How much does short-term disability insurance pay in the event of a valid claim?

The answer is different for every person and policy. Some people miss only two weeks of work while others are out for two years. Then, every plan has a least three features that factor into the equation that calculates the weekly check amount.

Play around with our short-term disability calculator to get a quick estimate of the total amount you might receive. Learn about how these three policy features work and what they mean. Then discover what happens after the company processes and approves your claim.

Disclaimer: only your insurance provider can determine claim amounts.

Short-Term Disability Pay Calculator

Use our short-term disability insurance pay calculator to estimate the size of your check. Have a copy of your policy at your side or research online to find the correct inputs for three key variables needed by the equation.

Scroll down past the calculator to learn more about these variables. You must input the correct information in order to get an accurate estimate of the amount you might receive after filing a claim for benefits. Do not guess.

  1. Elimination period
  2. Benefit period
  3. Pay percentage

Elimination Period

The policy elimination (waiting) period is the first variable in your short-term disability pay calculation. The waiting period determines how long you must be out of work before the policy begins to support claims.

This feature affects every claim and is different for every policy. For example, this chart depicts the number of weeks a plan may support claims for a person unable to work for 4 weeks.

Elimination PeriodClaims Supported
7 day3 weeks
14 day2 weeks
30 day0 weeks
60 day0 weeks

Benefit Period

The policy benefit period is the second variable in your short-term disability pay calculation. The benefit period determines how long the policy will continue making claim payments while you are unable to work due to a covered medical condition.

This factor comes into play if your disability lasts longer than the benefit period. For example, this chart depicts the number of months a policy may support claims for a person unable to work for 12 months after satisfying the waiting period.

Benefit PeriodMonths Supported
3 Months3
6 Months6
12 Months12
24 Months12

Pay Percentage

The short-term disability pay percentage is the most important variable in the calculation. No policy will return your full earnings (100%). Employers and insurance companies want to give workers a reason to return to work. It prevents malingering.

Therefore, insurance companies limit the percentage and total amount of pay per month.

Private Plans

The monthly benefit amount affects the premium costs. You may have chosen to cover a smaller percentage of income at the time of application in order to make the coverage affordable. Read your policy contract to find the amount you purchased.

Private plans that you purchase as an individual or as part of a group have two limits on pay percentages. The lower of the two limits determine the monthly benefit amount.

  • Hard dollar cap ranging from $5,000 to $6,500 per month
  • Percentage ceiling ranging from 66% to 70% of income

State Plans

Public plans mandated by the states have different temporary disability pay percentages. Once again, the lower of the two limits determine the monthly benefit amount.

StatePay %Cap*
New Jersey66%$650
New York50%$170
Rhode Island60%$831

How Short-Term Disability is Paid Out

Short-term disability insurance is paid out following the approval of your claim. The length of time an approval takes depends on the completeness and accuracy of the paperwork submitted by the policyholder.

The insurance company can approve a claim within days when the insured follows instructions to the letter. On the other hand, it can take months if you omit key elements, or lead to an initial denial. Once approved, the check will go out within several days.

Weekly Checks

Most short-term disability companies will pay claims weekly rather than in a lump sum. Weekly checks get the funds into the hands of policyholders more quickly when they need it most. You can also set up a direct deposit to get the money even faster.

In addition, weekly checks motivate the person to return to work as soon as possible. A lump sum paid in advance would provide no such incentive and might overcompensate the person.

Maternity Leave

The short-term disability pay for maternity leave works differently depending on the reason for the claim. Each unique claim reason plays out differently.

  • Pregnancy complications before due date: claims paid weekly after satisfying the waiting period
  • Recovery from labor and delivery: claims paid in lump sum after satisfying the elimination period
    • 6 weeks for vaginal birth
    • 8 weeks for C-section
  • Postpartum medical disorders: claims paid weekly subject to benefit period limitations

Note that most women need to satisfy the waiting period only once in these scenarios. The insurance company will treat these as a continuing disability.