If you lose your job in California, you may apply for unemployment insurance benefits. However, if you lost your job because you are temporarily unable to work, you may receive State Disability Insurance instead. Once your disability ends, you can return to work. However, you might wonder if you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits while you search for employment.
California SDI is available for individuals who can't work because of a disability or other physical condition, such as pregnancy, for at least eight days. To qualify for benefits, you must have been employed or actively searching for employment when the condition began, and you must have earned at least $300 insured under the program. You can receive SDI benefits for up to 52 weeks. Your weekly benefit will usually be 55 percent of your weekly pay during the highest quarter of your base period.
To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits in California, you must be physically able and available for work. You must have a minimum amount of insured earnings in your base period, and you must be unemployed or earning reduced wages. In most cases, you must show that you weren't the cause of your unemployment, and you must demonstrate that you are actively looking for a job.
To receive SDI, you must be unable to work. Since you must be available for work to collect unemployment insurance benefits, you can't receive payment from both programs at the same time. However, once you are able to work and you are no longer receiving SDI, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits while you look for a job. If approved, you will receive benefits equal to a percentage of your earnings prior to becoming disabled.
To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must show that you aren't at fault for your unemployment. If you willingly quit your job prior to receiving SDI, the unemployment office may require you to complete a telephone interview before it will make a decision on your case. During this interview, you must prove that your disability forced you to quit your job. You must also prove that your condition is resolved and you are now able to work.