Is Short-Term Disability Mandatory in Your State?

Short-term disability insurance is sometimes mandatory depending on the state where you work – not where you live.

Plus, state government employees sometimes receive taxpayer-funded temporary disability benefits while the workers in private industry who support them have nothing.

In other words, your ability to apply for benefits is hit-or-miss based on odd criteria. You cannot assume that your local government will step in to replace income should you become unable to work because of an accident or sickness.

States with Compulsory Temporary Disability

The list of states that have a mandatory short-term disability program for workers in both private industry and public service jobs has only eight entries. It is easiest to get benefits for temporary income losses when your local government forces you to buy the coverage in advance.

At the time of publication, only seven states and one territory have this requirement. The highest-paying plan depends on your earnings while working as the percentage of pre-disability income and hard-dollar caps determine the monthly amount.

StatePercent LimitWeekly Maximum
New Jersey85%$903
New York50%$170
Rhode Island60%$887
Puerto Rico55%$746

States without Short-Term Disability Requirements

Unfortunately, the list of states that do not have a mandatory short-term disability plan for workers in private industry has far more entries. However, these same people often support benefits for government employees.

People working in these regions must purchase coverage through a private company to protect their wages from temporary work absences caused by non-occupational illnesses and injuries.


State Long-Term Disability

No state has mandatory long-term disability insurance because Social Security fills this void nationwide. However, the two programs do not pay very much.

  • SSDI has an average monthly benefit of $1,258
  • SSI pays even less per month, averaging $794

Therefore, some people buy extra coverage to supplement existing state-based coverage.