Individual Short-Term Disability Not Through Employers

What should you do if your employer doesn’t offer short-term disability as an employee benefit? How do you protect your income from off-the-job accidents and illnesses?

Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck with little money in savings. Even a temporary loss of earnings can lead to financial catastrophe: missed mortgage or rent payments.

Your major medical insurance will pay the doctor and hospital bills for an illness or injury that prevents you from working but does not replace your income. How do you safeguard your lifestyle?

Signing up for individual short-term disability insurance, not through your employer, is one alternative, while asking them to offer a voluntary option is the other.  

Outside of Employer

Individual short-term disability insurance not through an employer may cost more and cover fewer conditions. Still, at least you can protect your income from accidents and illnesses that prevent you from working.

Buying On Your Own

You can buy individual short-term disability on your own without going through your employer, but it will cost more because the issuing company cannot pool risks with your co-workers.

Use our short-term disability cost calculator to estimate your premium rates. When completing the initial application, your chosen policy features dictate your monthly cost.

  • Monthly Amount
  • Elimination Period
  • Benefit Length

Request a short-term disability quote once you find a feature combination that fits your budget. An agent licensed in your state will provide the final numbers and submit the new policy application for underwriting review.

Non-Employer Coverage

Not all companies offer short-term disability, which explains why many people need to buy individual coverage without going through their employer. However, before signing up on your own, become aware of the disability income insurance you might already have.

  • Social Security covers temporary disabilities lasting twelve months or longer but does not pay very much, and qualifying is exceptionally challenging because you must be unable to perform any work instead of your occupation
  • State-mandated temporary disability covers individuals working (not living) in seven states: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington
  • Workers Compensation addresses off-the-job accidents and illnesses exclusively

Individual Policies

Individual short-term disability insurance is the primary alternative to creating a financial safety net when your employer does not offer the benefit. However, the coverage has two subcategories with distinct pros and cons that become most apparent during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Coverage

Individual short-term disability insurance for pregnancy is where the distinction between private and personal coverage becomes most critical. Women desire income replacement benefits during maternity leave for obvious reasons.

The valid medical reasons for a short-term disability during pregnancy vary based on where you purchased your coverage – so pay close attention.

  • Private coverage bought outside of employers does not cover a mom’s recovery from labor and delivery. Still, it could honor claims for a complicated pregnancy leave before birth and postpartum medical disorders that delay her return to work.
  • Personal policies purchased through employers cover recovery from normal childbirth, plus pregnancy and postpartum leave.
    • Vaginal delivery: six weeks
    • C-Section birth: eight weeks

Private Disability

Private short-term disability insurance is individual coverage you buy outside your employer. You pay the premiums by check or direct debit from your checking account and own the policy yourself.

  • Convenience is the primary advantage of private short-term disability because you do not need to go through your employer. Contact an insurance agent licensed in your state to complete an application.
  • Cost, eligibility, and benefits are the drawbacks to private short-term disability when the insurance company cannot pool risks with your co-workers. Your monthly premiums will be higher, you will have to provide evidence of good health to qualify, and the policy may restrict benefits for pregnancy.

Request a quote for private short-term disability to start the process. Connect with an agent licensed in your state to complete and submit a new policy application.

Personal Disability

Personal short-term disability insurance is individual coverage you obtain through your employer. You pay the initial premiums through payroll deduction, but the policy is portable if you terminate employment.

  • Convenience is the primary drawback to personal short-term disability because your employer must offer the benefit – and many do not. However, because employees pay the premiums, the employer has no direct costs.
  • Cost, eligibility, and benefits are the advantages of personal short-term disability because the insurance company can pool risks with your co-workers. Your monthly premiums will be lower, qualifications will be less stringent, and the policy will have more generous benefits for pregnancy.  

Ask your employer to offer personal short-term disability. They are more likely to agree when you and your co-workers volunteer to pay the premiums themselves. You will be surprised at how many fellow employees value the financial safety net and choose to participate.