Illinois does not provide state short-term disability benefits for workers in private industry. Nor do any laws require employers to make an option available to employees.

People who work in the state must purchase private coverage to protect their income in case of off-the-job injuries and sicknesses – before the need arises. Carriers can deny an application submitted by people with preexisting health conditions.

Follow this five-part outline to find answers to common questions about short-term disability insurance in Illinois.

  1. Which application forms to complete
  2. Covering pregnancy and maternity leave
  3. Pay benefit amounts for various programs
  4. Labor laws protecting job rights
  5. Government agencies offering financial assistance

Illinois Short-Term Disability Applications

Short-term disability insurance applications in Illinois reveal a common pitfall. The state does not require private employers to purchase coverage on behalf of workers.

Residents must purchase coverage on their own before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

Filing a Claim Form

Filing a claim form for short-term disability in Illinois requires that the person has a private policy in force first. Many site visitors do not meet this crucial rule. Find several alternatives that might help.

  • 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 personal loan to obtain extra funding while out of work temporarily. Do not borrow money unless you are certain that you will be able to return to work. You do not want to make a bad situation worse by taking on unaffordable debt.

Apply for benefits by filing a claim form if you did purchase a private policy before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. Download the claim form from the issuer’s website. Follow the instructions carefully, and provide complete documentation.

New Policy Application

Complete a short-term disability application form to begin a new policy. An agent licensed in the state of Illinois will assist you. The insurance company will evaluate your application and determine if you meet their qualifications.

  • You must be able to show evidence of good health. Be prepared to answer detailed medical questions.
  • The policy will not cover preexisting medical conditions for twelve months. This excludes pregnant women, people with pending surgeries, and patients with abnormal lab results.

Begin the process by requesting a quote. The online form will require you to input your gender, age, income, height and weight, tobacco usage, and identifying information.

Short-Term Disability Pregnancy Illinois

Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy is an ideal purchase choice for Illinois women. 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. However, make certain to purchase coverage before becoming pregnant. If you are already pregnant, it is too late to take advantage.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Request a short-term disability quote to cover pregnancy-related medical complications. Again, this step makes sense only if you are not already expecting.

In Illinois, individual policies purchased outside of employer groups may cover medical complications of pregnancy that arise prior to delivery. 25% of women experience one or more medical complications while expecting. Therefore, the chances that a woman might miss work before giving birth are very high.

Bed rest by itself is not a qualifying medical condition. Your doctor must certify the medical reason why you are unable to work.

Maternity Leave

Short-term disability covers maternity leave when the policy covers mom’s recovery from normal labor and delivery. In Illinois, not every policy type offers this popular feature.

  • Vaginal delivery – payments last 6 weeks less the elimination period
  • C-section birth – payments last 8 weeks less the elimination period

Personal plans purchase through employer groups offer coverage for mom’s normal labor and delivery. Individual programs bought outside of the worksite do not.

Women who want these better benefits should ask their employer to offer a voluntary option. Employees pay the premium themselves. Therefore, businesses face no direct cost in allowing paid maternity leave options.

The alternative is to go outside the worksite to purchase a plan covering complications only.

Illinois Short-Term Disability Pay Benefits

The amount of short-term disability pay benefits varies widely in Illinois.

Residents with the foresight to purchase a private policy enjoy up to 2/3 income replacement. The benefits begin after satisfying an elimination period. The claims payments last up until the stated benefit period, or when the person is able to return to work.

Residents who did not purchase a private policy face haphazard options for income replacement.

State Disability Benefits

Illinois does not have state short-term disability insurance covering off-the-job accidents and illnesses. The pay amount is zero. Therefore, residents facing missed work must look elsewhere for benefits.

No state law requires participation by employers or employees. Each employer decides for itself whether to offer a program to its workers. Each employee decides for him or herself whether to participate.

Unemployment & Disability

Collecting unemployment for health reasons after an employee disability is viable under Illinois law. The monthly pay amount depends on earnings while employed. Benefits last up to 26 weeks.

However, this entitlement has several significant limitations. The most significant requirement is the need to recover from the medical condition first. The unemployed person must meet all of these criteria.

  • Employer is subject to the unemployment law
  • Entirely out of work or working less than full-time
  • Able and available to work
  • Actively seeking work and willing to accept suitable employment
  • Quit your job with good cause or terminated through no fault of your own

Voluntarily leaving for good cause includes “because he or she is deemed physically unable to perform his or her work by a licensed and practicing physician.”1

Social Security Disability

The state of Illinois does administer the Social Security disability programs in partnership with the federal government.

  • Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) covers workers who contributed into the system. The amount of monthly pay benefit depends on prior earnings.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) covers the aged, blind, and impaired people with little or no income or resources. The amount of monthly pay benefit is much smaller.

County Disability Determination Services offices make qualification decisions. Social Security does not cover temporary medical conditions. Doctors must expect the health condition to last one year or longer, or to result in death.2

Temporary Disability Benefits

Illinois Workers Compensation temporary disability benefits cover on-the-job accidents and sicknesses. The monthly pay amount is 2/3 of gross income. However, the replacement income is tax-free.

The Workers Compensation Act covers any employee employed in the State of Illinois. You are eligible for benefits regardless of fault for work-related injuries and occupational diseases, which include the following.3

  • Medical care to cure or relieve the condition
  • Temporary total disability benefits to replace income
  • Temporary partial disability payments for workers on light duty
  • Vocational and rehabilitation services
  • Permanent partial disability benefits for employees who can still work
  • Permanent total disability payments for people who can never work again

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.

Illinois Short-Term Disability Laws

Illinois does not have the one short-term disability insurance law that many site visitors want. The state does not offer or require coverage for employees in private industry.4

However, several state and federal laws do offer important protections and rights to impaired individuals and their families.

Federal Laws

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal regulation that applies to qualified workers in Illinois. Under FMLA, unpaid job protections last for up to twelve weeks for employees taking a disability leave from work. FMLA also offers similar protections for their family caregivers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a second federal law that applies to qualified workers in Illinois. Under ADA, a covered employer must make reasonable accommodations for impaired workers meeting eligibility guidelines.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables the restricted person to perform essential job functions.

Human Rights Act

The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship status (with regard to employment) ancestry, age (40 and over), order of protection status, marital status, familial status (with regard to housing), physical or mental disability, arrest record, military status, sexual orientation, and unfavorable discharge from military service.5

Public Employee Disability Act

The Illinois Public Employee Disability Act protects government workers who face dangerous working conditions. The law provides full regular earning for up to one year for eligible employees injured on the job. This amount is more generous that workers compensation.

The law applies to a specific segment of public employees

  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Corrections officers
  • Psychiatric hospital workers6

Illinois Agencies Offering Financial Assistance

A variety of state-based government departments and non-profit agencies offer disability services and financial assistance to residents of Illinois. Follow the reference links at the bottom of the page for further information about each of these resources.

Department of Human Services

The Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services is the state’s leading agency serving people with special needs. The division provides resources that help target residents to find employment, live independently, enroll in appropriate schools, and to advocate for themselves.7

The Department of Human Services also administers the Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD) cash assistance program. Eligible residents receive cash and medical assistance and may gain access to Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP).

Disability Rights Bureau

The Illinois Attorney General oversees the Disability Rights Bureau. The Bureau enforces state and federal laws that protect the rights of citizens with special needs. These rights include equal access to buildings, housing, and services.8

Aging Resource Center

The Illinois Aging and Disability Resource Center connects people with government resources and services. They serve the elderly, adults with physical and developmental impairments, and the families that care for these consumers.9

Contact the ADRC in your county of residence.

Pooled Trust

The Illinois Disability Association is the creator and co-trustee of the Pooled Trust program. This non-profit agency helps families set up and fund Special Needs Trusts (SNT). Families can use the money in an SNT to supplement government benefits, which target food, clothing, and shelter.10

Disability and Health Program

The Illinois Department of Public Health in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago administers the Disability and Health Program. The goal of the program is to promote and maximize health, prevent chronic disease, improve emergency preparedness for this vulnerable population.11

Financial assistance for unpaid medical bills is available via private companies and government agencies.

Property Tax Exemption

The Illinois Compiled Statutes permit a property tax exemption for homeowners with disabilities. The rule allows an annual $2,000 reduction in the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) for the primary residence owned and occupied by a diminished individual.

The reduction in EAV is higher for disabled veterans.12

Health Benefits

The Illinois Health Benefits for Disabled Workers helps people with special needs to return to the workforce without losing Medicaid coverage. The Medicaid income and resource requirements often act as a disincentive to full-time gainful employment.

Qualified enrollees can earn up to $3,400 per month and have up to $25,000 in countable assets.13

Sources

  1. Unemployment Law
  2. Disability Determination
  3. Workers Compensation
  4. Teacher Retirement System
  5. Human Rights Act
  6. Public Employees Act
  7. Department of Human Services
  8. Attorney General
  9. ADRC
  10. Pooled Trust
  11. Disability and Health Program
  12. Property Tax Exemption
  13. Health Benefits
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