Many of us start our working lives believing that we are invincible. Blessed to be relatively healthy, we may not consider the need for any type of protection from injury or illness. This type of positivity typically only lasts until something bad occurs either to us or to a loved one. That’s where short-term disability benefits come in.
More than 25% of people under the age of 25 can expect to suffer a disability that will cause them to miss a significant amount of work before retirement. The likelihood of short-term disability is even greater. 5.6% of all working Americans will experience a disability that lasts for 6 months or less each year.
Fortunately, many employers provide short-term disability benefits for employees, which can provide compensation for a limited period of time if you are unable to work due to a disability. It is important to keep in mind that short-term disability benefits through an insurance policy are separate from New Jersey State Temporary Disability benefits. If you are facing a disability that may leave you unable to work, a Cherry Hill disability benefits lawyer can help you apply for this type of coverage.
What Are Short-Term Disability Benefits?
There are two main types of insurance policies that provide compensation for workers who cannot perform their jobs due to a disability: short-term and long-term disability. All disability claims begin with short-term disability benefits. Depending on the length of your disability, you may then be eligible to apply for long-term disability.
Short-term disability insurance will pay a percentage of your weekly income (typically 40 to 60%) for a limited period of time if you cannot perform your job duties due to a disability. You can apply for short-term disability benefits after a waiting period (usually 1 to 14 days) after your disability begins.
Most employers provide short-term disability insurance as an employment benefit, although you can purchase it on your own if your employer does not offer it. There are usually a number of rules that must be followed in order to qualify for short-term disability benefits, particularly if it is provided by your employer. For example, many employers require that their employees use all of their sick leave and/or paid time off before applying for benefits.
These types of benefits are usually only available to employees who have worked for an employer for a certain amount of time, and to those employees who work full-time. To be eligible, you will have to provide documentation of an injury or illness. This disability must have been caused by something other than your job; if you suffered a work-related illness or injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits instead of short-term disability benefits.
New Jersey is one of the few states that require employers to provide short-term disability benefits to employees. Pennsylvania does not mandate that employers provide this type of coverage. Under the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law, you may be eligible for cash benefits for an injury or illness that was not work-related.
Under this law, employees (excluding federal government and out-of-state workers as well as contractors) can receive temporary disability benefits as long as they have paid into the program and meet minimum gross earnings requirements. The weekly benefit amount is based on your average weekly wage. Individuals who qualify will be paid two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to the maximum payable amount of $667 per week; after July 1, 2020, this formula will change to 85% of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $881 per week.
How Long Can You Receive Short-Term Disability Benefits?
If you qualify for short-term disability benefits, the length of time that you will receive benefits will depend on the terms of your policy. While you may receive benefits for anywhere between 9 and 52 weeks, most policies provide benefits for 3 to 6 months. This is known as your benefit period.
If you return to work before the expiration of your benefit period, your benefits will terminate. Otherwise, if your disability continues, you can apply for long-term disability benefits. Once approved, long-term disability benefits may last anywhere from 2 years to retirement age.
For New Jersey residents who qualify for state disability benefits, there is a non-specific limit on the length of time that you can receive benefits. Instead, it is calculated based on the number of benefits that you receive. The maximum amount that may be paid for each period of disability is the lesser of 26 times the weekly benefit amount or one-third of the total wages in New Jersey covered employment paid to the worker during the base-year.
Our Team Is Here for You.
Unexpected things happen to all of us at some point in our lives — which includes medical and/or mental health conditions. If you are unable to work due to a disability, you may be eligible for short-term disability benefits. A SSD lawyer can help you apply, and then assist you with filing for long-term disability benefits if necessary.
At Bross & Frankel, we believe that people who cannot work due to a disability should receive the benefits that they are entitled to under their insurance policy or from a state program. We are here to help you with the process, from filing an initial claim to handling any necessary appeals. To schedule a free disability claim review, contact us today at 856-795-8880 or reach out online.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.