Short-term disability insurance during pregnancy takes the financial worry out of complications that occur before delivery. You doctor may order you to stop working as early as your first trimester.
Can you afford to take the time off without an income?
Short-term disability insurance during maternity leave covers mom’s recovery from normal labor and delivery. The very same policy can extend benefits if she delays her return to the job because of postpartum problems.
- Application forms qualifications and requirements
- Covering pregnancy complications before delivery
- Maternity leave pay taxation and returning to work
Short-Term Disability Pregnancy Forms & Qualifications
Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy works differently than most site visitors assume. Most states do not automatically offer temporary coverage. Most employers do not offer paid leave. You must buy a private policy at the right time, in the right place.
Explore the application forms you must complete, and when you must file them. Find the most common qualifications and requirements, and alternative solutions if the insurance company denies your application.
The guidelines for short-term disability for pregnancy application forms center on timing and place. Timing is the most important guideline, affecting the largest number of site visitors. Where to buy a policy is the second qualification.
Complete an online quote form before pregnancy. Estimate the monthly premium cost, and compare the cost to the expected claims payments for normal childbirth. See examples of what the policy may also pay in the event of complications, premature birth, postpartum disorders, accidents, or an illness.
Complete a policy application form at least three months before your pregnancy begins. Many babies arrive early. Avoid having a claim denied for delivering within the nine-month exclusion for normal childbirth. Also, build in delays in case you choose to ask your employer for a voluntary option first. Read about qualifications below for further details.
You can still buy a policy after conception, but it will not cover your pre-existing condition. The company will deny any gravidity-related claim that occurs within 12-months of the effective date. You will have to consider other resources to reduce expenses or obtain emergency funding.
Debt relief application – if you owe more than $10,000 in unsecured obligations (credit card debt, personal loans, or unpaid medical bills), then a settlement program may help. You can quickly fall behind without an income. In addition, your labor and delivery can leave you with extra medical expenses.
Complete a maternity leave loan application form if you learned about short-term disability for pregnancy after conception. Borrowed funding could be your only viable option to afford your time away from the job.
Other Requirements & Qualifications
After timing, the second most important short-term disability for pregnancy qualifications relate to where to buy a policy. You have an important choice to make.
- Voluntary policies cover normal childbirth in addition to accidents, illnesses, and pregnancy complications. You qualify for better benefits only if your employer agrees to offer the program. Employees pay the premium through payroll deduction.
- Individual policies do not cover normal childbirth. You qualify for benefits only in case of accidents, illnesses, and pregnancy complications that occur before delivery.
Other short-term disability pregnancy requirements often come into play.
- Part-time employees must work more than 20 hours per week. Each carrier has different rules.
- The unemployed are not eligible to buy a new policy. If you want to file a claim for benefits, all companies require that you have active coverage already in place before becoming unemployed. They might require you to demonstrate that your medical condition prevents you from performing two or more activities of daily living.
- New job seekers should keep their policy from their old employer in force. Many are portable. This means that you can pay the premiums directly while looking for, or starting a new job. Any coverage from your new employer will automatically exclude any preexisting health condition.
Short-Term Disability Pregnancy Complications
Short-term disability insurance covering pregnancy complications before delivery (maternity leave) is extremely important for the health of mom and her unborn baby. Women who start a policy prior to conception do not have to choose between following doctors’ orders and continuing to work because they need an income to pay regular bills.
Individual policies bought outside of employers do cover pregnancy complications before delivery. If you stop working very early (especially during your first trimester) you will be very glad to have the coverage – even though it will not cover your normal labor and delivery.
Short-term disability is often very helpful during pregnancy bed rest before delivery. Your doctor may prescribe bed rest in order to stabilize any number of medical conditions. While you are resting at home, you will not be able to work and earn an income.
If your doctor prescribes bed rest during your first trimester because of a valid medical reason, the policy could pay benefits for as long as a year or more. The length of time you are covered depends on the features of the plan and your own personal health experience.
- The elimination period (how long you must wait for benefits to begin) could be 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days.
- The benefit period (how long claims payments last while you are unable to work) could be 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, or 24 months.
- Claims payments could stop just before normal childbirth if you obtain the contract as an individual outside of your employer.
- Claims payments could continue through your recovery from labor and delivery if you elected coverage through your employer.
- Benefits could last beyond the standard 6 or 8 weeks for normal delivery if postpartum complications delay your return to work.
Your policy will not automatically cover bed rest. Your doctor’s note must include the medical reason why you are unable to perform the duties of your full-time occupation.
Valid Claims Reasons
Likewise, not every pregnancy complication is automatically a valid claims reason for short-term disability. These medical conditions must interfere with your ability to perform the regular duties of your full-time occupation in order to be a valid claims reason before birth.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome must impede the performance of your primary job duties
- Exhaustion by itself does not meet the standard
- Gestational diabetes rarely interferes with job duties
- Lower back pain can impede lifting or standing for long periods
- Sciatica also impedes sitting or standing for long periods.
- Miscarriage may require recovery at home
- Morning sickness must be very severe and continue daily for weeks
- High-risk pregnancy alone does not qualify unless combined with a specific medical condition
- Stress or anxiety are mental conditions and rarely covered
- Preterm labor may be eligible under childbirth rules
Short Term Disability Insurance Maternity Leave
Short-term disability insurance covers maternity leave and makes claims payments while new mothers recover from normal childbirth. Having a policy allows you to spend more time bonding with your baby, and less time worrying about how to pay your bills.
The most common questions site visitors ask revolve around the taxation of benefits, the amount, and length of maternity leave payments, and rules for extending leave and returning to work.
Maternity Leave Pay
Short-term disability maternity leave pay works as follows for new mothers. Most plans will replace up to 2/3 of your gross monthly income. This applies only to policies covering normal childbirth, which you can obtain only at work.
- 6-week cash payment for vaginal birth
- 8-week cash payment for C-section delivery
- Payments begin after satisfying your elimination period
- Elimination period is commonly one or two weeks
Apply for disability benefits by filing a claim form with the insurance company who issued your policy. Of course, this only works to your advantage if you work in a state with a mandatory program (CA, HI, NJ, NY, or RI), or if you purchased a private policy prior to conception.
Maternity Leave Taxes
Short-term disability maternity leave taxes are a crucial topic for two reasons. Taxation alters the cost-benefit equation and indirectly answers a very common question about canceling coverage after having a baby.
The rules for taxation of the claims payments are as follows.
- If you pay the premiums with after-tax dollars, the benefit is tax-free.
- If you pay the premiums with before-tax dollars, the benefit is subject to taxation.
- If your employer pays a portion of the premium, a proportional amount is taxed.
The expected maternity leave benefit for normal labor and delivery is often several multiples of the annual premium. Most couples prefer paying taxes on the smaller amount of income. This means that after-tax contributions maximize the value.
After-tax payment of premium also allows the owner to cancel the policy at any time outside of an open enrollment. Many women choose to cancel coverage shortly after receiving their claims check in the mail.
Reasons to Extend
Medically based postpartum problems are the most common reasons to extend short-term disability for maternity leave. Having a baby is a high-risk activity. Things do not always go the way you envision. You may be injured during delivery, or develop an infection.
The main disorders that might affect you after a vaginal delivery include fissures, infections, and postpartum hemorrhage. The leading risk factors include:
- A baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Use of forceps or vacuum
- Repair of large episiotomy tear
A delivery via C-section is a relatively safe surgical procedure, but entails a higher risk of complications as it is far more invasive. The most common disorders associated with this surgery are blood clots in your legs or lungs, anesthesia-related nausea, and bowel movement problems (ileus).
Many new mothers experience postpartum depression after delivery. You may experience feelings of extreme sadness. A variety of factors can cause this change in mood.
- Changes in hormone levels
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in relationships
Short-term disability for postpartum depression is rarely covered. Check your legal language to see if it excludes mental disorders. Many do not consider postpartum depression or stress as a valid reason to extend maternity leave benefits.
Returning to Work
Your plans for returning to work do not extend short-term disability maternity leave benefits. Medical necessity determines the length of claims payments. They continue as long as your doctor indicates you are unable to perform your full-time duties, or the payment period ends.
A choice to stay at home longer is unrelated to your medical condition. You can choose to return to work long after recovering physically. However, your policy may no longer make claims payments.
The same holds true for women not returning to work after maternity leave. The policy makes claims payments while you are physically unable to perform the duties of your full-time occupation. Your plans to quit the job do not affect benefits.
Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy and maternity leave makes great sense. Act now!