When a worker is involved in an accident off the job or becomes ill, they may have to spend a longer period away from work. Short-term disability pays part of a worker’s salary while they are away.
Short-term disability is different because it covers lost wages when a worker suffers a non-job-related injury, illness, or another condition that keeps them from working and collecting a regular paycheck. Job-related injuries or conditions typically are covered by workers’ compensation that helps continue paying employees as they recover.
Employers often provide short-term disability coverage as a benefit to their workers. But sometimes the insurance companies will not grant claims for short-term disability payments to help cover lost wages. If the short-term disability is denied, you have options that a lawyer can help you with to receive the compensation you deserve.
However, in many cases, your employer’s short-term disability insurance will help pay part of your salary while you recover. Here are a few things you should know about short-term disability.
How Does Short-Term Disability Work
How long does it last?
Short-term disability payments are not intended to be made for long periods of time. They can range between 30 days and a year, depending on the coverage and the insurance provider. Check with your benefits manager to determine the terms of your short-term disability coverage. The coverage term also may depend on the injury or illness, or other factors that are unique to your coverage. For recovery periods that extend beyond the short term covered in your policy, long-term disability payments may be appropriate.
What conditions qualify for short-term disability payments?
While the types of illnesses and injuries covered by short-term disability are outlined specifically in your coverage, generally speaking, any type of injury or illness that leaves you unable to work while you recover would be considered a short-term disability. This can include a traffic accident, major surgery, a viral infection, or a chronic illness. The period needed to recover from these is typically shorter in length and would be generally regarded as a short-term disability.
Are mental health conditions covered?
In some cases, mental health disorders or conditions can leave workers unable to do their jobs temporarily. In some cases, mental health issues may be covered by short-term disability insurance. Your employer’s benefits manager can provide details about the coverage. In some cases, you may need to provide documentation from a psychiatrist or psychologist that you are unable to perform your job duties temporarily.
Is pregnancy considered a short-term disability?
There are some employers who will include maternity leave in their short-term disability coverage. This coverage usually defines how long a worker can receive disability payments and what procedures or conditions would qualify for coverage, such as a C-section for the birth.
In some cases, employers choose not to include maternity leave in their short-term disability coverage. They may have a separate leave program designed for pregnancy and childbirth. Even if your employer’s short-term disability insurance does not cover maternity leave, you are eligible to take unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.