Short-term disability insurance in Arizona provides crucial income replacement benefits for families who are unable to work due to a covered medical condition.

The state does not have laws mandating paid or unpaid job-protected leave. You may be facing extra out-of-pocket medical costs just when income stops.

Women planning a family can buy coverage that supports income. Learn how short-term disability in Arizona works for pregnancy and other medical conditions.

  • How to apply and calculate benefits
  • Pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave
  • Arizona disability laws and related regulations

Applying for Short-Term Disability in Arizona

Applying for short-term disability benefits in Arizona is the same as in any other state that does not have a government or public program. AZ does not have a state program that provides income replacement for temporary medical conditions.

You must complete a policy application form before you can file a claim form for benefits.

Filing a Claim for Benefits

You must purchase a private policy prior to becoming sick, suffering an injury, or becoming pregnant to qualify for benefits. The state will not help with any temporary medical conditions. A new policy will exclude preexisting health conditions for twelve months.

Debt Relief Application. Apply if you do not have private coverage already in force and you owe more than $10,000 in unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loans, medical bills). You may quickly fall behind on your obligations without an income coming in. A settlement program often provides the only form of financial help for residents unable to work.

Complete a disability claim form if you did purchase a private policy prior to becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. Download the carrier’s claim form and follow the instructions carefully. Your doctor and employer may need to sign the paperwork.

Applying for a New Policy

Apply to purchase a new policy to cover future accidents, illnesses, and pregnancies by completing a policy application form. You must be actively working, and able to provide evidence of good health.

Request a disability quote form if you do not have a preexisting health condition, and your employer does not offer a voluntary option. If you are planning a pregnancy, follow the link in the section about maternity leave coverage, as special considerations apply.

Benefit Calculations

An individual short-term disability policy in Arizona replaces a portion of income when the policyholder is unable to work due to a covered sickness or accident. Calculating the benefits of a policy is straightforward. There are three primary inputs: monthly amount, elimination period, and payment duration.

  1. The maximum monthly benefits amount ranges up to 2/3 of monthly gross income, to a hard dollar cap as high as $6,500 per month. Each company sets different standards.
  2. The elimination period describes how quickly benefits begin after a period of continuous disability. Elimination periods start at zero days for accidents and range to 90 days for illnesses.
  3. The payment duration describes how long payments last after meeting the elimination period during a continuous disability. Payment durations can be as short as three months, and as long as twenty-four months.

Arizona Short-Term Disability Maternity Leave

Having a baby in Arizona without short-term disability insurance for maternity is like taking a long walk in the desert without a canteen full of water. At some point, you know you will be thirsty. Women taking maternity leave often do so without any pay. They stop working to deliver their baby and recover from childbirth. Only their employer does not provide paid leave. Buy a policy before getting pregnant and have some income coming in while you bond with your baby.

Short-term disability for maternity leave makes cash payments directly to you for six to eight weeks depending upon the type of delivery. The premium a typical policyholder might pay over the course of a year may be only ⅓ of what the carrier returns in income support for a normal labor and delivery.

Do not take chances on something going wrong when you come out way ahead when something goes right: you have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby.

Pregnancy Bed Rest

Things do not always go right, and at no additional cost, you have important coverage that protects against common maladies associated with childbirth. Twenty-five percent of women will experience complications prior to delivery.

Many times gynecologists prescribe bed rest – sometimes it lasts for weeks, others for months, and some may last a trimester or longer. Many families cannot afford to miss mom’s income that long. Make sure your policy begins prior to conception to avoid preexisting condition exclusions.

Postpartum Complications

In addition, after delivery complications can crop up as well: hemorrhaging, infections and other problems are common and may delay your return to work. Your policy may continue to support your income during these trials provided your doctor certifies the medical reasons behind why you cannot fulfill your job duties, and your employer confirms that you are no longer earning an income through them.

Arizona Short-Term Disability Laws

Arizona short-term disability insurance laws do not mandate coverage. You need to purchase a private policy in order to qualify for benefits if you are unable to work due to a temporary medical condition.

State Program

There is no such thing as the Arizona state temporary disability program. Only five states have such a law on the books. The state does not offer a program to private workers.

Residents living in the western portion of AZ may have access to state benefits if they commute across the Colorado River to work in California. Eligibility depends on what state you work in, not where you live. The same rule works in reverse for those commuting eastward into Arizona. State payments are lost for this employee segment.

SSD Benefits

Arizona manages Social Security Disability, which pays only for total permanent impairments. Partial and short-term conditions are not covered. If you are permanently unable to work at any job, you should contact the Arizona Disability Determination Services. This state department administers claims for Arizona residents.

There are two offices located in the state:

4000 North Central Avenue, Suite 1800
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Professional Relations Officer
602-771-7100 5441

East 22nd Street, Suite 135
Tucson, AZ 85711
Professional Relations Officer


Arizona FMLA and short-term disability insurance are two more myths. Many residents learn the hard way that they do not live in a nanny state. They must exercise self-reliance and take proactive steps to protect their finances in case of an extended absence from work.

  • The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law providing unpaid job-protections. There is no Arizona counterpart that extends rights beyond 12 weeks or below the 50 employee threshold.
  • Short-term disability in Arizona replaces a portion of income and is completely voluntary. There is no AZ law mandating the coverage.

Image credit: kbuntu / 123RF Stock Photo