Basics of Short-Term Disability Benefits
If you are disabled and unable to work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the myriad of tasks you’ll need to complete in order to receive your benefits. What’s worse is the fact that you may not even know where to start. A short-term disability lawyer like John E. Dunlap can help. We know what you’re going through and we’ve helped numerous clients navigate the system, both successfully and with as little stress as possible.
Figuring out the various types of benefits disabled individuals may be entitled to can be very confusing. With that in mind, here are some questions people often ask about short term disability benefits and how they work:
What’s the difference between short-term disability and long-term disability?
Short-term disability, as the name implies, is a policy that provides for benefits during shorter periods of time. This typically applies to workers who are temporarily unable to work due to a non-work-related illness or injury. The period covered by short-term disability varies from policy to policy but will often last anywhere between three and six months after which it switches over into long-term disability.
What is the difference between short term disability and Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a program paid for entirely by the federal government, whereas short-term disability is provided through a disability insurance company and is usually funded by employers — often in the form of a group plan for their employees.
SSDI benefits are notoriously difficult to qualify for, but they cover a longer period of time than short-term disability. SSDI benefits are available to individuals who cannot work due to a medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.
On the other hand, short-term disability benefits are available to workers who are unable to work for a much shorter period of time — such as a pregnant employee who needs 6-8 weeks to recover from giving birth. It’s also important to note that SSDI benefits are only available to those who have worked and paid into the system, whereas employers typically provide short-term disability insurance benefits for all of their employees.
How does short-term disability work?
Your short-term disability policy typically covers 60–70% of your total wages, up to a certain dollar amount. For instance, if you earn $30,000 per year and are approved for benefits through your employer’s program, the insurance company will pay 60% of that income or $18,000 per year. The purpose of this, of course, is to ensure that even with the loss of income you are still able to pay your bills and keep up with regular expenses.
How long does it take to get benefits?
The amount of time it takes to receive short-term disability benefits varies from policy to policy. It is important to check your policy for details on this, but in general, if you are injured or become ill while working your claim should be processed between 30 and 45 days.
On the other hand, SSDI claims can take up to two months to be processed after approval.
How do short-term disability benefit claims become long-term disability claims?
It is not uncommon for short-term disability benefits to lead to long-term disability claims. These benefits only cover a temporary period of time, so if your condition does not improve quickly, you may be able to switch over to long-term disability insurance benefits, if you have that type of coverage. For instance, if you are diagnosed with cancer shortly after being approved for short-term disability, it is likely that you will be eligible to file a long-term disability claim.
What can be covered by short-term disability benefits?
This can differ somewhat from policy to policy, and it is important that you read through the coverage carefully. However, many short-term disability policies cover a wide range of non-work-related injuries or illnesses such as pregnancy/maternity leave, heart attacks and strokes, cancer, chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia and arthritis, and mental health issues, like depression and anxiety. Short-term disability policies will not cover every illness or injury you could possibly have, but there are some illnesses that they traditionally do not include in the coverage, such as the common cold or flu.
What Illnesses and Injuries Qualify for Short-Term Disability?
To qualify for short-term disability or Social Security Disability insurance benefits, you must have an injury or illness that will prevent you from working for several weeks to a few months. Perhaps you’ve had a car accident and need to recover, or maybe you’ve been injured in a work-related mishap. You may have broken a bone, hurt your back or head, or suffered a burn and you can’t work until you recover. The situation might be more serious if you must be hospitalized for your injuries or undergo surgery.
You may also qualify for financial support if you have a chronic condition that has flared up. This may include everything from cancer to carpal tunnel to asthma. A severe acute disease, such as a heart attack or stroke, may also qualify you for short-term disability coverage or Social Security Disability. Any of these medical conditions can cause financial stress, but a short-term disability lawyer in Memphis can guide you through the claims process to get the support you need.
What Are Some Reasons Your Short-Term Disability Claim Might Be Denied?
Your short-term disability insurance claim may be denied for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your medical evidence was incomplete for your disability hearing. Or your employer or insurance company may have thought that you, as a disability claimant, failed to prove your case from the existing medical records. You might also have a preexisting condition getting in the way or have failed to follow an agreed-upon treatment plan. This is why you need an experienced disability attorney to take you through the appeal process, so you can get the help you need to get back on your feet.
How can a short-term disability lawyer help me?
An experienced short-term disability lawyer in Memphis can help you to understand your rights, the paperwork involved in filing a claim, and how best to do so. They can also negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies or employers if there are any problems along the way. Furthermore, an attorney will be able to ensure that all of your bases are covered in terms of filing a claim.
With over three decades of experience, John E. Dunlap can guide you in deciding if your situation calls for short term disability, SSDI or long-term disability benefits, and can help you file your claim. In the case of wrongful denials, he can also assist you with the appeals process. Contact us today to get started!