Being away from work, even for a few days, can be a source of hardship for many people. Most adult wage-earners do not have enough savings to offset a lengthy loss of income. Instead, many households may only have enough to pay a month or two of basic expenses, if that.
Therefore, becoming unable to work because of a medical issue can be a real concern for those who contribute to their household budgets. Especially when someone is the primary or only wage-earner for their family, having the right benefits and insurance coverage can make a big difference.
Some individuals purchase short-term disability coverage on their own so that they have protection from a sudden loss of income. Others receive disability insurance as part of a comprehensive benefits package offered by an employer. Most people know that long-term disability coverage can help them when they can no longer work at all and must leave their job for a long time. But they may feel less clear about what they can expect from short-term disability benefits.
Every disability policy is slightly different
Short-term disability coverage varies significantly in how much of someone’s wages policy will replace and also how many weeks of payments people can expect. Some policies will only cover applicants for the first month that they are away from work. Others may provide coverage for up to a year. Typically, the terms for a short-term disability policy dovetail with the coverage provided by a complementary long-term disability policy. Insurance brokerages and employers tend to offer short-term and long-term coverage bundles so that when the short-term policy ends, the applicant can potentially apply for long-term disability benefits.
Short-term coverage can protect against significant income gaps
Many people focus far more on long-term disability benefits after an injury, but short-term coverage can be equally important. When one considers that the amount paid is often only a percentage of the wages lost, recovering for as many weeks of lost wages as possible becomes of the utmost importance.
Workers need to know when and how to apply for short-term disability benefits and also how to appeal if they run into challenges during the claims process. Seeking legal guidance to better understand how to make use of supplemental disability benefits will likely be very important to those who are unable to work because of an injury or illness.