State Short Term Disability
Government Mandated Short Term Disability Insurance by State
State government disability insurance benefits are determined by where you live, where you work, the reason for the inability to work, and the expected duration. There is a confusing array of programs and eligibility requirements. We hope to shed a light on the few options that exist, and point you places for assistance.
State government programs that provide income assistance for people unable to work because of a medical condition fall into three categories:
Only five states have mandated short term disability coverage. These programs provide income replacement for unemployment due to off the job accidents and sickness. Benefit duration ranges from 6 to 12 months with varying levels of income replacement. All 50 mandate income support for on the job accidents and illnesses in the form of worker's compensation.
State Disability for Pregnancy
Many couples mistakenly assume that the commonwealth will provide them with income support when the time comes for mom to take her maternity leave. This misperception may come from the fact that the three of the most populated states do have such a program. Or perhaps the disability offices reinforce this myth. Each commonwealth administers payments when you are expected to miss 12 months of work or more. The vast majority of maternity situations do not meet this criteria.
No matter where this false assumption is derived from, it is important that couples understand that 45 states have no such coverage. And a few that do leave gaping holes. Purchase short term disability for maternity leave before getting pregnant. Don't rely on government to support your income while on leave. Your policy can cover all nine months of your pregnancy, plus another three months to give you time to fully recover.
The one exception lies with unemployment programs. Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided incentives to expand unemployment compensation laws to include income replacement for a compelling family reason. In some states a spouse may be eligible for payments, while in others a worker's own disability qualifies them for benefits. This new rule will be tested most by maternity leave and unemployment situations.
State Short Term Program Features
Temporary disability insurance is mandated in five states: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. If you work in one of the five with mandated programs, your benefit may be limited.
State programs do not automatically apply to every resident. Keep in mind that these programs apply based upon where you work, not where you live. If you commute out of state you may not be covered. Government employees are often not included. If you work for the federal, state, county, or municipal government, you may not have coverage. Teachers are often government employees. People working in cash businesses may see lower levels of income replacement - because they may report lower income.
For those who work in one of the 45 other commonwealths, the option was left up to you. If you want any income replacement, you must apply for short term disability insurance before getting pregnant, injured, or sick.
States with Mandated Short Term Disability
Only the five states mentioned above have mandated short term disability coverage. But private coverage is readily no matter where you work.
Social Security benefits is administered at the state level. Follow the links below to find your office address, phone number, or to find the forms needed.