What happens to my state disability insurance (SDI) benefits if my baby is overdue? 

Pregnancy is beautiful, pregnant women are goddesses, pregnant bodies are perfect…yada yada yada. It’s all unicorns and rainbows until you get to around 38 weeks and you feel more like this…

Only about 4-5% of babies are born on their actual due date, so the chance of delivering past 40 weeks is totally common and normal. As you begin thinking about when to start your maternity leave – and so much of that is based around the expected due date – let’s discuss what happens to your state disability insurance (SDI) in the event your baby decides to take his/her sweet time entering this world.

In California, you are eligible for state disability insurance (SDI) for 4 weeks before your due date, and then 6 to 8 weeks after the actual birth of your baby (6 weeks for vaginal birth and 8 weeks for cesarian birth). Through SDI, you’ll be paid around 55% of your wages. Read here for the full rundown on maternity leave, job protection, and pay while on leave.

If you decide to start your leave at 36 weeks and your baby is born a week late at 41 weeks, your SDI situation won’t be affected one bit since there’s a mandatory 7-day unpaid “waiting period” before SDI kicks in. You’ll basically be on leave for 5 weeks before the baby actually arrives, but since that first week is unpaid, you’ll still get SDI for the full 4 weeks.

Now, what about if you are overdue by 2 weeks? Gasp! Will you still receive SDI benefits up until your baby is born even if it goes beyond 4 weeks? You betcha! As long as you are still certified as “disabled” by your doctor (SDI considers pregnancy a condition that can prevent you from working) you will still receive benefits. If you don’t hear from the EDD (the folks who manage SDI) regarding the status of your baby’s birth, it might be a good idea to give them a call to provide an update.

I should also note that having a past-due baby won’t affect any of your benefits post delivery. No matter when you actually have the baby, you’ll still get the 6-8 weeks of SDI benefits after the baby is born per usual protocol, plus any bonding leave and pay.

By the way, if your baby comes early – which is also is common – you’ll simply get SDI benefits (minus the 7-day “waiting period”) up until the day you give birth. This is why I’m such a major advocate of starting your maternity leave 4 weeks before your estimated due date. It’s a “use it or lose it” scenario, so why not take advantage of every free day before boarding the New Parent Train. Choo Choo!

12 thoughts on “What happens to my state disability insurance (SDI) benefits if my baby is overdue? 

  1. Jen says:

    This sounds amazing but I can’t figure out 2 questions. 1) if I deliver late or have serious complications is my job still protected past the total 24 weeks of FMLA and the CFRA? 2) what’s up with this annoying 7 day waiting period? If I go out on disability 4 weeks before I’m due and I end up delivering on time then I basically get shorted 7 days of SDI? Thank you for putting Up such a comprehensive page. I will be sharing with friends ALL the time!!


    • Hi Jen,

      1) If you have a complicated pregnancy, you’ll be able to utilize PDL (pregnancy disability leave) for up to 4 months. PDL is the state disability law, and is more generous than FMLA (federal).

      If you have a complications at birth, unfortunately according to CFRA regulations, “No employer shall, however, be required to provide more CFRA leave than the amount to which the employee is otherwise entitled, but this does not excuse the employer’s other obligations under the FEHA, such as the obligation
      to provide reasonable accommodation under the disability provisions, where applicable.” So, if you experience complications that require more job-protected time off talk to your employer and physician.

      2) Yes, you’re correct. You get short-changed that 7-day waiting period. Annoying, right? You can use whatever accrued time (PTO, vacation, etc) to get paid during that waiting period.

      Hope that helps!


  2. Tiff says:

    Huge fan of your blog!!

    What if you leave earlier than the standard 4 weeks before due date? Are you still entitled to SDI benefits?


    • Thanks, Tiff! Glad to hear the blog is helpful!

      Yes, you will still be entitled to SDI benefits even if you begin leave earlier than the “standard” 4 weeks. Even if you were to begin your leave 2 months prior to your due date, you’d be still be entitled to SDI benefits. As long as your doctor certifies you “disabled” due to your pregnancy, you will be entitled to benefits corresponding job protection.


  3. Tiff says:

    Awesome – thank you.

    So the 4 weeks (use it or lose it) kinda deal before expected due date … is that subtracted from our FMLA/ PDL hours ?


  4. Kate says:

    Your site is AMAZING. I’ve spend all afternoon reading all your articles about California maternity leave. Thank you for all of the time you’ve put into this!

    One thing I’m still confused about:

    If there is a one-week waiting period before the claim goes through, does that mean we really only get three weeks of paid leave before the baby is born? If so, should we file for the SDI claim five weeks before our due date, in order to get the full four weeks of partial pay? Do we also have to stop working five weeks before (or can we continue working for the one-week waiting period)?


    • Hi Kate,

      Glad to hear the articles were helpful!

      Correct, if you go out 4 weeks before birth, you only get paid for 3 weeks since the first week is the unpaid waiting week. You can use whatever form of wages (i.e. sick, vacation, PTO) to pay yourself during that time though.

      The start date of your leave must be certified by your doctor. The “standard” start date that most docs will certify is at 36 weeks. However, should you have any issues/complications, your doctor can certify you “disabled” earlier at any time he/she feels necessary. That said, regardless of when you start your leave, it will always be minus one week of pay due to the waiting week. So, if you go out 5 weeks earlier – 1 weeks unpaid + 4 weeks paid SDI.

      You can serve the waiting period intermittently; however, If your doctor has certified you out on full time disability at 35 weeks you won’t be able to work during that time.


  5. Hi, thank you so much for all of the informative information!! I have a question, what if I don’t go on leave until 1 week prior to my scheduled birth? Do I lose 3 weeks of SDI benefits prior to birth since they technically give you 4 weeks?


    • Hello, glad to hear the post was helpful.

      Correct, the 4 weeks before birth (or any duration before birth) is a “lose or use it” situation.

      I should clarify that the typical duration of Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is 4 weeks before birth and 6 or 8 weeks after birth. However, the maximum amount of time under PDL is up to 17.3 weeks. So should you have any complications or issues that require leave related to pregnancy or child birth outside the “typical” duration, your doctor can certify an extension and your SDI (wage replacement) will be updated/extended accordingly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s