The State of Ohio does not offer short-term disability insurance covering off-the-job accidents and illnesses.

Ohio residents concerned about replacing income while they are temporarily unable to work must purchase a private policy before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

This means many in the Buckeye State most face an extended period minus an income.

Fortunately, private and government programs can sometimes help.

  • Options for financial assistance benefits
  • Covering pregnancy and maternity leave
  • Ohio laws offering discrimination and job protections
  • State-based programs providing alternative income replacement

Ohio Short-Term Disability Benefits

Most people do not qualify for short-term disability benefits in Ohio.

  1. The state does not offer a program covering off-the-job accidents or illnesses
  2. It does not require employers to provide an option to employees
  3. Private policies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions
  4. You must purchase coverage before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant

Consider alternative forms of financial assistance before exploring how to file a claim for coverage you do not have, or to purchase a new policy with waiting periods.

Private Assistance

Private companies offer two alternative form of financial assistance to the largest number of Ohio residents needing benefits during a short-term disability.

  1. Debt consolidation offers delayed relief. A settlement program may offer needed financial assistance. People suffering a short-term disability frequently meet the two primary eligibility criteria.
    1. Owe more than $10,000 in unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loans, or medical bills). The health condition that prevents you from working may result in large unreimbursed doctor and hospital bills.
    2. Suffer a financial hardship that causes late payments on bills. Loss of income due to a temporary medical condition often leads to this common problem.
  2. A good credit score may qualify you for a personal loan to fund a temporary leave from work. This type of financial assistance provides the funding needed to pay your regular bills while the family is down at least one income.
    1. Borrow the money only if you are certain that you will recover quickly, and your employer will hold your job open.
    2. You must repay the money with interest in equal monthly installments.

Government Assistance

Several Ohio state government agencies administer financial assistance programs that benefit specific groups only – mostly low-income families with few resources and/or permanent issues. Scan this list to see if you might qualify.

  1. Ohio Works First (OWF) is the financial assistance portion of Ohio’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. OWF provides time-limited support to eligible families. OWF offers cash benefits to eligible, needy families for up to 36 months.1
  1. Ohio’s Disability Financial Assistance Program provides a monthly cash benefit to eligible low-income individuals with disabilities who do not meet all the requirements necessary to receive help from other federal and state programs. A family’s resources cannot exceed $1,000, regardless of the number of individuals in the household.2
  1. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps Ohio apartment owners to offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Contact the management office of each apartment building that interests you.3
  1. Ohio Medicaid offers a span of programs for older adults and people with disabilities to assist with medical expenses. These programs provide health care coverage consisting of primary and acute care benefit packages along with long-term care.4

Applying for Policy

Request a short-term disability quote before applying to purchase a new policy. The application will ask medical questions. You must provide evidence of good health in order to begin coverage.

An agent licensed in Ohio may contact you to outline premium estimates. The quote itself will answer the three most common questions. Premium costs vary with the policy features chosen by the insured person at the time of application.

  1. How long do benefits last – the benefit period stated in the contract determines the length of claims payments if continuously incapacitated while under a doctor’s care. Choices range from 3, 6, 12, or 24 months.
  2. How quickly do claims begin – the elimination period describes the time during which the contract makes no claim payments. Choices range from 7, 14, 30, 60, 90 or 180 days.
  3. How much does it pay – most policies will replace up to 66% of the person’s gross salary, subject to a monthly cap of up to $6,500.

File a Claim

File a short-term disability claim by contacting the insurance company issuing the policy. Download the claim form from the company website. Follow the instructions on the paperwork carefully. Include three important signatures before submitting the claim.

  1. Insured signature verifying ownership
  2. Doctor signature stating the medical reason
  3. Employer signature indicating a loss of income

Ohio Short-Term Disability Pregnancy

Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy is very popular with expectant women in Ohio. Many women stop working weeks or months prior to her due date and then need additional time away from the job in order to recover from childbirth.

Two different policy types replace income during pregnancy leave. Only one works during maternity leave – while mom recovers from normal labor and delivery.

Pregnancy Leave

Short-term disability for pregnancy leave comes in two policy types in Ohio. Both forms of coverage replace a portion of mom’s income when she must stop working prior to delivery because of medical complications. They also both require that the coverage begins prior to conception.

  1. Women can purchase individual policies outside of her employer privately. This is also an ideal option for the self-employed.
  2. Women can also purchase personal policies at work via a convenient payroll deduction. Employees pay the premiums themselves. Therefore, employers can easily afford to offer this option.

Maternity Leave

Short-term disability for maternity leave comes in only one policy type in Ohio. This most coveted form of coverage makes claims payments during mom’s recovery from normal childbirth.

  1. Normal vaginal delivery – 6 weeks less the elimination period
  2. Normal C-section delivery – 8 weeks less the elimination period

Personal policies offered through employer groups offer this valued benefit. Since employees pay the premiums themselves, there is no direct cost to employers to offer paid maternity leave benefits. Ask your employer to make this option available.

Ohio Short-Term Disability Laws

Ohio has few short-term disability insurance laws. No regulation requires employers to replace income for employees suffering off-the-job accidents or illnesses.

However, several other laws offer unpaid job-protected leave or safeguards against unfair discrimination.

Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and short-term disability in Ohio often intersect, although they are two completely different concepts.

FMLA is a federal regulation that offers 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave and continued access to health benefits. The FMLA relates to covered employers (based on employer size) and eligible workers (based on hours worked criteria). The act pertains to employees who must stop working due to their own medical condition or the care for a sick family member.

Short-term disability is a private insurance policy that covers a worker’s own medical condition. It does not include care of a sick family member. Any employer with more than 3 employees can offer the coverage.


Short-term disability benefits are sometimes subject to federal and Ohio state income taxes. The method that a person uses to fund the premium determines whether the claims payment triggers an income tax liability.

Apply these rules to determine the portion of the benefit subject to income tax.

  • After tax premium payments – not taxed
  • Before tax payroll deductions – taxed
  • Employer-funded premiums – taxed


Collecting unemployment compensation for health reasons is not viable. Ohio unemployment laws do not allow workers to collect benefits during a period of disability. Several rules exclude this possibility.5

  • Physically and mentally able to work
  • Available for suitable work
  • Make a good faith effort to return to work
  • Not on a leave of absence from work


The Ohio Civil Rights Commission investigates charges of discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodation, disability in higher education and credit.

The discrimination laws pertain to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, familial status in housing, military status, and retaliation. The commission imposes a 6-month statute of limitations on claims.6

Ohio State Disability Short-Term Disability

Ohio does not offer state short-term disability insurance to cover off-the-job accidents or illnesses. However, other state-based programs offer income replacement help to certain groups of people.

Workers Compensation

The State of Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation administers the temporary disability insurance program for on-the-job accidents and illnesses. The entitlement for work-related incidents consists of partial income replacement and medical care.7

  • Permanent partial
  • Permanent total
  • Temporary total
  • Change of occupation
  • Facial disfigurement
  • Death claims

Social Security Disability

The State of Ohio administers Social Security Disability claims through its Disability Determinations Bureau. The state office processes claims for Ohio residents for two programs.8

  1. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that they expect to last at least one year or result in death
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for adults and children with limited income and resources

Social Security does not cover disabilities caused by temporary medical conditions.

Police and Fire

Members of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) do not automatically have short-term disability coverage. OP&F members do enjoy off-the-job accident and illnesses benefits for permanent medical conditions. All dues-paying members are covered.9

However, the plan does not cover any police officers and firefighters for any temporary medical conditions. They must purchase a private plan to close this gap.

Teachers STRS

Members of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) do not automatically enjoy short-term disability benefits. STRS teachers with at least five years of continuous service do have two plans covering permanent and total disabilities that prevent them from performing their most recent job duties.10

However, neither of these plans covers temporary or partial disabilities. Teachers must purchase a separate plan to close this gap.


  1. Ohio Works First
  2. Financial Assistance Program
  3. Housing and Urban Development
  4. Medicaid
  5. OH Department of Job and Family Services
  6. OH Civil Rights Commission
  7. Workers Compensation
  8. Disability Determinations
  9. Police and Fire
  10. State Teachers Retirement System