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How does PTO payment affect CA SDI benefits? California

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  • How does PTO payment affect CA SDI benefits? California

    When I got laid off, my company paid me a lump sum (PTO payment) for all the accrued vacation/sick hours (160 hours). After laid off, I got disabled. Someone in CA State Disability office told me that I cannot get CA SDI benefits for the 1st 160 hours that I'm disabled since I have received PTO payment. I don't believe this is correct but I'm not sure.

    My understanding is that if I have any PTO times available, I have to use the PTO times before I can receive CA SDI benefits. However, in my case, I have no more PTO times left since they were all paid out due to job termination which happened before I got disabled.

  • #2
    At first glance, without having read the actual statute, it's hard to say who is right here. The SDI website FAQ's state:

    Can I receive accrued vacation from my employer and still receive SDI benefits?
    Yes. Vacation benefits are not in conflict with SDI.

    Can I receive sick leave from my employer and still receive SDI benefits?
    You cannot receive SDI benefits for any period for which you also receive sick leave wages that are equivalent to your full (or regular) salary. If you are receiving only partial sick leave wages, however, you may be eligible for full or partial SDI benefits.

    Can I receive SDI benefits if my employer offers me unallocated leave or paid time off (PTO)?
    No. PTO payments are considered the same as sick leave wages if the payments are made as a replacement for sick leave when you are disabled. However, if you are receiving partial PTO and still suffering a wage loss you may be entitled to full or partial SDI benefits.

    If I were you, I'd make the argument that you are not receiving PTO "as a replacement for sick leave when you are disabled." In fact, the PTO payout had nothing to do with your disability. Thus, it should not be counted against you.


    • #3
      I agree with Endeavor on this. Betty3
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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