Qualifying For Short-Term Disability Benefits in Florida

Short-term disability insurance protects your income if a medical condition unrelated to your job prevents you from working temporarily.

Florida has no mandatory program covering income lost due to temporary non-occupational medical conditions.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), required by the federal government, covers conditions unrelated to work that last a year or more.

The Florida government mandates that workers’ compensation insurance cover on-the-job injuries, regardless of length.

To be eligible for non-occupational loss claims, you must purchase a short-term disability policy from a private insurer before any illness, injury, or pregnancy occurs.

Off-The-Job Disability

Florida workers may struggle to qualify for disability benefits after a non-work-related accident or illness if they lack insurance or if their recovery time is shorter than the eligibility period.

Short-Term Disability

Many people in Florida do not qualify for short-term disability benefits due to the absence of a mandatory state program, leaving them without coverage.

You must purchase a short-term disability policy before any health issues arise to be eligible to file a claim.

Two Applications

Workers in Florida must complete two applications in a specific sequence to qualify for short-term disability benefits.

First, workers in Florida must complete a new policy application to purchase short-term disability coverage.

  • During this process, they may need proof of good health and employment.
  • Workers can purchase these policies through their employer when available or outside of work as an individual.

Second, existing policyholders must file a claim by submitting a benefits application to their insurance provider. This form may require signatures from both a doctor and the employer.

Below are links to the online claims portals for several insurance companies.

AflacColonial LifeGuardian Life
MetLifeThe HartfordUnum

Maternity Leave

Many pregnant women in Florida do not qualify for short-term disability benefits. Women often must purchase a policy several months before conception to avoid two typical exclusions.

The legal wording may be similar to these example statements.

  1. “If you become disabled because of a pre-existing condition, the insurer will not pay for any disability period if it begins during the first twelve months the policy is in force.”
  2. “We will not pay benefits for any losses caused by your giving birth as a result of normal pregnancy within nine months after the policy effective date.”

Florida maternity leave laws offer job protections for many new parents but do not provide income support. The time off is unpaid unless an employer volunteers to offer more than the law requires.

Therefore, buying a short-term disability insurance policy is crucial for women during their childbearing years. Only couples undergoing IVF know precisely when they might conceive.  

Social Security Disability

Many Florida workers may not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if they recover from off-the-job accidents or illnesses in less than a year, as SSDI is intended for disabilities expected to last at least one year or result in death.

Participation in SSDI is mandatory for most workers. It is funded through payroll taxes, ensuring that most employed individuals in Florida are covered.

Start your SSDI application at SSA.gov if your non-occupational medical condition will keep you out of work for at least one year. The Division of Disability Determination will process your claim. You can contact them through three channels.

  1. Phone: 800-499-6590
  2. Fax: 850-617-4978
  3. Mail: P.O. Box 7118 Tallahassee, FL 32314-5270

Once again, buying a short-term disability insurance policy is crucial for women of childbearing age because most pregnancy-related job absences resolve in less than one year. Also, anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck will have difficulty surviving months without an income.

On-The-Job Disability

People working in Florida find it easier to qualify for disability coverage for on-the-job accidents. The state requires employers to purchase worker’s compensation insurance to protect their personnel from temporary and permanent conditions.

Therefore, most individuals have coverage and receive income support regardless of their recovery timetable.

Apply for Worker’s Compensation disability benefits by reporting the work-related injury to your employer within 30 days. You can also file a claim with the insurance carrier.

Temporary Disability

People employed in Florida who injured themselves on the job may qualify for temporary disability benefits through Worker’s Compensation Insurance. The income support can begin immediately and lasts up to 104 weeks.

  • Temporary Total Disability means you cannot work. You could receive 66.6% to 80% of wages, subject to a statewide maximum. Benefits begin after seven days unless the work absence lasts over twenty-one days.
  • Temporary Partial Disability means you can return to work with restrictions.

Permanent Total Disability

People employed in Florida who hurt themselves on the job may qualify for permanent total disability benefits through Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Permanent means your injuries are so severe that you will never recover enough to work again.

Please get in touch with the Bureau of Monitoring and Audit at 850-413-1608 to estimate benefit amounts and duration for permanent total disability.