Important: We updated this article with current state and federal benefit program information in April 2022. If you’re disabled, can you apply for short-term disability benefits? 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 disability benefits for permanent residents, provided you meet their program requirements. California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have state-run programs that provide temporary or short-term disability benefits.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t have any programs that 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:
- 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.
- You must have already used up all your paid sick leave days before you can qualify for short-term disability benefits.
- Another important distinction 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 claims typically pay 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 your claim is approved. If you believe your workers’ compensation claim was wrongly denied by your employer’s insurance provider, contact a workers’ comp attorney here.
Keep in mind that temporary and short-term disability benefits don’t last very long after you do qualify for assistance. 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 documentation 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 provider or your own insurer, if you have an individual policy. Once your claim’s approved, you may start receiving short-term benefits in as little as eight days! The benefit amount typically equals 60% of your wages, which should help make ends meet until you’re working full-time 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 $1,540 in weekly cash payments in 2022. However, other factors may change your final approved SDI amount. Learn more helpful information about how California’s SDI program works.
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 be currently employed when filing a Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) claim in order to qualify. Eligible claimants may receive up to $697/week 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 don’t need current employment to qualify for temporary disability benefits. The state-funded 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 physician to your Local Department of Social Services. You can apply for TDAP benefits in person, by mail or fax. Eligible TDAP applicants may receive cash short-term disability benefits for 12 months only 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.
Who Can Apply for New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Benefits?
Employers who pay workers at least $1,000 per year are covered by the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law (TBDL). If you’re unable to work due to an illness or injury that isn’t work-related, you can file a TBDL claim. Be sure to file your claim within 30 days after your first missed day of work, though. Qualified applicants can receive up to 26 weeks of temporary disability benefits with a maximum payment of $993/week in 2022. For more details about the TBDL, visit myleavebenefits.nj.gov.
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 eligible disabled residents. If approved, 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 temporary disability benefits claim will vary, depending on your current employment status. Visit the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website to download the form that applies to your specific situation.
Understanding Rhode Island’s Two Temporary Disability Benefits 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 their temporarily disability benefits. 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 2022, the minimum Rhode Island short-term disability payment is $98/week. The maximum is $978/week, provided you earned at least $14,700 annually before becoming disabled. To apply for short-term disability benefits through either program, visit the Rhode Island Temporary Disability page.
You May Qualify For Legal Assistance
Figuring out which temporary or short-term disability benefits you may qualify for can be confusing, depending on your specific circumstances. Having an attorney file your claim nearly triples your chances for federal disability benefit approval. Plus, an attorney can get you the maximum benefits you may qualify for, regardless of your claim type.
Ready to see if you may qualify for monthly federal disability payments? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
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 Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, 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.