AB 908: Disability Compensation; Disability Insurance

Existing unemployment compensation disability law provides a formula for determining benefits available to qualifying disabled individuals. For an individual who has quarterly base wages of greater than $1,749.20, the weekly benefit is calculated by multiplying base wages by 55% and dividing the result by 13. For a benefit that is not a multiple of $1, existing law provides that the benefit shall be computed to the next higher multiple of $1. However, existing law provides that this amount may not exceed the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount.

Under existing law, the family temporary disability insurance program provides up to 6 weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off work to care for specified persons, or to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption. Existing law defines “weekly benefit amount” for purposes of this program to mean the amount of benefits available to qualifying disabled individuals pursuant to unemployment compensation disability law.

This bill would revise the formula for determining benefits available pursuant to unemployment compensation disability law and for the family temporary disability insurance program, for periods of disability commencing after January 1, 2018, but before January 1, 2022, to provide a weekly benefit amount minimum of $50 and increase the wage replacement rate to specified percentages, but not to exceed the maximum workers’ compensation temporary disability indemnity weekly benefit amount established by the Department of Industrial Relations pursuant to existing law.

Existing law deems an individual to be eligible for family temporary disability benefits if, among other things, the individual is unable to perform his or her regular or customary work for a 7-day waiting period during each disability benefit period. and prohibits payments for benefits during this waiting period.

This bill, on and after January 1, 2018, also would remove the 7-day waiting period for these benefits.

This bill, by authorizing an increase in the expenditure of money from the Unemployment Compensation Disability Fund, would make an appropriation.

This bill would require, by July 1, 2017, the Employment Development Department to report to the Assembly Committee on Insurance and Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations specified information regarding the waiting period for disability benefits. The bill also would require, by March 1, 2021, the department to prepare a report to the Legislature and specified legislative committees on levels and trends regarding utilization, costs, and rates with respect to family leave and disability insurance.  Assembly Bill No. 908