Short term disability insurance pays a portion of your income if you become unfit to work due to an injury or disease (not related to your work). Of course, this is basic and most employees know this by heart. There are, however, things you may not know about the insurance policy that could substantially affect your health and financial status. Fortunately, this doesn't mean you have to go through the thick book that is your work contract just to figure out what you missed about short term disability insurance.
Qualifying for Short Term Disability
There are certain requirements an employee must meet when applying for this type of insurance. For instance, your employer may ask you to use all of your sick days before using your short-term disability. Once the waiting period is over, you can then receive a fixed percentage of the income you received prior disability.
Most disability programs also require evidence from a physician that explains your health condition, why you are unable to work, and how long you will be out of the job. The injury or disease you're diagnosed with must be non-work related otherwise they may point you to other financial assistance programs.
Limitations of the Program
While you may find financial and emotional relief knowing that you're covered for the next few months, keep in mind that the program has its limits, depending on a number of factors including location, work type, and even income bracket.
For instance, the only states in the US that require employers to offer short-term disability programs are New York, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, and California.
Every state may also have different expiration periods on their assistance programs. Usually, benefits do not last more than 30 weeks, but certain states like California can grant the policy for up to 1 year for special cases.
Filing a Disability Claim
Filing a claim for short-term disability can be very daunting, especially for first timers. Moreover, depending on why they are filing, their health condition may prevent them from effectively managing paperwork and correspondence needed.
That said, don't be intimidated! It's quite easy to start a claim for disability. Call or visit the state's department of labor website. There, you can find an application form for almost everything and anything related to legal proceedings including short term disability.
Make sure to answer all the boxes on the application form accurately. You don't want your case getting delayed because of some grammar issues or misunderstood questions, or worse, deliberately misleading information. Then, you give the appropriate forms to your employer and to your physician.