Applying for disability benefits in Louisiana requires a roadmap and sometimes planning and action. Fast processing of your claim can make a big difference for people unable to work.
Therefore, it pays to sweat the details.
Residents with temporary medical conditions (lasting less than one year) can file a claim with a private insurance company – if they purchased coverage in advance. Buy a new policy today to avoid problems in the future.
Workers with long-term conditions (lasting more than one year) can turn to Social Security Disability since the government requires participation – unlike with temporary needs. Complete an online application to start the process.
Short-Term Disability in Louisiana
Applying for short-term disability benefits in Louisiana is rarely a fruitful exercise. You must purchase private coverage in advance of your need to file a claim that an insurance company will honor. Many people overlook two critical points.
- The state does not offer a program covering temporary medical conditions
- Social Security Disability does not pay for losses lasting less than 12 months
Filing a Claim
File a claim for short-term disability benefits by contacting the company that issued your policy. Since Louisiana does not have a state-mandated program, only people who purchased private coverage BEFORE becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant qualify to file a claim.
Download the claim form from the issuing company’s website, or log into the policyholder web portal. Follow the instructions carefully. You will need signatures from your doctor to verify the medical condition, and your employer to confirm that you are no longer working.
Opportunities for financial help during a temporary disability are very sparse. If you chose not to purchase private coverage, your options for assistance are few.
- Taking out an emergency loan
- Enrolling in a debt management program
- Food Stamps (TANF)
- Subsidized Healthcare
Buying a Policy
Request a short-term disability quote to purchase coverage BEFORE becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. You must be healthy enough to pass the new policy underwriting criteria. Also, any new policy will contain a 12-month exclusion for any pre-existing conditions.
An agent licensed in Louisiana may contact you to present cost figures for a variety of policy configurations. The agent can help you complete a new policy application and submit it to the insurance company for review. These factors will affect premium rates.
- Elimination Period: how long before the policy pays benefits after a covered loss
- Monthly Amount: the dollar amount the policy pays for each month you remain disabled
- Benefit Period: how long the plan continues to pay benefits while you stay disabled
Pregnancy Disability Leave
Buying a private short-term disability insurance policy from an agent licensed in Louisiana BEFORE CONCEPTION is the best way to ensure income benefits during a pregnancy disability leave. Many women must stop working weeks or months before her due date because of medical complications.
A short-term disability policy may replace a portion of income during this time, giving mom the ability to follow her doctor’s order for bed rest. However, the place where you purchase coverage determines coverage after labor and delivery.
- Policies bought outside of employers do not cover recovery from labor and delivery
- Worksite-based coverage paid via payroll deduction does cover normal childbirth
Louisiana Social Security Disability
Louisiana Social Security Disability benefits help more residents because the government automatically enrolls workers in the coverage. Both employers and employees contribute to the system equally through payroll taxes, which appear on your paystubs as FICA.
FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, and all workers pay a portion of their gross wages up to preset limits.
|Employer Pays||Employee Pays|
Applying for SSDI
Apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits if you worked and paid FICA taxes long enough to qualify, or you connect to someone who did. Three groups of people are eligible to file a claim.
- Insured workers under 65
- Disabled since childhood dependent of a deceased insured parent
- Widow or widower of the dead covered spouse
Financial assistance while waiting for approval may help a little during the interim. Cut expenses as much as possible because many people do not qualify on the first review. The criteria are rigorous.
Also, SSDI does not cover temporary disabilities. Your medical condition must limit your ability to perform “basic work” for at least 12 months. Basic work includes the following:
The Louisiana disability application is online at the federal website. You can begin your claim from the comfort of your home without driving to a local Social Security Disability office. Or, you can also call at 1-800-772-1213. The deaf or hard of hearing can communicate via text at TTY 1-800-325-0778. Finally, you can apply in person at a local Disability Determinations office. Make an appointment first.
The local Louisiana Disability Determinations office will process your application for benefits. The claim that you submit online at the federal website will route to a regional office in either Baton Rouge, Shreveport, or Metairie for the medical determination. You may need to follow up with the office to provide additional documentation if required.
Applying for SSI
Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you did not work and pay FICA taxes to fund the system or do not meet the other connecting qualifiers noted above. The SSI program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources.
The average monthly benefit for SSI recipients in Louisiana is $398, whereas it is $834 for SSDI; this illustrates the importance of contributing to the system before taking something back. Also, expect to show that you have insufficient resources to support yourself. Resources include cash held in checking, savings, and money market accounts as an example.