We do not handle Social Security Disability (SSDI) claims.

Short-term disability insurance and maternity leave

Shawn E. McDermott

Last year, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure that will require most employers in the state to provide up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected family and medical leave (and up to 16 weeks if medical complications warrant). That will put us ahead of many states, where only the unpaid leave provided for in the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is required. However, because of all the work required to implement the law, it doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024.

Although family and medical leave can be used when a person is ill or injured or caring for a family member who is, it’s often used for maternity leave. Until Colorado’s paid family leave law takes effect, can you use your employer-provided short-term disability (STD) insurance?

That depends on the policy. Policies that cover pregnancy vary in how much income they replace (typically between 50% and 100%) and for how long. The most common time period is six weeks. Some policies extend that period if a mother has a C-section or if there are complications that may prevent her from doing her job for longer.

Why you should have STD coverage before getting pregnant

It’s wise for anyone to have STD coverage – particularly if you get it through your employer for little or no money. However, if you’re considering getting pregnant, you’ll want to have it before your pregnancy. Otherwise, the insurer can potentially deny coverage by considering the pregnancy a pre-existing condition.

Often, people don’t read the fine print on their disability insurance policies until they need them. If you have been denied coverage for pregnancy by your employer’s STD insurance provider and you believe that, according to the provisions of the policy, you should be covered, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.

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