Filing for Disability in Michigan | Short-Term | SSDI & SSI

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 a program covering off-the-job (non-occupational) accidents or illnesses. Nor is there any law that requires private employers to cover their employees.

Therefore, many residents do not qualify for temporary benefits unless they purchase a policy from a private company before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

On the other hand, Social Security covers permanent medical conditions automatically, because you fund the premiums through payroll taxes. However, the amount you receive monthly is tiny, and work rules limit your income.

Short-Term Disability Insurance Michigan

Short-term disability insurance in Michigan often requires proactive steps because the state does not provide a program covering non-occupational illnesses and accidents. You must buy coverage before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant to file a claim for benefits.


Applying for short-term disability in Michigan can mean one of two things. Residents can complete an application to purchase a new policy to cover future non-occupational accidents and illnesses. Or, they can file a claim for benefits – if they already have private coverage in force.

New Policy

Request a short-term disability quote to begin the new policy application process. An agent licensed in Michigan may contact you to review premium rates for several feature configurations.

  1. Monthly amount: up to 70% of your wages
  2. Benefit Period: how long claim payments last
  3. Elimination Period: how quickly claims begin

You must show evidence of good health to qualify for new coverage. Expect to answer detailed questions about your medical history, including diagnoses, hospitalizations, and prescription medications.

Claim Form

File a short-term disability claim by contacting the private company that issued your policy. You cannot apply through the state because Michigan does not have a program covering temporary medical conditions that occurred off-the-job.

Complete the paperwork with three signatures before filing the claim with the insurance company.

  1. Worker signature authenticates the claim
  2. Doctor signature confirms the diagnosis and treatment
  3. Employer signature verifies the loss of income


Short-term disability for pregnancy is a sought-after benefit for mothers because Michigan’s maternity leave laws do not provide income support. Unfortunately, many miss out on these critical support payments because you must purchase a policy before conception to qualify.

Starting coverage when already pregnant will trigger the pre-existing condition clause, which excludes claim payments for the first twelve months for any maternity-related losses.

However, women with coverage in force before conception can enjoy several income supports during maternity leave scenarios that occur frequently.

  1. Medical complications of pregnancy before the due date
  2. Recovering from childbirth labor and delivery
    1. Vaginal Birth: six weeks
    2. Cesarean Section: eight weeks
  3. Postpartum medical disorders (not depression)


Michigan residents battling cancer learn firsthand the critical value of short-term disability insurance, and how these policies work. Patients can fight this dread disease for years while dealing with repeated temporary work absences.  

  1. A diagnosis of cancer will prevent you from buying a new plan, as you must show evidence of good health to qualify. Only patients who signed up in advance can file a claim.
  2. The elimination period determines how quickly the benefits begin. Cancer patients with a seven-day wait fare better than those with a ninety-day delay but pay more in premiums.
  3. A recurrent disability definition means that you do not need to satisfy a second elimination period after returning to work initially. Early-stage cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation frequently experience brief periods when the treatment side effects require time off from work.

Filing for Long-Term Disability in Michigan

People filing for long-term disability insurance in Michigan often fare better because the government provides wage support for non-occupational losses that are permanent rather than temporary.

You do not need to purchase a policy because your payroll taxes support the government-run Social Security program automatically. However, you may want to buy private long-term disability because SSI and SSDI do not pay very much, have strict work-rule limitations, and approval can take a long time.

Social Security

Social Security provides two types of disability insurance that covers non-occupational medical conditions for Michigan residents. Unfortunately, neither plan covers temporary losses (lasting less than one year), pay.[1]

  1. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) pays benefits to you and some family members if you worked long enough and paid FICA taxes
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) covers disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources

Check Amount

The amount that SSDI pays in Michigan is similar to the nation as a whole. In other words, the check size is nominal when you consider the cost of food, clothing, and shelter.

Adult Children$755 $770

Work Rules

SSDI encourages disability recipients in Michigan to work as it does in other states. The federal agency wants people to be gainfully employed rather than dependent on a government check.

Two incentive programs support this objective.

  • During Trial Work Periods (TWP) earnings can exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit for nine months
    • $1,130 non-blind
    • $1,820 blind individual
  • During the following 3-year Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) benefits are reduced only in the months you exceed the SGA amount

State Assistance

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services administers the State Disability Assistance (SDA) program. SDA provides cash support to eligible disabled adults who do not have dependent children, their caretakers, and senior citizens over the age of 65.[2]

The amount of cash assistance is several hundred dollars each month and can supplement other government programs. Also, residents with temporary disabilities lasting at least 90 days may qualify.

The SDA program has four main eligibility rules, which single mothers often meet when unable to work.

  1. Unable to work for at least 90 days, reside in a specialized facility or enrolled in Medicaid because of a limitation
  2. Less than $3,000 in resources, which include bank accounts, retirement plans, trusts, or investments
  3. Earned and unearned income limits including wages, self-employment and rental income, social security, and veterans benefits
  4. Must live in Michigan as a U.S. citizen or legal alien

Footnoted Sources:

[1] Statistical Report on SSDI

[2] MI Department of Health and Human Services