How to Get Short-Term Disability Benefits

If you do not have a private disability insurance, you can still receive short-term disability benefits through other ways. The most important consideration here is your location. There are only several states that offer a short-term disability program, including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. However, a few other states provide temporary disability assistance to low-income people in other ways, such as cash, medical, and housing assistance and paid leave programs.

Other programs that offer short-term or temporary disability benefits are workers’ compensation, if the injury is work-related, and private disability insurance, which is usually purchased and paid for by employers.

Qualifying for short-term disability benefits

You can apply for temporary disability benefits if you live in a state that offers such program. The eligibility requirements include:

  • You have worked for a minimum of 30 days to six months.
  • Your income meets the state minimum requirement.
  • Your injury is not work related.

The short-term disability benefits are payable after a week that you were temporarily disabled. In most states, the benefits only last until 30 weeks, except in California where it extends up to 52 weeks. The weekly benefit is approximately 60% of your wages.

If you are pregnant, you are also eligible to receive benefits for several weeks for delivery and recovery. A medical exam is required, plus medical records, to prove your disability.

How to file a claim

Visit the website of your state’s department of labor or employment development department to download an application form. Alternatively, you can also get it from your company’s HR department. Fill out the form and hand it to your employer or physician for completion.

Important note

Short-term disability benefits are not your sole priority. You should also actively find ways to make sure your job will be there when you return. Note that the short-term disability programs of your state offer wage replacement but no job protection. It is up to you to discuss your options with your employer regarding your return to your old job after the period of disability.

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MJ Usner