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 Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) in the event your baby decides to take his/her sweet time entering this world.

In case you haven’t read the Maternity Leave 101 post, here’s some background info to get you up to speed.

In California, as long as you work for an employer with over 5 employees you are eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave, which provides up to* 17.3 weeks (as certified by your doctor) of unpaid job protection for disability due to pregnancy, childbirth and other related conditions. *The actual duration of your PDL is for however long your doctor has certified, but the “standard” duration for a normal, healthy pregnancy and childbirth is 4 weeks before estimated due date and 6 weeks after for a vaginal delivery or 8 weeks for a c-section. Should you have any complications before or after birth, your doctor can certify an extension past this “standard” duration.

While your job is protected (unpaid) under PDL, you may be eligible to receive partial wage replacement through State Disability Insurance (SDI). SDI begins on the first day of your PDL (minus the 7-day unpaid waiting period) and continues through the entire duration you are “disabled” by pregnancy and childbirth. Through SDI, you’ll be paid either 60% or 70% of your normal wages. Read here for the full rundown on how to calculate your SDI benefits.

So, if the “standard” is to start maternity leave at 36 weeks, what happens if you’re late? Don’t you worry – the system’s got you covered! Regardless of how late you are, your pre-birth PDL time will simply be extended until you give birth, and your post-birth recovery time will apply accordingly to how you delivered.

Example: You start your leave at 36 weeks but you don’t give birth until 41 weeks via c-section: Your PDL/SDI will start at 36 weeks (minus the 7-day unpaid waiting period for SDI), you’ll give birth at 41 weeks, and you’ll continue your PDL/SDI until 8 weeks postpartum for your c-section delivery. Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.18.31 PMExample 2: If you’re overdue by 2 weeks (gasp!), same sitch. Your pre-birth PDL/SDI time will simply be extended until week 41, you’ll give birth at 42 weeks, and you’ll continue with PDL/SDI for however long necessary for post-birth recovery (either 6 weeks for vaginal, 8 weeks for c-section, or longer if medically necessary).

Also, on the flip side, if your baby comes early – which is also common – you’ll simply have PDL/SDI (minus the 7-day unpaid waiting period for SDI) up until the day you give birth, and continue with PDL/SDI for however long necessary for post-birth recovery.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.45.59 PM

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!

I should also make super clear that having a late or early baby won’t affect any of your post-birth entitlements. No matter when you actually have the baby, as long as you have available PDL time remaining (i.e. no complications during pregnancy that required you to start PDL way early), you’ll still get the 6 or 8 weeks of PDL/SDI after the baby is born per usual protocol (or more should you need medical extensions). Also, if eligible for CFRA, following PDL you are entitled to an additional 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave for bonding with baby. During which time, you can receive wage replacement through PFL. For more info on CFRA/PFL, head on over to that Maternity 101 post, or here if you aren’t eligible for CFRA.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you give birth, you must report your birth to the EDD (the folks who manage SDI) by submitting the Request for Delivery Information (DE 2513) form typically found in your EDD inbox. That form will give the EDD the heads up on your delivery date and how you delivered, and they will adjust your claim dates accordingly.

Hope that helps any pre-birth anxiety in regards to your maternity leave benefits!


18 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.


  6. Paige says:

    I’m currently on maternity leave, just received my notice of computation and will be taking the full 4 weeks prior. I see you have to contact SDI when baby arrives but I have yet to receive the request for delivery form in my inbox, does this come in a couple weeks? Or do I need to call when baby is here? Also how long does it take to receive debit card?
    Thank you in advance


    • You’ll receive the form “Request for Delivery Information” (DE 2513) in your inbox near or shortly after your estimated delivery date.

      If you’ve already given birth and/or don’t see the form, go to “Request Claim Update” on the left and you can click on the drop down “Request Type” and choose “Report Pregnancy Delivery Date” and there you can submit date and type of delivery.

      You should receive your debit card shortly after getting the Notice of Computation. If you have a prior SDI or UI claim, you won’t get a new card…the funds for this current SDI claim will be issued on your old card. If you’ve lost the card, call bank of america at (866) 692-9374 to get a new card issued to you.


    • Nana Ng says:

      Hi Paige,
      was there a 7 days unpaid waiting period when you applied in March 2018? I am a little bit confused because I read somewhere that they’ve removed that 7 days unpaid waiting period starting Jan 2018. But some people are saying that they didn’t get pay the first 7 days of their claim and they filed in 2018…I’m not sure who to believe. Can you please confirm? Thank you so much!


  7. YOB says:

    Hi there!

    Thanks for this blog. Its super helpful!

    Question, I went on SDI early due to a high risk condition. I’ve already received 1 payment and I’m due for my next one this week. I was discharged Friday and am now submitting my Request for Delivery form. If I submit this form now will it affect the deposit I am suppose to receive this week? Would it be the same amount?

    My concern is that it will delay this payment, which I really can’t afford. Hoping its just a date adjustment!

    Appreciate the help!


    • Hello,

      First off – congrats!

      No, it should not affect the deposit date nor will it affect your SDI benefit amount. The request for delivery information simply informs the EDD when you delivered and how (vaginal or C-section), so they can update your SDI claim date accordingly.

      Hope that helps!


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s