Illinois short-term disability insurance is an important benefit if you are planning a pregnancy, or concerned about paying bills if you miss work temporarily. Protect your income by purchasing a policy.
The need is most acute for women working in the private sector. Learn how short-term disability in Illinois works.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that the state offers a program that automatically enrolls every worker in private industry.
- Claims and policy application forms
- Pregnancy and maternity leave
- Illinois laws and related regulations
Illinois Short Term Disability Application
There are several important short-term disability insurance forms and requirements for policies in Illinois. Complete a claims form when applying for benefits, and a policy application form when purchasing coverage.
The state of Illinois does not offer a temporary disability program for private workers, so the number one requirement is the purchase of a private policy before getting sick, hurt, or pregnant.
Application for Benefits
You cannot file a claim for benefits unless you purchase a private policy in advance of your need. New policies contain a twelve-month exclusion for preexisting conditions. Therefore, many site visitors will need to explore other avenues for financial assistance.
Debt relief application. Choose this option if you already owe more than $10,000 in credit card and other unsecured debt. With a temporary loss of income combined with extra medical bills, you may fall hopelessly behind on payments. A settlement program may help.
Request a short-term loan if you do not have private coverage already in force. Provide for immediate cash needs if you were relying on a state program, or you did not purchase a private policy in time.
Apply for short-term disability benefits if you did purchase a private policy before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. Download the form from the issuer’s website. Follow the instructions carefully, and provide complete documentation.
If the carrier denies your claim, many attorneys will be happy to charge a fee to assist in resubmitting your claim. Before taking this step, make sure your paperwork is accurate, complete, and well supported.
Attorney’s fees are more cost effective with Social Security and long-term disability claims disputes. Temporary policies have more favorable definitions, and the claims amounts are smaller as they do not last as long.
Policy Application Forms
Complete a short-term disability application form to begin your policy. An agent licensed in the state of Illinois will assist you. Remember that you must be able to show evidence of good health, and a new policy will not cover preexisting medical conditions for twelve months.
Begin the process by requesting a quote. An agent will assist you in completing the policy application form. Policies covering normal childbirth are the most popular form but are only available through employer groups. Decide if you prefer something more convenient with lesser value.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) offers voluntary short-term disability to its employees, but not its members. You must be a BCBS employee to take advantage.
BCBS primarily provides traditional healthcare plans, which make payments to medical providers but do not replace income. You need a separate policy from another carrier.
Illinois Short Term Disability Maternity Leave
Short-term disability insurance does cover maternity leave in Illinois. Mom’s recovery from normal childbirth is included under many policies, but not all. Only policies addressing normal childbirth provide maternity leave income replacement.
If you are planning to get pregnant or are undergoing infertility treatments, you are expecting to take time away from work to deliver a baby, recover from childbirth, and connect with your newborn. Do not pass up on an opportunity to buy a policy that supports your income while you take leave from work.
Individual short-term disability policies purchased online may replace a portion of mom’s income during pregnancy if she must stop work prior to delivery because of medical complications.
Bed rest by itself is not a qualifying medical condition. Your doctor must certify the medical reason why you are unable to work.
Recovery from Childbirth
Short-term disability for maternity leave means that the policy pays benefits for normal labor and delivery. Only employee benefits programs cover mom’s recovery from normal childbirth.
When normal delivery occurs nine months after the effective date, the policy pays a six-week benefit for a vaginal birth and an eight-week benefit for your C-section delivery.
The premium paid to address your normal childbirth also covers you in the case of unexpected medical events that you may encounter while carrying your baby before delivery, after you give birth, if you suffer an injury, or get sick.
Illinois Short-Term Disability Laws
Illinois has very few short-term disability insurance laws, which might pertain to private workers in the state. Public workers enjoy far more legal protections.
Illinois laws do not require state short-term disability benefits. There is no law requiring employers to provide coverage or to offer a voluntary option.
However, since voluntary policies can be 100% employee paid, there should be no compelling reason for employers not to offer an option.
Illinois law does require that health plans cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. These treatments often preceded a period of temporary disability by nine months.
Purchase a private policy prior to conception to take advantage.
Federal laws require that workers with permanent medical conditions receive Social Security. You may qualify for federal entitlements if you are disabled, and expect your condition to last for more than one year.
Contact the Illinois Office of Disability Determination. There are 52 offices located throughout the state.
Teacher Retirement System
The Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS) provides temporary, nonoccupational disability coverage to members with three or more years of service. Teachers must exhaust sick leave before claims payments begin.
Family Leave Laws
Illinois family leave laws provide an option to collect unemployment compensation while unable to work. Only six states define a “compelling family reason” as an employee’s own disability.
Illinois law requires that state employees be provided paid parental leave for 20 days. Both fathers and mothers qualify to care for a newborn or adopted child. State employees are also allowed up to a year of “family responsibility leave.”
- Social Security – IL Disability Determination Svcs
- State Worker Paid Leave – IL Admin Code 303.130
- State Worker Family Leave – IL Admin Code 303/148
- Teacher Retirement System – Illinois TRS
- Image credit: kbuntu / 123RF Stock Photo