Every year, an average of 5.6 percent of American workers will experience some kind of short-term disability.
Are you currently dealing with a short-term disability right now? Whether it’s due to pregnancy, an illness, or an injury, you probably have concerns about how you’re going to cover your medical bills and other expenses during this time.
If you’re in this boat, you may be able to benefit from a short-term disability insurance policy.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about this type of insurance to decide whether or not it’s a good idea for you.
This type of disability insurance is meant to provide people wit compensation or income replacement while they’re unbaled to work.
As the name suggests, it’s meant to be a temporary solution to help you get access to the funds you need until you’re back on your feet.
Short-term disability insurance is meant to help those dealing with non-job-related injuries. For example, if you were in a serious car accident and had to take time off of work to recover, you might be able to qualify for this type of policy.
It’s not meant for on-the-job injuries. Those will usually be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
Many employers offer short-term disability coverage as part of their benefits package. They’re not required by law to do so (with the exception of employers in Hawaii, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and New York), but many do because it allows them to take advantage of a federal tax deduction.
If your employer offers this kind of disability coverage, it’ll either be self-funded through your employer, or they will work with an insurance company to provide you with it.
If your employer doesn’t offer short-term disability coverage, you can purchase a policy yourself through a private insurance agent.
Short-term disability plans cover a wide range of health problems. The specific problems that your plan will cover will vary depending on what your employer provides or what you purchase on your own.
In general, though, these plans will usually provide you with partial income replacement while you recover from an injury or illness.
Many mental health conditions also fall under the umbrella of short-term disability coverage, too. For example, if you were suffering from severe depression or PTSD, you would likely qualify for and be able to use short-term disability benefits to take time off work to prioritize your health and recovery.
Short-term disability plans will not cover pre-existing conditions. You also can’t use these benefits to take time off work while you care for a sick or injured family member.
Keep in mind, too, that short-term disability benefits will not protect your job. It is possible for an employer to terminate your position while you’re on disability leave.
These policies also do not guarantee that your insurance will continue while you’re on leave, especially if they’re provided by your employer.
The length of time you’re able to take off from work will vary depending on your specific policy. Some policies are as short as 30 days, while others will give you anywhere from six months to a year off of work.
It’s important to consider the amount of time you’re allowed to take off before you decide to take advantage of your short-term disability benefits. That way, you can plan accordingly and prepare for when you have to return to work.
If you’re not ready to return to work when you’ve maxed out your disability benefits, you may be able to transition them to a long-term disability plan.
Filling out all the paperwork for this can take quite a while, though, so it’s important to start early. Don’t wait until the day before you’re supposed to return to work to try and seek more time off.
If you’re considering investing in a short term disability policy from a private insurance agent, you’ll need to do some research to ensure you’re getting the best coverage possible.
Here are some tips that will help you compare policies and find the right one for you:
Start by thinking about how much coverage you need. Remember, your policy likely won’t replace your entire salary. It’ll be closer to 60-70 percent of it.
Do some math to think about how much of your salary you’ll need to replace to continue living comfortably and meet your financial obligations.
Be sure to find out how long the policy will last, too. How long will you receive income replacement before you have to go back to work?
Figure out the elimination period before buying a policy, too. This is the amount of time it takes before you start receiving benefits after filing a claim. Usually, the longer the elimination period is, the cheaper the policy will be.
It’s important to think about your budget and what you can afford to spend on insurance, of course. However, you also need to look beyond the price tag. It might be worth it to pay more for a policy if it provides you with better coverage and a shorter elimination period.
Now that you know more about short-term disability insurance, are you interested in purchasing a policy? It’s not a good fit for everyone, but it can still be very helpful to some people.
If you want to invest in short-term disability coverage, keep the information in this article in mind as you begin shopping for a policy. It’ll help you ensure you’re paying a fair price and getting the coverage you need.
Don’t forget to look up some of our other health insurance-related articles, either. They’ll give you more insight and help you make the right decision for yourself and your health concerns.
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