How does short-term disability insurance work in Utah?

The state does not have a mandatory program covering temporary medical conditions. Social Security addresses permanent situations but not help people who can return to work within one year.

Purchasing a private policy at work or directly as an individual is a great way to protect your income from the expected and unexpected. Just make sure you act before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.

Women planning a pregnancy expect normal childbirth. The rest of us could experience an accident or become sick at any time. Act at the right time.

Applying for Short-Term Disability in Utah

How do you apply for short-term disability in Utah? The state does not offer a program covering temporary medical conditions. Plus, apply could mean file a claim or buy a new policy.

Therefore, the answer could be different for every site visitor depending on timing and reason.

Filing a Claim

You file a claim for short-term disability benefits in Utah with the private insurance company who issued the policy. You cannot file a claim for coverage you did not purchase in advance of your need. You must purchase a private policy before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant!

Apply for these alternative programs if you do not already own a private policy.

  1. Personal loans could provide emergency cash that you must repay later
  2. Debt settlement programs could offer long-term relief to people who resume working

Download a claim form from the website of the issuing company if you do own a policy. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid any delays. Three people must sign the claim form.

  1. Policyholder
  2. Doctor
  3. Employer

Applying for Coverage

Request a short-term disability quote as the first step towards applying for a new policy. An agent licensed in Utah may contact you to provide an estimate of premium costs for a variety of policy configurations.

  1. Elimination period: how long before payments begin
  2. Monthly benefit amount: how much the policy pays
  3. Benefit period: how long the payments last

The agent can help you complete the new policy application and submit it to the insurance company for approval. Keep in mind that you must be healthy enough to qualify for new coverage.

Utah Short-Term Disability for Pregnancy

Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy is a popular program for women in Utah. However, one requirement trips up a large percentage – since the state does not have a mandatory program.

You must purchase a private policy prior to conception to qualify for pregnancy-related benefits. Any new policy will exclude any pre-existing pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to plan carefully and act promptly since Utah does not have paid maternity leave, and FMLA does not replace income.

Paid Maternity Leave

Utah does not have any state-mandated paid maternity leave benefits. Women who need to take time off from work to give birth must find alternative means of income replacement.

Voluntary short-term disability (plans purchased through employers) offers a paid maternity leave option. The policy pays a benefit (if purchased prior to conception) for mom’s normal labor and delivery.

  • Vaginal Birth: 6 Weeks
  • Cesarean Section: 8 Weeks

Most employers (including small businesses with 3 or more employees) can offer this form of voluntarily paid maternity leave benefits. Employees pay the premiums themselves. Therefore, the employer bears no direct cost and has no excuse.

How FMLA Works

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) works in Utah the same way it does in every other state. It is a federal regulation. FMLA provides up to 12-weeks of unpaid job and health insurance protections during maternity leave.

People who purchase short-term disability before the need for FMLA arises plug the unpaid hole in the law – if they are taking leave for their own disability. However, two other big holes remain.

You must work for a covered employer and must be an eligible employee.

  1. Covered Employers
    1. Employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks
    2. One or more worksites within 75 miles
  2. Eligible Employees
    1. Worked for that employer for at least 12 months
    2. Worked for at least 1,250 hours over the 12 months
    3. Works at a location with 50 or more employees within 75 miles

Utah State Disability Benefits

Utah state disability consists only of long-term benefits available through Social Security. As mentioned earlier, the state does not have a program addressing temporary medical conditions. In addition, Social Security does not cover temporary disabilities. Unemployment benefits are a poor substitute.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment compensation is a poor substitute for state disability in Utah. However, it could help after you recover from your illness or injury – if you lost your job. You must meet these three universal criteria in order to qualify.

  1. Physically able to work
  2. Available for duty
  3. Actively seeking new employment

Utah law permits some terminated workers to collect unemployment if they quit for a good cause reason related to their health. Section R994-405-107 8(A) states the following.

Although it is not essential for the claimant to have been advised by a physician to quit, a contention that health problems required the separation must be supported by competent evidence. Even if the work caused or aggravated a health problem, if there were alternatives, such as treatment, medication, or altered working conditions to alleviate the problem, good cause for quitting is not established.”

Social Security

Social Security is the closest thing to a Utah state disability plan. The Social Security program is a federal entitlement administered at the state level. Utah residents may qualify for one of two plans that address long-term medical conditions only.

  1. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid FICA taxes.
  2. Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources.

Determination Services

Utah Disability Determination Services offices administer SSDI and SSI claims on behalf of residents. Come prepared with detailed documentation and expect a long wait for a decision. Be polite with the staff – they are doing the best they can.

Below is a short list of Disability Determination Service office locations. The general phone number is (800) 772-1213.

  • 175 E 400 S #500, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • 10138 S Jordan Gateway, South Jordan, UT 84095
  • 88 W 100 N, Provo, UT 84601
  • 2069 N Main St #102, Cedar City, UT 84721
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