How to Get Temporary or Short-Term Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in July 2023 to include more states that offer short-term disability benefits. If you need less than a year off for health reasons, can you apply for short-term disability? Yes — if your job’s benefits package includes that specific type of insurance coverage and you’re currently an eligible employee. However, some U.S. states also provide temporary or short-term cash assistance if you meet their program requirements. We’ll explain how to qualify, pay amounts and more for the following states below:

Does the Federal Government Pay Temporary Disability?

No, the federal government doesn’t provide either temporary or short-term disability benefits. If your disability’s expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death, apply for SSI or SSDI. Your health problems must prevent you from working at least 12 months in a row to get monthly SSI or SSDI payments.

Understanding the Difference Between Short-Term Disability Benefits and Workers’ Compensation

Does your employer’s benefits package include short-term disability insurance coverage? If so, here’s what you need to know about getting short-term disability benefits through your employer:

  1. First, you must have worked at your current company long enough to qualify for short-term disability benefits. In most cases, your employer should have a handbook or guide detailing all eligibility requirements. If not, contact your Human Resources department and ask them directly.
  2. You must have already used up all your paid sick leave days before you can qualify for short-term disability benefits.
  3. Another important point is that your illness or injury must not be work-related. Work-related injuries and occupational illnesses generally fall under the workers’ compensation umbrella. That’s because workers’ compensation typically pays short-term disability benefits to employees hurt or sick at work. Most state laws require that employers carry this insurance to cover any eligible employees. If you suffer a workplace injury accident, you should file a workers’ comp claim.

Important: Any short-term disability benefits you receive through your state’s temporary assistance program don’t go through your employer. Your employer’s insurance provider is responsible for paying any workers’ comp or short-term disability benefits once they approve your claim. If you believe your employer’s insurer wrongly denies you benefits, then contact a workers’ comp attorney for free here.

Keep in mind that temporary and short-term disability benefits never last more than a year. Depending on where you live, workers’ compensation typically covers a much longer timeframe than temporary or short-term disability benefits do.

How to Apply for Short-Term Disability With Your Individual Insurance Provider

Applying for short-term disability benefits is simple. First, you must provide medical evidence that supports your illness or injury claim. (Your doctor or caregiver should have forms detailing your medical history and current disability diagnosis.) Then, you’ll file a claim through your employer’s insurance company or your own insurer, if you have an individual policy. Once your claim’s approved, you may get short-term benefits paid in as little as eight days! The benefit amount usually equals 60% of your wages, which should help make ends meet until you’re working again.

How Californians Can Apply for Short-Term Disability Benefits

California workers who become disabled for up to one year may file a State Disability Insurance (SDI) claim. The state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) handles all SDI claims, which only cover disabled Californians with off-the-job illnesses and injuries. California’s SDI policy covers claimants for up to 52 weeks — the longest period for any state-managed short-term disability benefits program. Once approved, you may receive up to $1,620 in weekly cash payments in 2023. However, other factors may change your final approved SDI amount. Learn more helpful information about how California’s SDI program works.

FAQs About Connecticut’s Short-Term Cash Payments

You can receive up to 12 weeks of short-term disability benefits in Connecticut unless you’re pregnant. Pregnant applicants who qualify can receive no more than 14 weeks of temporary cash payments. However, the state’s Paid Family Leave (CT-PFL) program does not pay short-term disability benefits to:

  • Railroad workers
  • Federal employees
  • Municipal employees or board of education members
  • Self-employed workers or sole proprietors who don’t pay into the state-run fund
  • Private or charter elementary and secondary school employees

To qualify, you must show proof of employment and the reason why you need benefits. Once approved, you can receive $600 to $900 per week in Connecticut short-term disability benefits. Learn more about the CT-PFL program and start your application online.

Qualifying for Temporary Disability Benefits In Hawaii

Hawaiians working at least 20 hours for 14 out of the last 52 weeks may qualify for temporary disability benefits. In addition, applicants must have jobs when filing a Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) claim in order to qualify. Eligible claimants may receive up to $765 for no more than 26 weeks per benefit year. For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions About Hawaii’s TDI Program.

How Maryland’s Temporary Disability Program Works

If you live in Maryland, you can qualify for temporary cash benefits even if you don’t have a job. The state’s Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) provides monthly payments to disabled Marylanders without dependent children. To qualify, you must submit a complete medical report from a licensed doctor to your Local Department of Social Services. You can apply for TDAP benefits in person, by mail or fax. Eligible TDAP applicants may receive up to $256 in short-term disability benefits for 12 months in a 36-month period. If your disability should last more than 12 months, you must also apply for SSI. You also cannot have more than $185 in monthly income or $1,500 in countable assets to qualify.

Applying for Massachusetts Short-Term Disability Benefits

Need to take up to 6 months off for a health issue that isn’t work-related (like pregnancy)? File a claim with Massachusetts’ Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program. PFML pays short-term disability benefits for no more than:

  • 26 weeks while you take maternity leave
  • 20 weeks to recover from your own serious health condition, including illness or surgery
  • 12 weeks to care for a sick or injured family member or bond with your new child

In 2023, the PFML max weekly benefit amount is $1,129.82. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.

Who Can Apply for New Jersey’s Short-Term Cash Assistance?

The New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law (TBDL) covers you if you earned at least $13,000 last year at work. If you’re unable to work and not currently on workers’ comp, you can file a TBDL claim. Be sure to file your claim within 30 days after your first missed day of work, though. Those who qualify can receive up to 26 weeks of temporary benefits that pay no more than $1,025 per week in 2023. For more details about the TBDL, visit

Qualifying for Temporary Disability In New York

If you have a non-work-related illness or injury and live in New York, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s Disability Benefits Law provides weekly cash payments to those who qualify. You can receive up to $170 per week for no more than 26 out of 52 consecutive weeks. The form you’ll use to file your claim will vary, depending on your current employment status. Visit the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website to print the form that applies to your specific situation.

Understanding Rhode Island’s Temporary Aid Programs

Rhode Island employees whose injuries and illnesses aren’t work-related can apply for the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefits program. Importantly, TDI claimants don’t owe state or federal income tax on those payments. The state’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program covers family caregivers or parents wishing to bond with a new child. Qualified TCI applicants can get benefits (which are subject to federal and state income taxes) for up to four weeks. For 2023, Rhode Island short-term disability benefits pay at least $121 per week. The maximum is $1,043 per week, provided you earned at least $15,600 the year before you apply. To apply for short-term disability benefits through either program, visit the Rhode Island Temporary Disability page.

How to Get Short-Term Disability in Washington

Washington’s Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program pays up to 12 weeks of short-term disability benefits. To qualify, you must:

  • Work for at least 820 hours (about 16 hours every week) before you apply
  • Notify your employer at least 30 days before your planned time off (if possible)
  • File your application within 30 days after a qualifying event

PFML pays up to $1,427 per week in short-term disability benefits for no more than:

  • 12 weeks of personal medical leave
  • 16 weeks of family and medical leave combined (i.e., for pregnancy and time off to bond with your baby)
  • 18 weeks of combined leave for certain pregnancy complications, like required bed rest or a C-section

Get Free Help Filing for Permanent Disability Benefits

If short-term disability benefits don’t last long enough, then you might qualify for long-term payments instead. However, SSI and SSDI are hard to get and the paperwork alone can take months. Having an attorney file your claim nearly triples your chances of winning benefits in months, not years. An attorney charges $0 for helping you if the SSA denies you these payments.

Want free expert claim help without leaving your home? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.