Applying for Short-Term Disability in Arizona

Arizona does not offer state-mandated short-term disability insurance that covers temporary work absences caused by off-the-job (non-occupational) illnesses and injuries.

Although, the state does require employers to maintain Worker’s Compensation Insurance that addresses occupational incidents and administers the federal Social Security disability programs that automatically cover most taxpayers.

However, SSDI and SSI pay very little, and eligibility rules are strict if you can perform any substantial gainful activity. In other words, you have enormous holes that you might want to fill – while you still can.

Therefore, residents should consider purchasing individual policies from private insurance companies so they can support their families while unable to work.

Individual Disability Insurance in AZ

Learn about individual disability insurance in Arizona and purchase a policy from a private company before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. The state does not have a required program covering off-the-job incidents that prevent you from performing the duties of your full-time occupation.

Therefore, each person should take proactive steps to address income losses associated with temporary and long-term work absences.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability insurance for individuals in Arizona can replace up to seventy percent of income should you need to stop working because of a covered medical reason.

People who are most concerned about temporary losses (lasting less than one year) find this policy option most appealing because brief work absences happen more frequently.


There is a two-step process when applying for short-term disability in Arizona because you must buy a policy privately before you can file a claim for benefits.

  1. Request a quote online as your first step. An agent licensed in AZ can assist you in completing a policy application. You must show evidence of good health, and any new coverage will exclude pre-existing conditions for at least 12 months.
  2. In the event of a medical issue, file a claim for benefits by contacting the private company that issued the policy. Download the claim form from their website and follow the paperwork instructions carefully. Both your doctor and employer may need to sign the document.

Commuters in the western region who travel across state borders to work in California have automatic coverage under their SDI program and should apply for benefits through the appropriate online portal.


Short-term disability covering pregnancy highlights several distinctions that women of child-bearing age should know. The most critical and universal requirement is that coverage must begin before conception. Arizona maternity leave laws do not provide income support.

All new policies will exclude coverage for any pre-existing pregnancy!

The second issue pertains to where you purchase the coverage and the type of plan design. You could have one of three “flavors” that could have starkly different maternity benefits.

  1. Group coverage paid 100% by employers for all workers
  2. Individual plans paid 100% by employees
    1. Personal policies funded by payroll deduction at work
    2. Private plans purchased outside of the employer

Pregnancy leave before birth




Recovery from labor and delivery




Postpartum medical disorders




Postpartum depression




Long-Term Disability

Long-term disability insurance for individuals in Arizona also requires proactive steps because you typically cannot purchase a new policy after you become seriously ill or suffer permanent injuries during an accident.

The private coverage addresses three glaring holes that many residents face.

  1. How to survive when temporary programs run out after only one to two years
  2. How to receive higher monthly payments beyond the meager $1,500 that Social Security pays
  3. How to qualify when you can no longer perform the duties of your lucrative occupation, but can still work at a lower-paying job

A long-term policy can pay up to $10,000 monthly (sometimes more) to age 65, and provide an “own occupation” definition that makes it much easier to qualify for benefits. In contrast, Social Security pays far less and requires that you be unable to perform “any work.”

Social Security Disability in AZ

Social Security Disability in Arizona provides a financial safety net for most residents because the government requires participation through mandatory taxes. The state administers this federally-run two-part program.

  1. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) pays benefits to you and some family members if you worked long enough and paid FICA taxes
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) covers disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources

Pay Amount

People often learn the hard way that the amount that Social Security disability pays each month in Arizona is not enough to support a family. As primarily a federal safety net, the idea is to provide for basic needs only.

Plus, AZ is one of only five states that do not supplement SSI.

  • SSDI median benefit: $1,079
  • SSI maximum amounts
    • Eligible individual: $783
    • Eligible couple: $1,175
    • Essential person: $392

Approval Time

Often, the person filing the claim determines the length of time it takes to win approval for Social Security disability benefits. Your diagnosis and ability to complete the required paperwork as instructed influence how long you must wait for a final determination.

The state of Arizona adjudicates claims on behalf of its residents following rules established at the federal level. Therefore, estimate a timeframe of three to five months and chances of approval based on these national figures.

  • Initial Awards: 23%
  • Reconsideration Awards: 2%
  • Appeals Council Awards: 15%
  • Medical Denials: 25%
  • Technical Denials: 35%

AZ State Disability Benefits

Arizona state disability benefits are hit and miss because the local government does not require coverage for non-occupational (off-the-job) accidents and sicknesses. In many cases, each person must take proactive steps to safeguard their income – especially for the most frequent temporary conditions.

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s Compensation in Arizona provides disability benefits across the state for occupational (on-the-job) incidents. Most residents employed by companies and government agencies have this coverage because the law requires it.[1]

However, the self-employed, independent contractors and other sole proprietors are exempt from the requirement and should consider individual coverage. Worker’s Compensation offers four types of wage replacement based on whether the issue is temporary or permanent, partial, or total.

State Employees

State government employees in Arizona have access to the two types of disability insurance coverage noted above in the section about pregnancy.[2]

  1. Short-term is a voluntary (employee-paid) program that each person must purchase during an open enrollment period at work
  2. Long-term is a group (employer-paid) plan that enrolls all workers in one of two possible designs.
    1. Retirement System Participants
    2. Non-participants and others
      1. Corrections offices
      2. Elected officials
      3. University staff
      4. Public safety personnel

Footnoted Sources:

[1] Industrial Commission of AZ

[2] AZ Department Administration of Benefits