What Is CASDI?

CASDI (sometimes spelled CA-SDI or CA SDI) stands for California State Disability Insurance. It's a short-term disability insurance program for workers in the state of California. The program is funded by state income tax withheld from employees’ paychecks.

Through this short-term disability program, California employees who are temporarily unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy are able to collect weekly tax-free benefits until they can return to work, for a maximum of up to one year.

People on CASDI can collect approximately 60-70% of their average quarterly gross income. Once those who receive CASDI return to work, their benefits payments cease, and they’ll start paying into the program through the standard paycheck deductions again.

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What Is the CASDI Rate?

As of 2021, the State of California Employee Development Department lists the employee CASDI contribution rate as 1.2%, but the maximum contribution is capped at $1,539.58 per employee per year.

People collecting CASDI have a maximum weekly benefit amount of $1,357 and a maximum benefit amount of $70,564.

Is CASDI Refundable?

Unfortunately, CASDI is not refundable, even if you didn’t make a claim for disability payments throughout the year. However, you can deduct your contributions from your total tax liability at the end of the year. This can increase the amount of tax refund you receive, but it’s not a true refund for your unused CASDI contributions.

That said, you may be owed a refund if you ended up paying more than the maximum contribution amount with your automatic deductions from each paycheck. If the amount you paid reached or came in below the maximum contribution amount, you won’t be able to claim any refund.

The easiest way to see whether you’re owed a refund for CASDI is to speak with an experienced accountant. They’ll be able to assess your tax situation and determine whether you’re owed money for excess contributions.

How Is CASDI Calculated?

The CASDI rate is calculated based on an employee’s income. Employees are required to contribute 1.2% of their income to the program. This amount is deducted from each paycheck until employees pay the maximum contribution of $1,539.58.

The rates can change from year to year, so make sure to check current rates before filing a tax return.

If employees end up filing a claim for CASDI, their payment amounts will again be based on the amount of money they earn. CASDI provides approximately 60% of an employee’s paycheck until they’re able to return to work.

To calculate your estimated payouts, multiply your annual income by .06. The sum is roughly what you’ll receive if you use CASDI until you’re able to return to work.

Is CASDI Mandatory?

CASDI is mandatory for all full and part-time employees. The program protects them from unexpected financial strain if they’re injured and unable to return to work in a timely manner.

Though the program is required under California law, companies may opt-out of the program, provided they offer a similar alternative program with their benefits package.

The alternative program must be equivalent or better than CASDI and should cost employees the same or less than state-sponsored insurance. The goal of these plans is to provide better, more comprehensive disability coverage at a lower cost to employees.

Keep in mind that contractors and self-employed individuals are not covered under standard CASDI programs. They are free to pay into the Disability Insurance Elective Coverage (DIEC) to receive similar benefits if they’re unable to work due to injury or disability.

Who Is Eligible for CASDI?

Workers must meet all of the following requirements to receive CASDI benefits:

Failure to meet these qualifications will keep you from being able to claim CASDI. If you believe you are eligible to receive CASDI benefits, you can apply through the State of California Employee Development Department online portal.

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