Short-term Disability Insurance is a protection for workers that the State of New York requires most of its employers to offer. Unlike insurance programs such as Workers’ Compensation, which cover injuries that occur on the jobsite, short-term disability insurance covers workers who are temporarily unable to work due to illnesses, injuries, or other conditions that occur away from the workplace.
In order to help employers provide this protection, New York has its own insurance fund that employers can purchase insurance from. But New York also allows employers some flexibility in how they provide coverage. They can purchase insurance from another provider as long as it meets the minimum standards set by the State. Large enough employers can also get permission and make arrangements simply to have enough money available within the business to pay any disability claims.
Who is covered?
To be eligible to receive benefits from a short-term disability program, you must be a “covered employee.” You are a covered employee if you meet any of the following criteria:
- You have been working for at least four weeks for an employer who is required to offer a short-term disability program
- You were a covered employee before and are returning to work after an unpaid vacation or leave of absence
- You were a covered employee, but stopped working for the employer who offered the short-term disability program within the past four weeks
- You were eligible for a short-term disability program at your old job, and took a new job with an employer who is also required to offer a short-term disability program
- You are a domestic worker (such as a nanny, housekeeper, or personal assistant) who works at least 40 hours each week for the same employer
What conditions qualify for short-term disability?
Short-term disability is available to help cover a wide variety of conditions that can prevent a worker from doing his or her job. The condition must keep you from working for more than seven consecutive days, and you won’t be eligible to begin receiving payments until the eighth day. This includes illnesses ranging from the flu to cancer, physical injuries like broken legs, and pregnancies.
How much does short-term disability pay?
In theory, short-term disability insurance was designed to pay up to half of your weekly wages. However, the law currently limits payments under the State plan to $170 per week for up to 26 weeks per year. Factoring in the seven-day waiting period mentioned above, that comes to at most $ 4,420 per year—which any New Yorker can tell you won’t get you very far! Employers and private insurers may offer more in benefits, but are not required to do so.
How do I get short-term disability?
If you believe you are eligible to collect short-term disability benefits, it’s critical that you act quickly. You must file your claim within 30 days of the injury, or you will have lost your chance. If you have questions about your disability claim and would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, call us to arrange a free consultation.