Many people learn the hard way that the New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL) and Social Security (SSDI) expose many workers to financial ruin after they suffer an off-the-job accident or illness, or become pregnant.

Three policy types step in to fill big holes – if you act before your health changes. Once you need the help it will be too late.

  1. Supplemental short-term disability can increase the meager claim amount and the brief duration of the NYS plan.
  2. Voluntary policies allow exempted groups to opt into the state plan, and employees to elect extra coverage and pay the premiums themselves.
  3. Long-term disability boosts the claim check amount compared to SSDI and allows more ex-workers to qualify.

Supplemental Short-Term Disability NY

Supplemental short-term disability insurance in New York increases your level of income protection in two important ways. This extra coverage is a policy that you buy from a private company that fills the two giant gaps in the state-mandated program.

  1. Puny weekly benefit maximum of $150
  2. 26-week limitation on claims payments

Request an online quote if you do not have a pre-existing health condition (accident, illness, or pregnancy) and want to boost your coverage level.

NYS Amount

The primary reason to purchase supplemental short-term disability is to increase the tiny NYS benefit amount of $150 per week to a level that can sustain a household. Most workers earn far more each week, and cannot pay their bills with such a sharp cut in take-home pay.

The state disability benefits law does not index the weekly amount maximum for inflation, and the number has not moved in decades. The small claim check is woefully inadequate.

Buying an additional policy can increase the size of your claims check in two ways.

% of Income Weekly Max
Supplemental 66% $1,500
State-Mandated 50% $150

NYS Length

A second reason to buy supplemental short-term disability is to lengthen the time you can continue receiving claim checks. The NYS program stops making payments after twenty-six weeks (six months). Many people are still not able to resume working and must make do with zero dollars coming in – unless Social Security kicks in (see below).

An add-on policy bought from a private insurance company can extend the length of the more substantial (up to $1,500 weekly) claim payments. Owners choose the benefit period when completing the purchase application.

  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • 24 months

Voluntary Short-Term Disability New York

Voluntary short-term disability insurance in New York comes in two forms: a replica of the state program for groups and individuals exempt from the requirement, and employee-paid supplemental plans offered by employers.

The two options can result in all employees receiving minimal benefits and or a portion of workers paying for much better income safety.

NYS Requirements

New York State voluntary temporary disability plans allow groups and individuals to enroll if the state law does not require them to do so. The mandate is broad but still contains exceptions leaving many people uncovered.

  • Government (teachers), railroad, maritime, or farm workers
  • Members of religious organizations
  • Independent contractors (insurance and real estate agents)
  • Self-employed business owners

An employer group (for example, a public school district) otherwise not required to participate, can choose to become a covered entity in the voluntary plan.

All workers would then enjoy the nominal $150 per week benefit.

Employee Paid

Employee-paid short-term disability in NY is the other form of optional coverage. Workers at a sponsoring group can choose to participate in the supplemental plan and pay the premiums themselves through payroll deduction.

No law requires employers to offer the program, and employees can opt-in or opt-out of their own free will. However, elective programs provide excellent value to both parties.

  • Employers expand benefits at no direct cost
  • Employees have access to a scarce resource

Short-term disability for maternity leave with sufficient income replacement is the limited resource that women can get only from a voluntary add-on policy.

  • The NYS claims check is absurdly small
  • Only worksite-base plans cover recovery for labor and delivery
  • Policies bought outside of employers do not cover normal childbirth

Women undergoing IVF and other infertility treatments should elect to buy a plan at her worksite before their next cycle. Coverage must begin before conception if you want to file a claim for pregnancy leave of absence.

A portion of workers will enjoy a much better benefit.

Long-Term Disability Insurance NY

Long-term disability insurance in New York can also fall into the voluntary (employee-paid) and supplemental (extra coverage) categories. However, with permanent (not temporary) medical conditions, the point of comparison is the Social Security (SSDI) program run at the federal level.

(SSDI) covers long-term work absences but has two gaping holes: a smallish amount, and strict eligibility criteria.

Social Security Amount

Buying a long-term disability policy in NY can increase the monthly benefit amount to a more sustainable level above the Social Security amount. SSDI pays about only $350 per week on average. The rather small claims check equates to subsistence living until age 65.

High-income professionals such as doctors and lawyers often buy long-term plans to avoid this trap. The much heftier claim payment (up to 8 times higher) makes it feasible to maintain a higher standard of living – if the need arises.

  • Income percent limit – 67%
  • Weekly amount maximum – $2,325

Social Security Eligibility

New Yorkers who purchase long-term disability also protect themselves from the strict Social Security eligibility criteria. Many SSDI applicants face denials and long delays before receiving approval.

Statistics suggest that most people face an uphill battle – for a meager amount – because the SSDI underwriting standard is the inability to perform any work.

  • You can no longer work in your previous occupation
  • You cannot adjust to new work

With these stringent criteria, SSDI denies 67% of initial claims and 87% of reconsiderations – which can linger on for years.

Getting your claim approved for a private long-term policy is still tricky. However, the criteria are more lenient because of the more inclusive standard of the inability to work in your most recent occupation.

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