Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Do Autoimmune Disease and Maternity Pay Share in Common?

Autoimmune disease and maternity leave pay share much in common. Autoimmunity is the leading cause of more than 100 chronic illnesses. These illnesses strike women 75% of the time. And of course pregnancy strikes women 100% of the time. For women who work and rely on their incomes, both conditions can cause a major disruption in family finances when worked is missed.

Autoimmune disease is the fourth leading cause of disability among women. There are approximately 30 million women living in the U.S. who may suffer from degenerate diseases such as arthritis, graves disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

Pregnancy a Disability

Somewhat surprising for many people, pregnancy is the leading cause of disability among women. Even during a perfectly healthy pregnancy, the average recovery period after vaginal delivery is six-week, and eight weeks for a c-section delivery. Twenty five percent of pregnancies will experience one or more complications, requiring mom to miss time from work prior to delivery. After childbirth postpartum disorders such as bleeding and depression are quite common.

So what does this all have to do with maternity leave pay? Short term disability insurance is the common thread. When bought before conception, short term disability insurance will cover mom's maternity leave for a perfectly healthy pregnancy. It replaces up to two-thirds of income. It pays a six-week benefit for vaginal birth, and an eight week benefit for c-section delivery, less the elimination period. Plus, complications of pregnancy will be handled the same as any other covered sickness.

Autoimmunity Flairs Periodically

Autoimmune disease is unplanned. Nobody wants to spend a lifetime dealing with a chronic debilitating disease. But the impact to quality of life can't be avoided. And lost income may occur anytime the disease flairs. Many of these chronic conditions result in short periods of pain and discomfort, followed by periods of remission - allowing work and income to resume.

Pregnancy is often planned. Couples try to get pregnant. Many couples spend thousands of dollars trying to conceive. Short term disability insurance pays a benefit for normal pregnancy that may greatly exceed the premium paid in advance of childbirth. It allows women to purchase coverage that creates maternity leave pay. Disabilities resulting from an autoimmune disorder will also be covered at no additional cost.

Short Term Disability Fits Best

Because of the intermittent nature of flareups from chronic disorders, short term disability is a far better fit than long term disability or social security disability. If your condition flares and you miss three weeks of work, your short term disability policy will replace your income for two weeks if you have a one week elimination period. Long term disability and social security disability pay nothing. The elimination period for these programs is far too long.

Neither creates maternity leave income. Again the elimination period is far too long to cover most pregnancies. In a normal pregnancy, mom is able to return to work within six to eight weeks. Most long term plans have a three month elimination period. Social security begins paying after six months. Short term disability creates maternity income, and protects women in case of autoimmune disease.

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