New Jersey short-term disability for pregnancy illustrates a need for extra coverage. The state has a set of regulations providing partial income replacement. The programs may not pay enough, often ends too soon, and have limited eligibility.
A supplemental program is a great way for women to increase their level of maternity income, and allow for income replacement that spans all nine months while she is expecting, plus time to recover from childbirth. Learn more about three key topics.
- Application and claims forms to complete
- Increasing maximum benefit amount and duration
- During pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave
NJ Short-Term Disability Claim and Application Forms
New Jersey short-term disability application and claims forms become confusing when pregnancy-related medical conditions cause lost income. Two policy types and the need for increased income replacement, require a clear distinction.
For the sake of simplicity, we define application forms as the paperwork needed to purchase coverage. Claims forms are the paperwork needed when applying for benefits.
Complete benefit claims forms after becoming disabled. Those who purchased a secondary policy can apply for short-term disability benefits by completing the paperwork unique to the private carrier issuing the policy.
Most site visitors do not have a secondary policy, and have only one claim form to complete. They can file a claim through the New Jersey temporary disability program, which is also used when filing a claim for baby bonding under the state paid family leave program.
Complete application forms for secondary policies before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. These private plans require positive action in order to enroll. If you want additional income replacement, you must purchase the coverage before you need it.
The state entitlement program does not require a policy application. Your employer automatically enrolls you in the program, unless they are exempt from the legal requirements. You do not have to sign up.
NJ Short-Term Disability Maximum Benefit Amounts
New Jersey short-term disability maximum benefit amounts become exposed when pregnancy related claims are filed. Normal childbirth is a very common qualifying condition. Many women of childbearing age stop working for months at a time for each child.
Each time a women stops working to have a baby, the need to increase the maximum benefit amount becomes more apparent. Get a short-term disability quote to see what it costs to increase your amounts.
The state plan replaces two-thirds of income with a weekly maximum benefit amount that is capped at $595 weekly beginning in 2014. The weekly cap amount applies to any worker earning more than $45,597 annually. If you earn more that this amount, you may not have an adequate level of income replacement protection.
The state program has a maximum benefit payment length of twenty-six weeks. A pregnancy lasts nine months. Recovery from normal childbirth can last two months or longer if postpartum problems arise. Your state assistance might run out.
A supplemental program allows you extend the maximum benefit length. You choose between duration options of twelve or twenty-four months. A twelve-month length spans your entire pregnancy, plus recovery from childbirth, and allows for postpartum disorders, which may delay your return to work.
Individual short-term disability in New Jersey can also increase the monthly maximum benefit amount when combined with the state plan. You want to replace about 66% of income. Women earning less than $45,000 have enough coverage. Those earning more hit the weekly cap, and have a hole to fill.
The chart below illustrates how higher income earners can increase maximum benefit amounts during childbearing years. Add the two figures together.
Maximum Benefit Increase
|Annual Income||NJ State Weekly Max||Supplemental Max|
New Jersey Short-Term Disability Maternity
Both types of New Jersey short-term disability insurance may cover pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave after normal childbirth. The state mandated program has one big shortcoming; the income support payments may not last long enough if you encounter complications during pregnancy. There are two important limits to understand:
- Temporary disability payments – stop after six months
- Paid Family Leave (PFL) – stop after 6 weeks
Pregnancy Bed Rest
Private New Jersey short-term disability insurance for pregnancy can put your mind at ease during an extended bed rest. The state entitlements have limits that come into play with extended bed rest. An extra policy with a twelve-month benefit duration extends limits for a safer pregnancy experience.
For most normal pregnancies, the limits do not come into play. However not every pregnancy is perfectly healthy. Suppose you experience a high-risk pregnancy and need to stop working in your first trimester. Your delivery does not go smoothly and you need extra time to heal before returning to work. Consider this pregnancy bed rest graphic.
Did you notice the big doughnut hole in the middle of the chart? Having 6 months of coverage sounds like a long time, but it does not span a 9-month pregnancy, and the time needed to recover after delivery.
In addition, you may be able to mitigate losses by optimizing your maternity health insurance options. You may be able to upgrade your plan if dealing with a complicated pregnancy. It all depends upon timing of open enrollment.
Private New Jersey short-term disability insurance for maternity leave also increases the amount of money coming in while recovering from childbirth. Normal childbirth is an event many plan. The state plan leaves you with at least a one-third pay cut.
New Jersey maternity leave laws provide job protections in addition to limited income support. Not every worker automatically qualifies, and just about every woman would enjoy a greater level of income security while resting at home before delivery, and while boding with her baby.