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Plan for the unexpected with a short-term disability policy

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Most people in Garden City will take time off from work occasionally. People in the workforce can plan for their vacations, but something that could keep them out of work that they cannot plan for is a serious injury or illness. When taking a day or two of sick leave is not enough, injured or ill workers may need to look into other options.

Sometimes a person has a short-term disability policy through their workplace. Such policies may compensate a person after a certain time period has passed, should they temporarily be unable to work. The employee will have to submit a claim along with medical records to their insurer. A person may receive benefits under a short-term disability policy for a certain amount of time, such as half a year. If, after this time a person still cannot return to work due to their disability, they may have to seek long-term disability benefits.

However, the benefits of such a policy may only amount to a certain percentage of the worker’s earnings. On average, a policy will only pay out 60 percent of a worker’s earnings. Also, not all employers offer short-term disability benefits, and even if they do workers do not always take advantage of this. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that just under 40 percent of workers in the nation have a short-term disability policy.

One option if such benefits are not provided by one’s employer, is for the worker to purchase their own private short-term disability policy. The cost of such a policy are affected by a person’s health and state regulations. On average a person will pay about $125 monthly for a private short-term disability policy. However, a person should purchase such a policy proactively, before they actually need to use it.

In the end, having a short-term disability policy, either private or through one’s employer, can be very helpful when the unexpected happens, even if it only compensates a person for a percentage of their earnings. However, proving one has a short-term disability for the purposes of obtaining benefits is not always easy, and sometimes employers or insurers will drag their feet in processing a claim or may even deny the claim altogether. When this happens, it may help to have an attorney by one’s side, who can help the worker submit a claim and appeal a denial if necessary.

Source: time.com, “What to Do When Your Short-Term Disability Pay Isn’t Enough,” Beth Pinsker, July 28, 2016

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