New York State short-term disability benefits are required by law, and governed by the Worker’s Compensation Board. The program covers most workers in private industry.
While good to have, the program has holes. You will find that the payment amounts are rather small, and do not last terribly long. Supplemental policies and short-term loans can fill these holes.
Understand two key concepts about the state program to make your time away from work more affordable.
- How much does it pay and how do I apply for benefits?
- Do I qualify and what laws should I know?
NYS Short-Term Disability Benefits
New York State short-term disability benefits replace a very small portion of income during the time you are unable to work because of an off-the-job accident or illness. A maximum of $170 per week does not go very far given the high cost of living in this area. You may need some extra money to bridge the gap.
Apply for a short-term loan to increase your pool of resources needed to meet immediate needs. Combine these two programs together to give your family the cash it needs to pay bills while you are unable to work.
While there is a single claim form that all workers must use, you must submit the form itself to the specific insurer contracted by your employer. Only your employer knows which carrier they selected.
NYS short-term disability claim form DB-450 is a universal form all applicants must use when applying for benefits. When filing a claim you must remember that the law requires that your employer purchase coverage. Your employer is required to buy a plan through an authorized carrier, or to self-insure if approved by the workers compensation board.
NYS short-term benefit amounts are 50% of income or $170 per week, whichever is less. The plan covers off the job accidents and illnesses only. On-the-job accidents and illnesses fall under workers compensation, which provides a higher amount.
No payments are made during a 7-day waiting period. Payment rights begin on the eighth consecutive day you are unable to work. Benefit amounts are payable for up to 26 weeks. Your doctor will need to provide evidence of a medical reason why you are unable to work.
Your last eight weeks of employment are used to determine your income. Given the income level and the cost of living for many, you may find the need for a greater benefit amount. Ask yourself “How long can I pay my bills on $170 per week.” For many the answer is “Not very long.”
A private short-term disability policy can help you increase the benefit amount to a more suitable level – up to sixty percent, with a cap of $6,500 monthly. Those with desires to cover childbirth should seek out coverage through an employer.
Keep in mind that a portion of your payments may be taxable. Your employer may charge you up to 60 cents per week to the cost of coverage. If you pay your portion of the premium cost using pre-tax contributions, then your entire benefit is taxed. Your employer must also contribute to make up the balance. Check your paystubs to determine tax consequences.
NYS Short-Term Disability Qualifications
New York State short-term disability insurance qualifications range from what medical conditions are covered, to which employers and employee classes are eligible. The plan covers off the job accidents and illnesses only. Worker’s compensation covers on-the-job accidents.
Pregnancy Qualifying Condition
NYS short-term disability for pregnancy is the most common qualifying medical condition. The state plan begins paying prior to delivery, and six to eight weeks after giving birth.
Since childbirth is a very common qualifying medical event, women of childbearing age often find that this is the ideal time to add supplemental coverage. Start prior to conception.
NYS short-term disability eligibility hinges upon who pays into the system. Workers who commute from New Jersey or Connecticut are qualified under the plan, as they must contribute automatically.
Many employee classes and organizations are exempt from the statutory contribution requirement and may not be eligible. Keep in mind that your employer may elect to participate on a voluntary basis. Check with your employer to verify eligibility. Some of the groups that may not be eligible include:
- Employer type
- Government (Federal, State, & Local)
- Religious organizations
- Public & private schools
- Employee classes
- Independent contractors
- Domestic workers
- Farm laborers
- Sole proprietors
- Business partners
NYS Short-Term Disability Laws and Rules
The New York State short-term disability insurance laws are codified under the workers compensation laws: Article 9. Sections 200 to 211 make up the bulk of regulations that apply directly to workers seeking entitlements.
The law mandates state short-term disability coverage for specified workers. The law has not been updated of decades, and incomes have increased over the years making the program payments nearly irrelevant.
NYS short-term disability does not provide job protection. Several federal regulations may provide job protection rights for workers while they are not working. Unemployment compensation pays more, but may not extend payments.
Job Protection Laws
New York family leave laws do little to extend federal protections. Several federal rules may apply to many workers that do provide job protection rights. These laws include the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
You cannot collect disability and unemployment compensation at the same time. The unemployment programs pay up to $405 per week, which provides a substantial boost in the level of income replacement. New York State law allows employees to collect unemployment if they stop working for “compelling family reasons.” However, an employee’s own disability does not meet the standard.
The statutory income plan is one that provides nominal help. Perhaps of greater assistance is a mandate requiring that certain health plans cover the costs of treating infertility. This regulation applies to many families having children, the group most likely to miss work and need income support.
The primary NYS short-term disability contact information and phone numbers are summarized below.
NYS Workers’ Compensation Board
Centralized Mailing Address
PO Box 5205
Binghamton, NY 13902-5205