Resources on Benefits and Insurance

Information on California disability and paid leave benefits

Individuals are able to file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim, providing short-term benefit payments eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness.

The Governor’s Executive Order will waive the one-week unpaid waiting period to collect DI benefits for the first week out of work. 

Benefits Available for Individuals Caring for A Sick Family Member Who Miss Work

  • Individuals can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) Claim
    • Provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member
    • Necessary documentation: 
      • Medical documentation regarding family member in care who is either ill or quarantined due to COVID-19.
      • This requirement can be met by a medical certification for that person from a treating physician or a practitioner that includes a diagnosis and ICD-10 code, or a statement of symptoms; the start date of the condition; its probable duration; and the treating physician’s or practitioner’s license number or facility information.
      • This requirement can also be met by a written order from a state or local health officer that is specific to your family member’s situation. Absent those documents from a physician or health officer, individuals may be eligible for an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim instead. 
      • Individuals may also request EDD to send a  Claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits (DE 2501F) (PDF) form, which can be ordered online.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits for COVID-19 (California Employment Development Department – EDD, COVID-19 FAQ)

  • Benefits Available for Individuals Quarantined, Not Ill, and Not Eligible for Disability Insurance
    • Individuals are encouraged to apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if unemployed including reasons such as: 
      • Hours reduced due to quarantine
      • Separated from employer during quarantine
      • Subject to a quarantine required by a medical professional or state local health officer
    • Individuals are eligible if they have enough earnings over the past 12-18 months and meet other criteria.
  • Benefits Available to Those Self-Quarantining Due to Underlying Health Conditions & Exposure to Virus
    • Individuals may be eligible for benefits. EDD representatives will seek details and determine eligibility.
  • Benefits Available to Those Caring for Non-Ill Children Whose School Has Shut Down/Had to Quit to Provide Child Care
    • Individuals may be eligible for benefits. EDD representatives will seek details and determine eligibility.
  • Benefits Available to Those Whose Employer Reduces Hours or Shuts Down Operations Due to the Virus
    • Individuals are encouraged to file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.  
      • UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own.
      • Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and are expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week.
      • However, they must remain able, available, and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria.
  • Individuals can receive benefits ranging from $40-450 a week.
  • The number of weeks to potentially receive benefits ranges from 13 to 26 weeks. Payment could stretch to a longer duration if work is performed for pay or if other deductible income is received during the course of a claim.
  • EDD has an Unemployment Insurance Calculator.
  • The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so individuals can collect UI benefits for the first week they are out of work.
  • Individuals can apply and file a claim for unemployment and disability benefits at the same time, but can only collect payments under one program at a time.
  • Individuals can collect unemployment benefits if laid off/had hours reduced, then switch to disability if they become sick. 
    • Similarly, individuals can start collecting unemployment benefits because if they have been laid off or have had work hours reduced, and then switch to a Paid Family Leave claim if they must care for a family member who is sick.

Kristen Prater, BCBA, of Leaps n’ Boundz, believes:

“The continuation of mental health services is imperative for individuals with developmental disabilities, especially during times of increased anxiety. At the current moment, insurance companies and behavioral health providers are seeking alternatives for in-person treatment, such as tele-health options through video conferencing (Zoom or other HIPAA approved options). Telehealth has many benefits for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy or Applied Behavior Analysis. Treatment is often delivered using a computer, so reliable Internet connections are a necessity. Treatment may be delivered to participants themselves or to parents. Parents involved in training would receive consultation and feedback on behavior analytic strategies.

With the current state of affairs, alternatives treatment methods provide continued service provisions to short-term cancelation of services. Participants receiving continued services may feel comforted to see familiar individuals and may experience a reduction in anxiety. Additionally, continued services offers a break in the schedule, which may be beneficial for individuals, parents or caregivers.

Benefits of Technology During Covid-19 Health Crisis include:

  • Ability to continue services (continuity of care) in rural areas or during times of social distancing
  • Increase in participant’s social communication through ABA services
  • Improving academic skills in participants
  • Decrease in problematic behaviors
  • Parent training and delivery of behavior analytic services
  • Reduction in participant and parent stress levels

Providers seeking to use telehealth options must utilize HIPAA compliant technologies, ensure a stable internet connection, make provisions for stolen technologies. If you are interested in receiving telehealth services through your behavioral health provider, contact them and ask if your insurance provider is making current provisions.