Short-Term Disability Michigan Requirements: How to Apply

Short-term disability insurance in Michigan works differently than many people assume. You must take action in advance to protect your income.

The state does not provide or require a program covering off-the-job (non-occupational) accidents or illnesses.

You must apply to purchase a policy before getting sick, hurt, or pregnant to qualify to file a claim for these benefits.

On the other hand, the government mandates coverage for two temporary disability programs: Workers’ Compensation (occupational) and Social Security (non-occupational lasting at least twelve months).

You can apply for these benefits without having to purchase a policy first.

How to Apply for Short-Term Disability in MI

The process for applying for short-term disability in Michigan covering off-the-job (non-occupational) conditions has two steps because the state does not require the program. It is voluntary, meaning you must take the first step before the second.

  1. Buying a new policy to cover future accidents and illnesses
  2. Filing a claim connected to past accidents or sicknesses

Private Employers

People working for private entities in Michigan should buy short-term disability at work because the pricing and benefits are typically better. However, the state does not require employers to offer a program, so you may need to purchase individual coverage.


Request an individual short-term disability quote to start the purchase process if your employer does not offer an option. Connect with an agent who can help you complete a new policy application.

The application will ask a series of medical questions to verify that you are healthy enough to qualify for coverage. The agent will submit the paperwork to the insurance company for underwriting review.

If approved, the insurance company will issue a new policy.


Apply for benefits by completing the claim form provided by the issuing insurance company. Make sure to get signatures from your employer verifying that you are not working and your physician certifying the medical reason you cannot perform the duties of your full-time occupation.

Submit the claim form to the insurance company for underwriting review. If approved, they will begin sending checks per the terms outlined in your policy.

State Employees

Employees working for the State Government of Michigan can purchase a short-term disability policy voluntarily at work. However, do not let the confusing name lead you astray.

The self-funded Long-Term Disability Income Protection Plan includes a waiting period definition meaning it covers short work absences; the later of:

  1. The day after the claimant’s sick leave is exhausted
  2. The fourteenth calendar day of the claimant’s disability

Therefore, state government employees should apply at work according to the two-step formula outlined previously.

  1. Purchase the coverage voluntarily during the open enrollment
  2. File a claim for benefits by contacting the human resources office

Federal Workers

Federal employees working in Michigan can purchase short-term disability voluntarily at work to cover accidents and illnesses but have mandatory benefits for parental leave.

Short-term disability for federal employees does not need to cover maternity leave because the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) replaces 100% of income, lasting up to eight weeks. FEPLA covers a child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care.

Federal employees can apply for benefit through FEPLA without buying a policy beforehand, as this program is mandatory. However, the two-step process still pertains to accidents and illnesses.

  1. Buying a new policy to cover future accidents and illnesses
  2. Filing a claim connected to past accidents or sicknesses

How Short-Term Disability Works in MI

Short-term disability works the same way in Michigan as in other regions of the country. The Wolverine State does not impose unique requirements on the insurance companies issuing policies.

How Much It Pays

The answer to how much short-term disability pays in Michigan depends on the terms stated in the policy you purchased from a private insurance company. You choose the monthly amount when enrolling.

A short-term disability pay calculator can help you estimate the total benefits you might receive while unable to work due to a covered medical condition. Read through your policy to find three relevant terms.

  1. Elimination period: how long you are disabled before benefits begin
  2. Monthly amount: claims payments made while totally disabled
  3. Benefit period: maximum length of claim payments while disabled

How Long It Lasts

The answer to how long short-term disability lasts in Michigan also depends on the terms stated in the policy you purchased, plus your medical condition.

As noted above, the benefit period stated in your policy determines the maximum length of claim payments while your covered medical condition prevents you from working.

You determine how much short-term disability costs when enrolling, and the benefit period length is one variable affecting premiums. Of course, the more extended options are pricier, so your budget may determine how long claims payments last. You might have chosen between several alternatives.

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • 24 months

Short-Term Disability MI Pregnancy

Short-term disability covering pregnancy in Michigan has several requirements that women need to know. You do not want to miss valuable benefits by overlooking these critical details.

Before Conception

Buying short-term disability before conception is the number one rule in Michigan and everywhere else. Unfortunately, many women overlook this crucial stipulation.

You can get a new short-term disability policy approved while pregnant and enjoy immediate income protection from accidents and other illnesses. However, insurance companies will deem pregnancy a pre-existing condition and deny any related claims for at least one year.

Before Due Date

Most short-term disability policies in Michigan cover pregnancy-related complications that cause lost income before the mother’s due date. However, you must have a valid medical reason.

You can get your doctor to put you on disability while pregnant, assuming that you purchased a policy before conception, by stating the medical reason you cannot perform the duties of your full-time occupation.

After Childbirth

Only specific short-term disability policies in Michigan cover maternity leave, the six to the eight weeks after childbirth, while the mom recovers from labor and delivery.

Individual short-term disability insurance not through employers typically does not cover a mom’s recovery from normal labor and delivery. Therefore, you are better off buying a policy at work – if offered.

How to Apply for Temporary Disability in MI

The process for applying for temporary disability in Michigan differs for two mandatory programs. Because the coverage is automatic, you only have to file a claim for benefits. 

Social Security

The federal government requires most workers to purchase Social Security Disability Insurance and fund the premiums through FICA payroll taxes.

Apply for temporary disability through Social Security if you expect your medical condition to keep you out of work for at least one year. Ignore others suggesting that only permanent injuries or sicknesses qualify. Instead, focus on the definition provided by the government.

Workers Compensation

The Michigan state government requires employers to purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance to protect employees from on-the-job (occupational) accidents and sicknesses that cause lost income.

Apply for temporary disability benefits by reporting the injury to your employer immediately, who should file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation insurance company. There may be other steps you must take.

  • Complete Form WC-117 if your employer does not file the claim on your behalf and you need assistance from the state government agency.
  • Complete Form WC-104A if your Workers’ Compensation insurance company denied your claim and you want to mediate the dispute.