Did you recently suffer an injury, illness, or accident that keeps you from being able to perform the normal functions of your job? Maybe you should go on short term disability to protect your income and maintain your ability to pay monthly bills.
It is important to note that short-term disability programs do not protect your job while you are out with your injury. To receive job protection, you must find out if you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Check the websites to see if your situation qualifies you for those programs.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
Short-term disability is for people who are injured or sick, yet they are expected to be able to return to work within a year. Your employer may provide short-term disability insurance. If you don’t receive those benefits as part of your compensation package, you may be able to purchase the insurance through a payroll deduction. Of course, you may also buy short-term disability on your own.
If you are shopping around for your own short-term disability policy, make sure you understand the answers to the following questions.
1. What disabilities are covered?
Most of the time, short-term disability insurance will provide coverage if you are limited in a range of major life activities. Such activities may include seeing, hearing, walking, thinking, and working. Of course, some of these activities are difficult to measure.
You will need to be seen by a medical professional who will assess your ability to work. The medical professional will not determine whether or not you will qualify for short-term disability or not. He or she will write objective findings of your health to be submitted with your claim.
It is important to note that symptoms or vague ailments will not qualify you for short-term disability coverage. For example, neck or back pain, exhaustion, high blood pressure, menopause, insomnia, vertigo, and seizures are not necessarily covered. Those are symptoms of more significant problems.
Some conditions may qualify you for intermittent leave, as the symptoms seem to come and go. Examples of these conditions may include asthma, cancer, tendinitis, endometriosis, kidney stones, Lyme disease, or migraines. With these diseases and conditions, some days will be good and some days won’t. Short-term disability will cover the days you are unable to work.
If you have an accident, you may qualify for short-term disability. For example, if you have a broken wrist, arm, leg, hand, foot, or ankle, you may be eligible to receive the benefit. You may also qualify if you have an accident and tear an anterior cruciate ligament, rotator cuff, or meniscus.
To qualify for short-term disability, you could not have had an accident caused by working an illegal job, racing, or hurting yourself intentionally. Each policy may have its own list of reasons you would be unable to collect the benefits.
Medically-necessary surgeries may also be covered by short-term insurance.
Pregnant women may use their short-term disability insurance to receive partial pay while they recover from delivering a baby.
2. When will the benefits begin if I purchase this policy?
Short-term disability insurance usually does not cover drug or alcohol addiction or mental illnesses.
Most short-term disability policies have a waiting period before you can collect benefits.
3. How long will the benefits last for this short-term disability policy?
Check with your provider, but most policies last no more than one year. Typically, shorter waiting periods mean that the insurance premiums are more expensive.
4. How much will the policy pay?
Your policy may only cover a percentage of what you would typically earn. For example, you may only receive 60% of your regular wages when you collect short-term disability.
How Short-Term Disability Works
Short-term disability insurance does not cover injuries that happen while you are on the job. Workers’ compensation covers those types of damages.
If you become injured or sick and are unable to work, you can apply to receive the benefits of your short-term disability insurance. If you find yourself in the position where you need to apply, look at the fine print of your policy, and become familiar with the application process. There may be deadlines on when you are able to file a claim.
Sometimes workers must have worked a particular length of time before being eligible for benefits. The period of time can range from 30 days to six months. There may also be a minimum earnings requirement before you qualify.
It is worth noting that short-term disability forms are notoriously difficult to complete. Some companies hope that the applicants will become frustrated and give up filling out the form.
Typically, there is a waiting period of 0 to 14 days. Once your application has been accepted, you will receive compensation. Most short-term disability insurance plans cover no more than 12 months of leave.
When you apply for short-term disability, you will be asked a series of questions about your ailment. You will also be asked to talk about the activities that you perform on the job.
Denied applications are typical. In fact, most claims are denied the first time unless you are blind or paralyzed. Specific conditions must be met to receive the benefits.
What happens if you are denied your short-term disability claim?
At times, employees file short-term disability claims and are denied coverage. If this happens to you, reach out to a qualified disability attorney working in your area. He or she will petition for a rehearing and will review your case.
You are much more likely to have your application approved when working with a qualified attorney for your appeal.
The attorney will look at your application, collect all the necessary medical evidence, and help you refile your claim. Please note that the appeals process can take months or years. When you eventually get approved, you may receive back pay.
How do you choose a lawyer to help you with your case?
Interview lawyers in your area to see if they have previously worked disability cases. You may also ask if the lawyer has worked with your specific type of disability.