In 2005 alone, there were more than 24 million disabling injuries. That's 2,750 every hour, says the National Safety Council! While all of these incidents did not result in permanent injury or the need for long term disability insurance, they did require some time off and many people were concerned about lost wages and how to cover basic living expenses. Luckily, most working adults pay into a system of disability insurance through their employers, so they'll be covered should they ever need it. Self-employed individuals and contract employees may opt into a similar system to protect their wages as well.
One type of short-term disability insurance applies to the states of California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island only. These locations offer State Disability Insurance benefits, which may also be referred to as temporary disability insurance. When a person comes down with an illness or non-work-related injury that is expected to last for a short amount of time, they can receive partial wage replacement under this program. These state programs pay maternity disability benefits for pregnancy and childbirth as well.
Workers may be able to go back to work -- either with the same employer or a different employer -- and will still receive a certain percentage of their new pay. The money for these programs is paid through automatic payroll deductions, so any non-government employee is eligible, even if they are currently out of work. (However, they will not be eligible for SDI and unemployment insurance at the same time.)
Once you apply for short-term disability insurance, you will have to wait to see if you're approved. On average, this can take anywhere from one day to 14 days. If approved, you will receive back-pay for the waiting period.
Injuries generally clear much faster than illnesses, for which you will need a medical doctor to provide verification documentation on your disability insurance claims. If you disagree with the rejection of your claim, then you may appeal the determination, file a lawsuit or both. If you intend to appear in court, it's advisable to have an attorney who specializes in disability benefits law.
Short-term disability insurance frees you from worrying about how you're going to pay the bills or cover basic daily expenses as you recuperate from a sudden illness or injury. In some cases, you may be quite certain that you're filing for disability long term, but you must first make a claim for short-term benefits and then re-apply for long-term benefits once your temporary disability insurance runs out. In some cases, you will need to apply for social security disability if you are over age 65 or worker's compensation if you were hurt on the job. You aren't mandated to stay at home for the entire time you're rehabilitating; in fact, many employers encourage you to come back to work, even in part-time as you heal.