Missouri residents applying for disability benefits sometimes need a roadmap plus an early warning system. The state does not offer a short-term disability program covering off-the-job accidents and illnesses.

Therefore, people wanting to protect their incomes from temporary work absences need to purchase a policy from a private company before the need arises.

You cannot file a claim for insurance you do not have. Fortunately, the government does require coverage for occupational incidents and permanent medical conditions.

Worker’s Compensation addresses temporary and permanent wage losses that occur while on-the-job. Meanwhile, Social Security helps with non-occupational conditions expected to last more than one year or longer.

Short-Term Disability in MO

Short-term disability insurance in Missouri requires proactive steps. Unfortunately for many, the state does not offer a government-supported and required option covering non-occupational (off-the-job) accidents and illnesses that cause temporary (less than one year) work interruptions.


Individuals who work in Missouri often need to complete two short-term disability applications in a specific sequence. You first must fill out paperwork to purchase coverage before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant to be eligible to file a claim for benefits.

New Policy

Request a short-term disability quote to begin the process of buying a new policy. An insurance agent licensed in Missouri may contact you to review premium costs for various feature combinations.

  • Elimination period: how quickly claim payments begin
  • Benefit period: how long claim payments continue
  • Monthly amount: how much the policy pays

First, you must show evidence of good health to qualify for new coverage. Therefore, expect the agent to ask detailed questions about your medical history before submitting the application to the insurance company for underwriting review.

File Claim

If eligible, complete a claim form to apply for benefits by contacting the insurance company that issued your policy. Download the paperwork and follow instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary delays. Be sure to include the required signatures.

  • The individual suffering a covered accident or illness
  • The licensed doctor who certifies your inability to work
  • Your employer that confirms you are no longer earning income

Having a policy in force is the primary short-term disability qualification that most workers in Missouri miss. You cannot file a claim unless you purchase a policy from a private insurance company before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

Any new policy will exclude pre-existing conditions for at least one year.


Short-term disability for pregnancy illustrates the critical steps and vexing choices that mothers must make. Missouri’s maternity leave laws do not provide wage support for women working in the private industry, while state government employees have more options.

Therefore, buying a policy before conception from a private insurance company is crucial. Most plans will exclude benefits for any pre-existing pregnancy for at least one year.

Also, the channel through which you obtain coverage can result in starkly different maternity benefits.

  1. Group plans paid 100% by employers for all workers
  2. Individual plans paid 100% by employees
    1. Personal policies funded by payroll deduction at work
    2. Private plans purchased outside of the employer

Pregnancy leave before birth




Recovery from labor and delivery




Postpartum medical disorders




Postpartum depression




Workers Comp

Worker’s Compensation covers temporary disabilities but with the opposite set of issues addressed so far in this article. For instance, far more people have insurance and do not need to take proactive steps in advance of a loss. However, the parameters rule out many seeking to file a claim.

  • Missouri law requires employers to maintain insurance and fund the premiums on behalf of employees. Therefore, most workers have automatic coverage at no additional cost to them.
  • Temporary disability benefits pertain to on-the-job injuries and sicknesses only. Illnesses such as cancer are the primary cause of lost wages, but it is tough to prove an occupational connection.

Social Security Disability Benefits MO

Filing for Social Security disability benefits in Missouri also presents the opposite set of challenges, with an added twist. Most people have automatic coverage, but the eligibility rules are strict, and the programs do not pay very much.

  • The federal government mandates inclusion for non-occupational (off-the-job) losses under one of two programs
    • (SSDI) pays benefits to you and some family members if you worked long enough and paid FICA taxes
    • (SSI) covers disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources
  • Qualifying for benefits can be challenging because of two fundamental limitations
    • Social Security does not cover temporary wage losses (less than one year), which occur more frequently
    • You must be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity, rather than the more lenient own occupation standard


Any Missouri resident can complete their Social Security disability application themselves. Begin at the SSA.gov website where you can file your claim for benefits online.

However, applicants with marginal cases might consider hiring an attorney to help them navigate the maze of government rules and requirements. Experienced lawyers can shorten the waiting time for a final decision and perhaps overcome these average approval odds.

  • Initial Awards: 23%
  • Reconsideration Awards: 2%
  • Appeals Council Awards: 15%
  • Medical Denials: 25%
  • Technical Denials: 35%


The amount that Social Security disability pays each month to Missouri residents covers the bare essentials only. People who take proactive steps while healthy to purchase long-term disability insurance fare much better over time because their monthly benefits can be substantially higher.


The SSDI monthly amount in Missouri follows the national averages very closely as your pre-disability income determines the benefit level. The median figure of $1,053 monthly considers what each recipient contributed via FICA taxes during the time they were actively working.


The State of Missouri provides an SSI supplement to the federally funded benefit amount. Therefore, individual SSI recipients with few resources can expect a different monthly amount based on their living arrangements.[1]

FederalState Supplement

Level 1 Residential Care



Level 2 Residential Care



Skilled Nursing Home



Footnoted Sources:

[1] SSA.gov SSI State Supplements