state disability benefits to people with the following medical issues:
- Injuries or illnesses that aren’t work-related and expected to last less than 12 months
- Childbirth and/or pregnancy leave
- Any disability that requires regular treatments from a qualified healthcare provider
You also need a healthcare professional you see regularly to certify your disability, such as:
- Licensed physician
- Advanced practice registered nurse
- Accredited faith-healing practitioner
Remember: To receive the most TDI benefits you qualify for, apply within 90 days after your illness or injury occurs. If you wait more than 26 weeks to file your TDI claim, you won’t qualify for any state disability benefits.
How Hawaiians Can Apply for TDI
First, tell your employer what happened to you and request a copy of Form TDI-45, Claim for TDI Benefits. (You can also contact the State of Hawaii’s Disability Compensation Division to request one.) Once you have that form in hand, within 90 days, you must:
- Fill out Part A, Claimant’s Statement, on your TDI-45 claim form.
- Have your doctor or an advanced practice registered nurse fill out Part C, Doctor’s Statement, to certify your disability.
- Your employer must then complete Part B, Employer’s Statement, on this claim form.
- Finally, mail your form to the employer’s insurance company (get the address from HR or your supervisor).
You cannot download or submit Form TDI-45 anywhere online.
Hawaii TDI Payment Amounts, When They Start & How Long You Can Receive Benefits
Every Hawaii employer’s individual TDI plan determines how much money you’ll get paid each week and for how long. Below are the minimum state disability benefit requirements your employer must meet under current Hawaii law:
- 58% of your average weekly wage amount (rounded up to the next highest dollar)
- Maximum state disability benefit payment is $697/week
- Benefits last no more than 26 weeks during any benefit year
- You must first miss eight consecutive days of work due to illness or injury that isn’t work-related before receiving benefits
Of course, your employer’s plan may list different requirements. To learn which benefit amount, waiting period and how long your payments might last, contact your employer.
How New Jersey’s State Disability Program Works
New Jersey’s state disability program covers anyone working in this state, not just residents. But you must meet the program’s minimum gross earnings and medical eligibility requirements. You can also receive these benefits more than once in the same year. However, these workers cannot apply for state disability benefits:
- Federal employees
- New Jersey residents working out-of-state jobs
New Jersey’s Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance lists these program eligibility requirements:
- You must work for 20 out of 52 weeks in the year before becoming disabled (your “base year”).
- Your minimum wage earnings must be at least $240/week, or $12,000/base year.
- Your illness or injury cannot be work-related, but can include pregnancy and childbirth.
- You cannot receive state disability benefits until the eighth day you’re unable to work.
- Self-inflicted injuries or those from the commission of a criminal act aren’t covered.
New Jersey processes state disability applications in the order they’re received. You must file your state disability claim within 30 days after your illness or injury starts.
Medical Qualifications for NJ TDI Benefits
All New Jersey state disability applicants must receive medical care from a healthcare provider within 10 days after becoming disabled. This is so your doctor can certify your disability exists and how long you’ll be unable to work. There’s no state plan requirement for how often you must see your doctor after that initial treatment. However, the state disability program may occasionally ask you to submit forms proving you’re still unable to work. It’s in your best interest to see a doctor regularly to treat your condition until you start working again. In addition, your disability cannot come from a work-related illness or injury. Basically, the TDI program needs confirmation that you cannot perform your usual job duties, specifically due to your disability.
How New Jersey Workers Can Apply for TDI
It’s easiest to apply for New Jersey state disability benefits online. To get started, create your account on the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website. If you don’t have regular computer access or only use your phone, you can fax or mail your application. Just print the form directly from the state’s website and use the address or fax number that’s listed on it.
NJ TDI Payment Amounts, When They Start & How Long You Can Receive Benefits
Your condition must stop you from working for more than seven days before you qualify for state disability benefits. Once that waiting week passes, you may start receiving payments on the eighth day. However, it all depends on how long the state takes to review and approve your benefits application. In 2022, the maximum payment is $993/week. However, you may get paid less money than that. New Jersey uses your base period’s wage earnings to calculate your actual benefit amount. Once approved, you can receive state disability benefits for no more than 26 weeks (182 days) in any base period.
How New York’s State Disability Program Works
If an off-the-job injury or illness temporarily stops you from working, you can still get state disability benefits. The New York State Disability Benefits Law (DBL) pays cash benefits to eligible applicants. However, you’ll pay Social Security and other withholding taxes on those benefits.
Who’s eligible to apply for New York state disability benefits? Here are the basic requirements:
- You must work 30 days for a covered employer in any calendar year.
- Domestic workers or personal assistants working 40+ hours each week for one employer.
- If you’re laid off or change jobs after working 4+ consecutive weeks for a covered employer, you may still apply within 30 days.
Who Cannot Qualify for New York State Disability Benefits?
- Federal employees, maritime and railroad workers
- Golf caddies
- Minor children working for their parents
- Priests, ministers, rabbis, sextons, Christian Science readers and other religious order members
- Anyone working for a religious or charitable institution in exchange for material aid
- Daytime students in all grades below college working part-time or seasonal jobs
- Nonprofit volunteers that receive no compensation
- Independent contractors, including certain licensed real estate and insurance agents
- Anyone on federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits
Important: You cannot get New York state disability while working.
New York’s Medical Qualifications for Temporary Disability Benefits
The New York DBL doesn’t cover people who cannot work while recovering from elective surgery. That said, the law does provide benefits to pregnant women who become disabled. Medical eligibility requirements for New York state disability benefits include:
- Your injury or illness cannot be work-related or self-inflicted.
- If requested, you must attend a medical exam with a healthcare provider designated by your employer or their insurance carrier. This won’t cost you anything, and they can’t examine you more than once per week. But if you refuse, you may lose your right to New York state disability benefits.
- Your OB/GYN or certified nurse midwife must submit medical reports to confirm a pregnancy-related disability. This usually happens if your disability starts more than 4-6 weeks before or after your due date.
- A doctor must certify your disability and how long it prevents you from working.
- Car accident injuries may also qualify for New York state disability benefits.
How New Yorkers Can Apply for State Disability Benefits
- Download Form DB-450, Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits. You can also ask your employer, their insurance provider or your doctor for a copy of this form.
- Fill out and sign Part A, Claimant’s Statement on Form DB-450, page 1.
- Have your healthcare provider complete and sign Part B, Health Care Provider’s Statement on Form DB-450, page 2.
- Once complete, you must submit Form DB-450 to your employer or their insurance carrier within 30 days. If you wait any longer, you may lose your right to New York state disability benefits.
New York State Disability Amounts, When They Start & Duration of Payments
New York requires a seven-day unpaid waiting period before you qualify for benefits. Then, your employer must provide a Statement of Rights Form DB-271S within five days after becoming disabled. Then, it’s up to you to file your claim using Form DB-450 and following the steps outlined above. If approved, your New York state disability benefits can last for up to 26 weeks in any 52-week period. The maximum cash payment amount you’ll receive is $170/week, paid once every two weeks.
Important: You cannot collect New York state disability and unemployment payments at the same time. However, you can collect state disability in addition to regular Social Security retirement benefits.
How Rhode Island’s State Disability Program Works
Rhode Island launched the very first state disability program back in 1942. Luckily, you won’t owe income taxes on your Rhode Island state disability payments. What’s more, you can receive regular work wages, sick leave or vacation pay as well as state disability benefits!
Here’s how to know if you’re eligible to apply for Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefit payments:
- You must have an off-the-job injury or illness that stops you from working for at least seven consecutive days.
- Your employer must have TDI coverage.
- You must have a medically certified disability.
- In 2022, you must earn at least $14,700 working for a Rhode Island employer the year before becoming disabled.
Medical Qualifications for TDI Benefits in Rhode Island
Your illness or injury cannot be work-related to qualify for Rhode Island state disability. In addition, a Qualified Healthcare Provider (QHP) must certify that you cannot perform your usual work duties. Schedule an in-office exam either seven days before or after your disability begins to meet this medical eligibility requirement. The state may also require an appointment with an impartial medical examiner to confirm your disability qualifies. If you don’t make or keep this scheduled appointment, you might lose your benefits. Lastly, your doctor needs to estimate how long your condition should keep you from working.
Important: You can also file a TDI claim for pregnancy or childbirth-related disabilities. However, you cannot use Rhode Island state disability benefits for maternity leave.
How Rhode Islanders Can Apply for TDI
You can either apply for temporary state disability benefits online or by mail. For both options, visit the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s website. You must file your claim within 90 days of your first week unemployed due to illness or injury. Once you file your TDI application, you’ll receive a medical certification form in the mail. Giving your healthcare provider this form to complete and then submitting it is 100% your responsibility.
Rhode Island TDI Pay Amounts, When They Start & How Long You Can Receive Benefits
It takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks to approve your Rhode Island state disability claim. Once approved, you can collect TDI for up to 30 weeks in any benefit year. Your payment amount depends on how much you earned while working over the five quarters prior to becoming disabled:
- $114 is the minimum weekly TDI benefit
- $978 is the maximum weekly benefit
- You may also receive a dependency allowance up to $10 per eligible child for no more than five children
Important: You cannot receive state disability as well as unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation at the same time. However, you can work part-time or take paid maternity leave and still get TDI benefits.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.