Short Term Disability in Minnesota

Short-term disability insurance in Minnesota can replace a portion of income should you become unable to work due to a covered medical reason.

You rely on your income to pay the mortgage, car payments, and other ongoing daily expenses. It may make sense to insure your paycheck in order to meet these future expenses.

Minnesota does not provide a state program that covers private workers for off-the-job accidents, illnesses, or pregnancy. You must purchase coverage on your own BEFORE the need arises.

Learn how the coverage works and how to qualify. Find the limited benefits available through the state via Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, and Unemployment.

Individual Short-Term Disability Minnesota

Individual short-term disability insurance in Minnesota is the primary option for people without access at work. Remember, the state does not offer a program for those working in private industry.

Make sure that you apply to buy coverage before filing a claim and asking about qualifying reasons. You cannot obtain benefits if you do not own a private policy.

How to Apply

Applying for short-term disability in Minnesota can mean two very different things. Be very careful about the language you use. The consequences are real if you do things out of sequence.

You must first purchase a policy before you can file a claim for benefits.

New Policy

Request a short-term disability quote to begin the process of buying coverage. An agent licensed in Minnesota may contact you to present feature choices and cost estimates.

The agent can help you complete a new policy application form. The application will contain health questions and you may have to undergo a medical examination. Remember, you must show evidence of good health. Otherwise, the company may deny your application for coverage.

File Claim

Complete a claim form to file for short-term disability benefits. Of course, this step only works if you bought a policy at work or through an insurance agent – see above.

Contact the insurance company that issued the policy to obtain access to the claim form. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid delays. Most companies will require three signatures.

  1. The individual validates that they are the insured person
  2. A doctor verifying the medical reasons you are unable to work
  3. Your employer confirming that you are no longer earning an income


The short-term disability qualifications in Minnesota reflect national guidelines. In general, you must meet four basic requirements in order to file a claim for benefits.

  1. Have coverage in force at the time of the loss
  2. Not having a pre-existing condition that began before the coverage date
  3. The time off from work exceeds the elimination period
  4. Meeting the disability definition listed on your policy
    1. Unable to perform all the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation
    2. Not engage in any other employment or occupation for wage or profit
    3. Under the regular and appropriate care of a doctor


Short-term disability for pregnancy works as follows. Pay careful attention as Minnesota maternity leave laws do not provide for income replacement while mom is at home bonding with her baby for every woman.

  • Coverage must begin prior to conception to avoid pre-existing condition exclusions
  • Individual policies bought outside of employers may cover pregnancy complications only
  • Personal plans obtained through employers pay for normal labor and delivery recovery
    • 6-week payment for vaginal birth less the elimination period
    • 8-week payment for C-section delivery less the elimination period

Mental Health

Short-term disability coverage for mental health reasons takes the qualifications to another level.

  • Individual or personally owned plans have more restrictive mental health benefits – regardless of whether you bought at your place of work. These plans will not pay claims for any emotional disease or disorder.
  • Group plans offered at work by employers often have more generous mental health benefits. They may pay a limited claim for diagnosed mental illness.

For example, single mothers dealing with stress would need to have a group plan.


Short-term disability covers non-occupational accidents and illnesses only. Non-occupational means the condition arose from an off-the-job accident or cause. The policies will not pay for any work-related losses.

Worker’s Compensation addresses this area.

Minnesota State Disability Benefits

Minnesota does not offer state short-term disability benefits for all workers. This means that most people will need to enroll at work – if available or purchase an individual policy.

Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, and the state employee plan address unique situations. They do not help private workers dealing with a temporary off-the-job condition.

Social Security

Social Security does not provide short-term disability benefits to Minnesota workers. Social Security is a federal government program administered at the state level. It provides two types of income support.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) covers people who worked long enough and paid FICA taxes
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) helps aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income

Both of these Social Security programs address people with permanent or long-term (more than one year) conditions only. They do not cover temporary medical conditions.

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s Compensation provides temporary and long-term disability benefits to Minnesota residents with occupational conditions. An occupational incident occurs while working on-the-job.

State law requires most employers to carry Worker’s Compensation insurance and pay the premiums on behalf of its staff. Therefore, more people automatically have this valuable coverage.

  • Pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment
  • Rehabilitation services to overcome your limitations
  • Wage replacement for temporary and permanent disabilities
  • Death benefits to surviving spouse and dependents

State Employees

Minnesota state employees can elect to enroll in a voluntary short-term disability program offered by the Hartford insurance company. Voluntary means that state employees pay the premiums themselves via payroll deduction. Also, it means that enrollment is not automatic. You must choose to participate in the program.

  • Newly hired state employees can opt into guaranteed issue coverage
  • Those opting out originally must show evidence of good health to qualify

Unemployment Compensation

Minnesota state unemployment rules allow disabled workers to collect benefits after they recover. First, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements.

  • Have sufficient earnings in your base period
  • Legally authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Actively seeking employment each week
  • Able and willing to work without delay

Then, the second set of criteria comes into play for people who became unemployed for a good cause reason.

  • Voluntarily quit
    • A serious illness or injury required you to quit
    • Care for an immediate family member due to their illness or disability
  • Discharged by employer
    • Absence because of illness or injury with proper notice to the employer