Short-term disability insurance for postal employees provides important income protection if you cannot work because of a covered accident or illness.
Pay careful attention to the forms you might need to complete in case of a claim (provided you have coverage in force) – as the correct document varies.
The post office does not offer short-term disability to its employees, so you must take proactive steps if you want coverage for off-the-job impairments lasting less than twelve months.
Fortunately, you have several viable avenues to get coverage before facing the prospect of lost income.
USPS Claim Forms
United States Postal Service workers should educate themselves about the variety of short-term disability insurance forms they might need to complete when filing a claim.
As you will see, sequencing and timing are critical! You cannot apply for benefits unless you have coverage before getting sick, hurt, or pregnant.
Complete a short-term disability claim form if you need to apply for benefits after suffering an off-the-job accident or sickness. Of course, filing a claim will only help if you already have coverage in force, as the USPS does not make coverage automatic.
Direct any correspondence to the insurance company receiving your monthly premium payments – not the post office human resources department. If you cannot find your policy, look at your payroll deductions and automatic debits to your checking account for clues on the organization’s name and web address.
Complete a temporary disability claim form if you injured yourself or became sick while working on the job at the post office or delivering mail on your route. The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) covers income replacement for USPS employees suffering occupational impairments.
- Continuation of pay (COP) for the period of the disability, up to a maximum of 45 calendar days, for a traumatic job–related injury
- Compensation for wages lost as a result of job–related injury or disease, or illness
- Medical care for disability due to:
- Personal injuries sustained while in the performance of duty
- Diseases proximately caused, aggravated, or accelerated by postal employment
- Vocational rehabilitation
Social Security Forms
Complete a Social Security application form for a short-term disability that lasts twelve months or longer. While not for temporary impairments, any injury or sickness that keeps you sidelined for more than one year meets the underwriting standard.
USPS employees pay FICA taxes via an automatic payroll deduction, meaning they have coverage through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Do not overlook your previous funding of the premiums, and file your claim as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
File the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) form SF 3107 if your short-term disability lasts longer than twelve months and forces you to give up working permanently. The human resource department connected to your post office can help you complete the documents.
The FERS disability retirement plan will coordinate benefits with Social Security for workers aged 62 or younger.
- 100% SSDI reduction during the first twelve months
- 60% SSDI reduction after the first year
Not Through USPS
Workers should understand that the post office does not offer short-term disability insurance. The United States Postal Service provides generous employee benefits but does not make any type of income protection available.
However, you still have several options to buy coverage outside the post office and should weigh the pros and cons of individual versus group coverage.
Individual short-term disability, not through employers such as the USPS, is more convenient because you do not have to go through a union or set up payroll deduction via LiteBlue and PostalEase systems.
However, it is more difficult to qualify for new coverage as an individual because the insurance company cannot pool risks. Group coverage is often a better alternative when working in high-risk occupations requiring repetitive tasks such as sorting mail, maintaining vehicles, and delivering letters and packages.
Therefore, following group policies might be easier to obtain because issuing companies see safety in large numbers.
Group short-term disability for federal employees is ideal for USPS workers who are not APWU or NALC union members and those seeking policies with richer benefits – especially for women seeking coverage for maternity leave.
Postal workers are part of the federal government, which employs over 2 million people in the United States in diverse roles and job functions – many clerical. Therefore, expect to realize these advantages when purchasing through this channel.
- Lower premium rates
- Shorter elimination period options
- 0 days accident
- 7 days sickness
- Longer claim payment duration (2 years max)
- Larger monthly amounts ($5,000 cap)
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) group short-term disability is a viable option for active dues-paying members in good standing who have been working full-time (at least 20 hours per week) for at least ninety consecutive days.
However, the APWU limits the benefits due to the high-risk nature of physical postal worker tasks such as mail sorting, vehicle maintenance, and mail delivery.
- Longer elimination periods
- 30-day minimum
- 90-day for pregnancy
- Smaller monthly amount ($3,500 monthly cap)
- Shorter claims payment duration (12-month max)
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) group short-term disability is a new option available to active dues-paying members through the Mutual Benefit Association.
However, the NALC program also limits the potential benefits due to the high-risk nature of postal employee work duties.
- 14-day elimination period
- Two benefit period choices
- 6 months
- 12 months
- Three benefit amount options:
- $650 / month
- $1,350 / month
- $2,000 / month