Washington short-term disability benefits provide income replacement in the event the policyholder is unable to perform the primary duties of his full time occupation. It also comes in handy during an extended pregnancy leave.
Washington has three state specific laws designed to protect your job during pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity leave.
Follow a simple outline for how short-term disability insurance works in Washington State:
- Application and claims forms
- Benefit amounts for pregnancy leave
- WA State laws
Application and Claims Forms
The policy application is completed at time of purchase. A licensed agent will help you complete the application, and answer any questions before making your purchase. Most women seeking policies covering childbirth will need to complete an employer sponsored benefit application. Policies covering childbirth are only sold through employer groups.
You may need cash to fund your time away from work without a policy. WA State does not offer state mandated benefits, and you must purchase coverage before getting sick, hurt, or pregnant.
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WA Short-Term Disability Benefits
Make sure you can afford to pay your bills should you need to take an extended leave from work. Create your own PAID leave by purchasing a policy before conception. Get maternity benefits when mom and baby are perfectly healthy, and gain added security just in case.
Applying for benefits requires the policyholder to complete a claims form. Most companies make it easy to find and download a claims form from their website. Your doctor and employer both need to sign the claims form. Complete medical information may be required.
A private short-term disability policy provides income replacement benefits to policyholders. Covered medical conditions include accidental injury, and illnesses that were not preexisting conditions. Preexisting conditions are covered after the policy has been in effect for twelve months.
Benefit amounts range as high as $6,500 per month or two thirds of monthly income – whichever is less. Benefits are paid after first meeting an elimination period. Payments may last as long as twenty-four months. The monthly benefit amount, elimination period, and payment duration are all policy options chosen at time of application.
Washington State laws mandate that employers provide unpaid job protection for 12 weeks during a pregnancy disability. The law does not provide for paid leave. Replacing income is left up to the employer and individual employees. Most employers do not provide paid leave. So what can you do?
In Washington State, short-term disability can be used for pregnancy complications. Many doctors order bed rest weeks or months prior to delivery. That can be a long time to go without an income. A policy will replace income provided your doctor certifies a medical reason for the needed pregnancy leave. Bed rest by itself is not a qualifying medical condition.
Short-term disability for maternity covers your normal childbirth when delivery occurs nine months after the policy effective date. The standard benefit for C-section delivery is eight weeks, and it is six weeks for a vaginal delivery.
Benefits will begin after satisfying your elimination period: usually seven or fourteen days depending upon your income. If you miss work because of pregnancy complications before giving birth, you would satisfy your elimination period during this claims period. Once satisfied, most women find that their policy begins paying benefits immediately for any disability for the same or related condition.
Washington State Laws
Washington does not have a state mandated temporary disability requirement. Washington state disability insurance consists solely of Federal benefit programs. This agency processes disability claims for state residents. The Washington DDS has three branch offices located in Olympia, Seattle, and Spokane.
To qualify for benefits you must be unable to perform any job for at least 12 months. This criterion disqualifies most women seeking help during pregnancy or while on maternity leave. The program does not cover temporary disabilities.
The WA State department of licensing manages the issuance of temporary disability parking permits.
Washington State has a robust set of state specific laws addressing parental leave from work. These regulations provide job protection benefits for eligible employees. This is unpaid leave. The one and only way to turn this into paid leave is to purchase short-term disability in Washington State. Do not wait until you need the benefit. It may be too late.
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