NYS – New York State short term disability benefits are a government sponsored program administered by the NY Workers Compensation Board. The program covers most workers in private industry.
While good to have, the program has holes. You will find that the payment amounts are rather small, and don’t last terribly long. These are some of the key points about NYS short term disability benefits:
- How much does it pay?
- Does it cover pregnancy?
- Do I qualify?
- What laws should I know?
- How do I apply for benefits?
NYS Short Term Disability Payment Amounts
NYS short term disability is a state mandated program. Benefit payment amounts are 50% of income or $170 per week, whichever is less. The plan covers off the job accidents and illnesses only. On-the-job accidents and illnesses fall under workers compensation.
Your last eight weeks of employment are used to determine your income. Entitlements are payable for up to 26 weeks. There is a 7-day waiting period for which no payments are made. Payment rights begin on the eighth consecutive day you are unable to work. Your doctor will need to provide evidence of a medical reason why you are unable to work.
Increase Payment Amounts
Given the income level and the cost of living for many in The Empire State, you may find the need for a greater amount of coverage. Ask yourself “How long can I pay my bills on $170 per week.” For many the answer is “Not very long.”
A personal plan can help you increase the benefit payment amount to a more suitable level – up to sixty percent, with a cap of $6,500 monthly. Those with desires to cover childbirth should seek out short term disability through an employer.
NYS Disability for Pregnancy: Maternity Leave
New York State short term disability benefits are government mandated, and may cover your pregnancy and maternity leave. According to information published by the workers compensation board, it appears that the program covers your maternity leave four to six weeks prior your due date, and four to six weeks after delivery. More detailed information may be needed if need to leave work sooner, or extend your return longer.
Maternity Leave Income
NYS short term disability for maternity leave may leave your pockets empty. Six weeks before and after your delivery, adds up to twelve weeks of nominal income replacement.
Twelve weeks of income replacement at $170 per week totals $2,040 of before tax income replacement. A woman earning $52,000 per year would normally make $12,000 during this time. This represents almost $10,000 of lost income during maternity leave for a perfectly healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
You can increase your income replacement level to sixty percent or $6,500 per month by purchasing short term disability for pregnancy prior to conception. Enjoy a higher level of maternity leave pay that what the state government plan provides.
Pregnancy Bed Rest
NYS short term disability for pregnancy bed rest paints an even bleaker picture. Benefits last up to 26 weeks, which is not enough time to span your entire pregnancy and the time needed to recover from childbirth. If you need to stop working well before your due date, the state mandated entitlements may stop long before you are able to resume working.
The meager level of income replacement becomes more apparent when you miss more than the standard twelve weeks for normal childbirth. A supplemental program can last twelve months or longer.
NYS Disability Qualifications
NY state short term disability qualifications hinge upon who pays into the system. Workers who commute from New Jersey or Connecticut are qualified under the plan as they must contribute automatically.
Many employee classes and organizations are exempt from the statutory contribution requirement and may not qualify for claims payments. Keep in mind that your employer may elect to participate on a voluntary basis. Check with your employer to verify qualifications. Some of the groups that may not qualify include:
- Employer Type
- Government (Federal, State, & Local)
- Religious organizations
- Public & private schools
- Employee Classes
- Independent contractors
- Domestic workers
- Farm laborers
- Sole proprietors
- Business partners
NYS Disability Laws
The NY state temporary disability laws are codified under the workers compensation laws: Article 9. Sections 200 to 211 make up the bulk of regulations that apply directly to workers seeking entitlements. The law has not been updated of decades, and incomes have increased over the years making the program payments nearly irrelevant.
The statutory income plan is one that provides nominal help. Perhaps of greater assistance is a mandate requiring that certain health plans cover the costs of treating infertility in NYS.
New York State government offices administer Social Security, which should not be confused with the mandated short term disability entitlement. State government offices make medical determinations on eligibility. Offices are located throughout the region.
NYS short term disability does not provide job protection. Remember that the plans make twelve weeks of payments for most pregnancies. This also the same length of time that the federally mandated Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for unpaid job protected leave.
If your employer is subject to this law, you should have no problems returning to work at the same position and rate of pay. However, if your leave lasts longer, or if your employer is not subject to the law, you may no longer have a job. In this scenario, you may be eligible to collect unemployment compensation.
You can’t collect NY state short term disability and unemployment compensation at the same time. The unemployment programs pay up to $405 per week. A woman earning $52,000 a year can increase her maternity income by $235 per week by collecting unemployment during maternity leave instead.
Applying for NYS Disability Benefits
Applying for NYS short term disability benefits requires that you understand what steps to take, who to contact, and where to find the right claim form. People who purchased a private policy can apply for benefits by filing a claim with their carrier.
Keep in mind that a portion of your payments may be taxable. New York State law allows your employer to charge up to 60 cents per week to the cost of coverage. Your employer must also make a contribution to make up the balance. If your portion of the cost is paid for using pre-tax contributions, then your entire benefit is taxed.
Claim Form DB-450
New York State short term disability claim form DB-450 is a universal form all claimants must use. When filing a claim you must remember that the law requires that your employer purchase coverage. Your employer is required to buy a plan through an authorized carrier, or to self insure if approved by the workers compensation board.
While there is a single claim form that all workers must use, the form itself must be submitted to the specific insurer contracted by your employer. Only your employer knows which carrier they selected.
Contact Information and Phone Numbers
The primary NYS short term disability contact information and phone numbers are summarized below.
NYS Workers’ Compensation Board
Centralized Mailing Address
PO Box 5205
Binghamton, NY 13902-5205