New Jersey short-term disability for pregnancy illustrates a need for extra coverage. The state has a set of regulations providing partial income replacement. The programs may not pay enough, often ends too soon, and have limited eligibility.
A supplemental program is a great way for women to increase their level of maternity income, and allow for income replacement that spans all nine months while she is expecting, plus time to recover from childbirth. Learn more about three key topics.
- Application and claims forms to complete
- Increasing maximum benefits amount and duration
- During pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave
NJ Short-Term Disability Claim and Application Forms
New Jersey short-term disability application and claims forms become confusing when pregnancy-related medical conditions cause lost income. Two policy types and the need for increased income replacement, require a clear distinction.
For the sake of simplicity, we define application forms as the paperwork needed to purchase coverage. Claims forms are the paperwork needed when applying for benefits.
Complete application forms for secondary policies before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant. These private plans require positive action in order to enroll. If you want additional income replacement, you must purchase the coverage before you need it.
The state entitlement program does not require a policy application. Your employer automatically enrolls you in the program, unless they are exempt from the legal requirements. You do not have to sign up.
Complete benefit claims forms after becoming disabled. Those who purchased a secondary policy can apply for short-term disability benefits by completing the paperwork unique to the private carrier issuing the policy.
Most site visitors do not have a secondary policy and have only one claim form to complete. They can file a claim through the state temporary disability program, which is also used when filing a claim for baby bonding under the paid family leave program.
NJ Short-Term Disability Maximum Benefit Amounts
New Jersey short-term disability maximum benefits amount become exposed when pregnancy-related claims are filed. Normal childbirth is a very common qualifying condition. Many women of childbearing age stop working for months at a time for each child.
Each time a woman stops working to have a baby, the need to increase the maximum benefits amount becomes more apparent.
The NJ state disability plan replaces two-thirds of income with a weekly maximum benefits amount that is capped at $595 weekly beginning in 2014. The weekly cap amount applies to any worker earning more than $45,597 annually. If you earn more than this amount, you may not have an adequate level of income replacement protection.
The state program has a maximum benefits payment length of twenty-six weeks. A pregnancy lasts nine months. Recovery from normal childbirth can last two months or longer if postpartum problems arise. Your state assistance might run out.
A supplemental program allows you extend the maximum benefits length. You choose between duration options of twelve or twenty-four months. A twelve-month length spans your entire pregnancy, plus recovery from childbirth, and allows for postpartum disorders, which may delay your return to work.
Individual short-term disability in New Jersey can also increase the monthly maximum benefits amount when combined with the state plan. You want to replace about 66% of income. Women earning less than $45,000 have enough coverage. Those earning more hit the weekly cap and have a hole to fill.
The chart below illustrates how higher income earners can increase maximum benefits amounts during childbearing years. Add the two figures together.
Maximum Benefit Increase
|Annual Income||NJ State Weekly Max||Supplemental Max|
New Jersey Short-Term Disability Maternity
Both types of New Jersey short-term disability insurance may cover pregnancy bed rest and maternity leave after normal childbirth. The state-mandated program has one big shortcoming; the income support payments may not last long enough if you encounter complications during pregnancy. There are two important limits you should understand.
- Temporary disability payments – stop after six months
- Paid Family Leave (PFL) – stop after 6 weeks
Pregnancy Bed Rest
Private New Jersey short-term disability insurance for pregnancy can put your mind at ease during an extended bed rest. The state entitlements have limits that come into play with extended bed rest. An extra policy with a twelve-month benefits duration extends limits for a safer pregnancy experience.
For most normal pregnancies, the limits do not come into play. However not every pregnancy is perfectly healthy. Suppose you experience a high-risk pregnancy and need to stop working in your first trimester. Your delivery does not go smoothly and you need extra time to heal before returning to work. Consider this pregnancy bed rest graphic.
Did you notice the big donut hole in the middle of the chart? Having 6 months of coverage sounds like a long time, but it does not span a 9-month pregnancy, and the time needed to recover after delivery.
In addition, you may be able to mitigate losses by optimizing your maternity health insurance options. You may be able to upgrade your plan if dealing with a complicated pregnancy. It all depends on the timing of open enrollment.
Private New Jersey short-term disability insurance for maternity leave also increases the amount of money coming in while recovering from childbirth. Normal childbirth is an event many people plan. The state plan leaves you with at least a one-third pay cut.
New Jersey maternity leave laws provide job protections in addition to limited income support. Not every worker automatically qualifies, and just about every woman would enjoy a greater level of income security while resting at home before delivery, and while bonding with her baby.
- NJ Dept of Labor
- Image credit: kbuntu / 123RF Stock Photo