Short-Term & Temporary Disability in Arizona | Qualifications

Many want to know what qualifies for short-term or temporary disability in Arizona. Often, they ask the question after it is too late.

The most critical requirement is that you have coverage in force before suffering an accident or sickness preventing you from working and earning an income.

For the sake of simplicity, we define the problem into two categories.  

Voluntary short-term disability covers off-the-job accidents and illnesses lasting less than one year for people purchasing a policy in advance.

Mandatory temporary disability covers more workers but for two specific situations: on-the-job incidents and non-occupational losses lasting one year or more.

Short-Term Disability in AZ

People wondering what qualifies for short-term disability in Arizona often overlook the most critical criteria. To be eligible for benefits, you must purchase a policy covering off-the-job losses before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

How to Apply

You cannot apply for short-term disability benefits in Arizona unless you purchase a policy in advance because the state does not require the program. Therefore, you might need to identify alternatives.

Other Programs

If you need money you don’t pay back, other government programs can reduce expenses to help you survive. Apply for various benefits set aside for low-income families in Arizona.

The qualifying criterion for many programs is your projected income, which could be substantially lower after you stop working. Best of all, you might be eligible without buying coverage beforehand.

Request Quote

Begin a short-term disability quote to start the new policy application process to protect your income from future illnesses, accidents, and pregnancies. An agent licensed in Arizona can provide an estimated premium cost hinging on three feature choices.

  1. Benefit Period: how long claim payments last
  2. Benefit Amount: how much the policy pays each month
  3. Elimination Period: how quickly claims begin

Filing Claims

Apply for short-term disability benefits by filing a claim with the issuing insurance company – provided you purchased coverage in advance. Download the claim form and follow the instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary delays.

Submit the completed claim form with three signatures.

  1. Covered policyholders verifying truthful statements
  2. Physician certifying the medical reason you cannot work
  3. Employer verifying the insured is not earning an income  

State Disability

Arizona does have a state-mandated short-term disability covering non-occupational conditions lasting less than one year. You must purchase a policy through a private insurance company (see above).


The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) does not offer short-term disability. State Medicaid recipients will have to look elsewhere for financial support while unable to work.

AHCCCS recipients are often eligible for home repair grants available to low-income families through at least three federal initiatives.

  1. Weatherization Assistance Program
  2. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  3. Equipment Rebates via the Inflation Reduction Act

State Employees

Arizona offers short-term disability to its state government employees. However, the program is voluntary, not mandatory or taxpayer-funded.

State government employees can sign up during their initial or annual open enrollment period and pay the premiums through a payroll deduction.

Apply for benefits after a six-month waiting period if you did not purchase a policy in advance. The state funds the premiums for a long-term disability program, courtesy of your fellow taxpayers.


The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and short-term disability work the same way in Arizona and nationwide. They represent two distinct programs with unique criteria that some people can use while unable to work due to severe medical conditions.  

Comparing short-term disability versus FMLA reveals many differences, with the two most critical distinctions being obvious.

  • FMLA is a federal law providing twelve weeks of unpaid job and health benefits protection for eligible employees working for covered employers.
  • Short-term disability replaces a portion of income after a covered accident or illness for people who purchased a policy in advance.

Pregnancy Leave

Short-term disability covering pregnancy highlights several distinctions women of childbearing age should know. The most critical and universal requirement is that coverage must begin before conception.

Arizona does not require paid maternity leave. Therefore, mothers need to think ahead while in the planning stages and purchase a policy from a private insurance company to avoid two standard exclusions.

  • Will not pay benefits for childbirth occurring sooner than nine months after the policy’s effective date
  • Will not honor claims for any pre-existing condition until twelve months after the policy effective date

Temporary Disability in AZ

It is much easier to apply for temporary disability benefits in Arizona because more people meet the number one qualification; most residents have coverage before becoming sick or injured.

A government entity requires coverage for occupational incidents and off-the-job losses lasting one year or longer.

Social Security

The federal government requires most workers in Arizona to fund premiums for temporary disability insurance covering losses occurring off-the-job through FICA payroll taxes. Therefore, many people meet the primary requirement before an incident: coverage.

Apply for temporary disability benefits through Social Security if you expect your medical condition to last more than one year. Pay no attention to pundits declaring that this program is only for permanent or long-term maladies.

Instead, rely on the definition published by the Social Security Administration.

“To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) that is either:

  • Expected to result in death
  • Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months”

Workers Compensation

The state government in Arizona requires employers to purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which provides temporary disability coverage for occupational losses. Therefore, most people meet the number one qualification of having a policy already in force.

Apply for temporary disability through Workers’ Compensation by promptly reporting any on-the-job accident to your employer, who should file a claim with the insurance company on your behalf.

Your employer should provide you with a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury (102 or Pink Form), which your doctor should complete and submit. If this process breaks down, you can file a Workers’ Report of Injury (Form 407).