How long does short-term disability insurance last in Florida? How much does it pay for off-the-job accidents and illnesses?

Florida does not have a state-mandated program covering temporary disabilities. Therefore, the answer is commonly zero days, and zero dollars.

This does not have to happen to you. Purchase an individual policy before the need arises. If you arrive here too late, explore several options for financial assistance.

  • Requirements for financial assistance and new purchases
  • Options for covering pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave
  • Other state-based income benefits and labor laws

Florida Short-Term Disability Requirements

The number one Florida short-term disability insurance requirement is simple. The state does not offer or mandate a program covering off-the-job injuries or illnesses.

 Residents must purchase a private policy prior to becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. 

This requirement means that you must complete a policy application form before filing a claim for benefits. A new policy will exclude any pre-existing condition for at least twelve months.

Many people overlook this requirement and must find alternatives.

Temporary Disability Assistance

Florida does not have a state-based program providing financial assistance for temporary disabilities. It may be difficult for families to stay current on bills with the loss of one income. These two private programs could help.

  1. Are you eligible to borrow money? A personal loan can help people stay current on their rent, mortgage, and car payment while not working. Be very careful when taking this step. You will have to repay the lender with interest. Make certain that you will be able to return to work within a certain period, and that your employer will hold your job open.
  2. A debt settlement program may be your best option if you already owe more than $10,000 in unsecured obligations (credit cards, personal loan, or unpaid medical bills). If you are unable to work even temporarily, the combination of lost income and extra medical expenses will make it very hard to stay current on these existing payments.

Individual Policies

Individual short-term disability insurance in Florida comes in two different formats with similar requirements. The number one rule still applies to both types. You must purchase individual coverage before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. A new policy will exclude pre-existing conditions for one year.

  1. Request a private short-term disability quote to cover future accidents and illnesses. Private plans may also cover complications of pregnancy – but not mom’s recovery from labor and delivery. An agent will assist you in completing a new policy application form while at home.
  2. Voluntary plans are available only at the worksite. Individual employees own the coverage, not the employer group. This format provides better benefits. Mom can enjoy maternity leave pay while bonding with her baby. Complete the new policy application form at the office.

Claim Forms

Applying for short-term disability benefits in Florida requires that you file a claim form with the company who issued the policy. Download the claims form from the carrier’s website, and follow the written instructions carefully.

Benefit applicants must first satisfy any preexisting condition limitations. A doctor must sign the claim form. The paperwork must indicate the medical reason you are unable to perform the duties of your primary occupation.

Short-Term Disability and Pregnancy Florida

Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy and maternity leave are very popular with Florida women. Childbirth is a frequent and often planned medical event. Therefore, women should proactively purchase the best policy choice before conception.

Do not overlook these basic requirements and rules.

  • You must enroll prior to conception to be eligible
  • Pregnancy is a pre-existing condition excluded for 12 months
  • Limited financial aid exists for some expectant mothers
  • Private and voluntary plans work similarly during pregnancy bed rest
  • Worksite-based coverage helps with recovery from childbirth

Pregnancy Bed Rest

Both short-term disability policy types in Florida cover pregnancy bed rest provided mom begins the coverage prior to conception. Once she is already pregnant, it is too late.

A normal pregnancy is not a disabling medical condition. However, many women experience complications that prevent them from working before her due date. Both policies should honor claims when a doctor indicates the medical reason why mom is unable to work.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave short-term disability in Florida makes benefit payments when normal childbirth occurs more than nine months after the policy effective date.

  • Vaginal delivery qualifies for a six-week payment.
  • C-section deliveries allow for an additional two weeks during recovery.

Private policies bought outside of the worksite do not cover mom’s recovery from normal labor and delivery. Voluntary plans purchased through employers and paid by employees do offer this popular benefit.

The most important requirement is to have your employer offer a voluntary option for women needing maternity leave income. The policies are employee paid so this hurdle is very low.

Ask your employer to make a voluntary option available. This way, you and your female co-workers have access to paid maternity leave.

Florida State Short-Term Disability Benefits

Florida does not provide state short-term disability benefits for off-the-job accidents and sicknesses. It does not have a state law mandating coverage. Employers are free to offer an option – or not. Workers must purchase a private policy if they want to protect their income.

On the other hand, several labor laws and alternative government entitlement programs sometimes offer help replacing income or protecting rights.


Attempting to collect unemployment benefits is a poor substitute for short-term disability insurance. Florida unemployment laws do not allow disabled workers to file a claim.

  • You must be physically able to work and seeking employment
  • Terminating a job due to disability is often not a “good cause” reason

Workers who are laid off during a period of disability have a stronger case.

Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal labor law that applies to Florida residents experiencing a short-term disability. FMLA may cover the person who is unable to work as well as any family members that must provide care at home.

FMLA confers two primary rights to disabled workers and their families.

  1. 12-weeks of unpaid job-protected leave
  2. Continued access to medical insurance

FMLA covers approximately 40% of Florida workers. The law has employer size and hours worked qualifying criteria.

Workers Compensation

Florida workers compensation insurance replaces a portion of income for temporary disability caused by an on-the-job accident or illness. It also pays for a patient’s medical treatment associated with a work-related injury or sickness.

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical tests
  • Prescription drugs
  • Prostheses

Workers compensation also replaces a portion of income for partial and total temporary disabilities. File the claim form with your employer’s insurance company for work-related incidents.

  • Temporary total – up to 66% of regular wages subject to a statewide cap
  • Temporary partial – you are unable to earn 80% of wages

Social Security

Short-term disability through Florida Social Security will only help residents with permanent medical conditions. The two Social Security programs do not cover temporary disabilities.

  1. SSDI – Social Security Disability Income covers people with sufficient income credits
  2. SSI – Supplemental Security Income covers the aged, blind, and low-income earners

The Florida State Department of Health Division of Disability Determination makes decisions regarding medical eligibility under the Social Security Income and Medically Needy program. You must demonstrate that the condition will last a year or longer or result in death.

Applicants waiting for approval have few avenues for monetary assistance.


Medicaid does not include short-term disability benefits in Florida. The Medicaid program pays for the medical care an injured or sick person might need. However, it does not replace income for members who are unable to work.

On the other hand, Medicaid eligibility is income-based. Residents who are out of work for an extended period often meet the income criteria at some point.