California Unemployment, Disability and Paid Family Leave Insurance Programs

35.2.1.1 Disability Base Period

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35.2.1.1 Disability Base Period

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35.2.1.1 Disability Base Period

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The “Disability Base Period” is determined by the date on which a claim is filed, as follows:

Regular Base Period:

 

If the claim starts in:

The base period is the 12 months that ended the previous:

January, February, or March

September 30

April, May, or June

December 31

July, August, or September

March 31

October, November, or December

June 30

Unemployment Insurance Code section 2610 provides:

“Disability base period,” with respect to an individual who does not have an unexpired benefit year for unemployment compensation benefits, means for disability benefit periods beginning in October, November, or December, the four calendar quarters ended in the next preceding month of June; the disability base period for disability benefit periods beginning in January, February, or March, shall be the four calendar quarters ended in the next preceding month of September; the disability base period for disability benefit periods beginning in April, May, or June, shall be the four calendar quarters ended in the next preceding month of December; the disability base period for disability benefit periods beginning in July August, or September shall be the four calendar quarters ended with the next preceding month of March.

Unemployment Insurance Code section 2611 provides:

“Disability base period,” with respect to an individual who has an unexpired benefit year for unemployment compensation benefits, shall be:

(a) The same as the disability base period in Section 2610 if the individual has sufficient qualifying earnings in that disability base period.

(b) The same as the base period used to establish the benefit year for unemployment compensation benefits if the individual does not have sufficient qualifying earnings in the disability base period in Section 2610.

Once an individual’s wages for the highest quarter have been determined, the charts below should be consulted to find the weekly benefit amount.

The chart can be accessed by going to http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2589.pdf.

Effective January 1, 1983, the code was changed to provide a longer period of time for an individual to establish a claim following termination from work if he or she was unemployed and seeking work during the unemployed period.

Unemployment Insurance Code section 2612 was added, which provides:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 2611, in determining the benefit rights of any person who cannot establish a valid claim pursuant to Section 2652 because he or she is unemployed during the normal disability base period established pursuant to Section 2610, there shall be excluded from the disability base period those quarters during which the person performed no services in employment for 60 days or more and was actively seeking work. For all quarters so excluded there shall be substituted an equal number of quarters immediately preceding the commencement of the normal disability base period. Benefit rights under this section shall terminate for any disability benefit period that begins when the substitution quarters no longer contain sufficient wages to establish a valid claim under Section 2652.

Inasmuch as this program is a state program, and does not involve the federal government, there is only one disability base period, which differs from unemployment which now has two potential Base Periods, as of January 1, 2012.

How Benefit Rates are Determined

The weekly and maximum benefit amounts are based on the wages paid to you during a specific 12-month base period, which is determined by the date your claim begins. Therefore, you should carefully consider when to start your claim, because this may affect your weekly benefit rate, your maximum amount payable, and the period of your benefit eligibility. If you wish your claim to begin at a date later than the date your disability begins, include a written request with your claim form.

Only the wages in your base period that were subject to the disability insurance tax can be used in computing your benefits. The minimum base period earnings needed to qualify is $300. The month in which your claim begins will determine which four consecutive quarters must be used.

EXCEPTIONS: If your claim is determined to be invalid, but you were unemployed and seeking work for 60 days or more in any quarter of your base period, you many be able to substitute wages paid in prior quarters.

In addition, you may be entitled to substitute wages paid in prior quarters to either make your claim valid or increase your benefit amount if during your base period you:

• Were in the military service.

• Received Workers’ Compensation benefits.

• Did not work because of a labor dispute.

If your claim situation fits any of the above circumstances, include specific information with your claim form.

Wage Continuation

Receipt of wages, excluding vacation pay, from an employer while disabled may affect your benefits. Benefits plus wages cannot exceed your regular weekly wage.

 

Benefit Maximums

The maximum amount of benefits is 52 times the weekly rate, but not more than your total base period wages. Exception: For employers and self-employed individuals who elect SDI (State Disability Insurance) coverage, the maximum amount is 39 times the weekly rate.

In addition, benefits are payable only for a limited period to a resident in a state-approved Alcoholic Recover Home or Drug-Free Residential Facility. However, disabilities related to or caused by acute or chronic alcoholism or drug abuse, being medically treated, do not have this limitation.

You May Not Be Eligible for Benefits

• If you are receiving Unemployment Insurance.

• If you leave the labor market prior to becoming disabled.

• If you are incarcerated due to conviction of a crime.

• If your full wages are paid.

• If you are receiving permanent or temporary disability benefits, a maintenance allowance, or a maintenance allowance supplemented by permanent disability for Workers’ Compensation at a weekly rate equal to or greater than the SDI rate. If these benefits for workers’ compensation are paid at a lower rate that your SDI rate, you may be paid the difference.

• For the amount of time a claim is late (without good cause).

• If you made a false statement or failed to report a material fact. (A 30 percent penalty may be assessed if benefits are overpaid because you willfully withheld a material fact or made a false statement.)

• If you failed to attend an independent medical examination when requested. (Fees for such examinations are paid by EDD.)

The California Unemployment Insurance Code provides for penalties of fines, imprisonment, and loss of benefit rights for fraud against the Disability Insurance system.

Weekly Benefit Amount Chart

The following chart gives an example of what the weekly benefit might be based on the highest quarter of earnings in the base period, for disabilities beginning on or after January 1, 2010.

The chart can be accessed by going to http://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2589.pdfhttp://www.edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de2589.pdf

NOTE: For periods of disability beginning on or after January 1, 2010, the new chart published by EDD can be found in the Appendix of this book.

[Author's Note: The chart has not been updated to reflect the increased maximum benefit of $1011.00 for claims filed on or after January 1, 2012. Although the Workers' Compensation maximum disability rate is $1010.50, that amount in the Unemployment Insurance Program is rounded up to $1011.00 pursuant to Unemployment Insurance Code section 1280, which provides that if the benefit amount is not a multiple of one dollar ($1), it must be computed to the next highest multiple of one dollar ($1.) ]

A claim is not valid if total (all four quarters) Disability Base Period wages were less than $300.00. (Unemp. Ins. Code secs. 2652, 2653 and 2655.)

Wages used to establish a valid claim for disability benefits may be used to establish a subsequent claim for disability benefits or unemployment compensation benefits provided such wages were paid in the base period applicable to the subsequent claim. (Unemp. Ins. Code sec. 2703.)

If a claimant was in the military service; received workers’ compensation benefits; did not work because of a trade dispute; or, was unemployed and seeking work for sixty (60) days or more in a quarter during the base period, the claimant may be able as discussed hereafter, to substitute wages paid in prior quarters to make his or her claim valid or increase the benefit amount.