Texas Maternity Leave Laws
Two federal and one state-specific laws govern most aspects of how maternity leave works for Texas mothers.
What Is Short Term Disability
Short-term disability is a benefit that some people have either through an insurance policy or through their employer. If you have short term disability coverage, it generally covers you for a disability that keeps you from working for a few weeks or a few months.
The exact coverage of short term disability will depend on the particular plan. If the benefit is funded by your employer, then it will probably be defined in your employee handbook. If it is an insurance policy, then the policy will lay out what benefits you will receive in certain situations.
How Can I Qualify For Short Term Disability
To qualify for STD you must first have STD insurance. You only qualify for STD if you experience a covered accident, illness, or injury that prevents you from performing the duties of your occupation. The specific definition of disability will vary by Insurer however, generally speaking, STD could provide coverage for common situations such as:
- Recovery following major surgery
- Mental health issues or leave
- Recovery following an injury or accident
Don’t Miss: What Conditions Are Considered For Disability
How Much Paperwork Is Involved
The exact paperwork youll be required to complete is again dependent on your specific plan. But the process typically begins with a relatively straightforward claim form that requires some information from you , your employer , and validation from your doctor that your condition prevents you from working.
Fortunately, if you find yourself confused about any of the documents or applications, you can ask for helpwhether its from your companys own HR department or even people at your doctors office.
I actually found the team at my physicians office to be extremely helpful, says Tiernan, who admits her own leave process was slightly more complicated, as she took advantage of both short-term disability and FMLA for the birth of her child .
They have a whole team dedicated entirely to filling out forms and navigating this process, so I was on the phone with them a lot. They helped me figure out the best forms to fill out, what the dates would be, and any follow-ups that I needed. They even spoke to my HR team directly here at the office.
Maternity Leave In Texas
No law enacted by the state of Texas law requires that an employer give a woman maternity leave when she is having a baby. However, the FMLA does provide for parental leave, so a woman in a company covered by the FMLA can take maternity leave.
And one Texas law, the Texas Employment Discrimination Act, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex. This has been held to include discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth. Under the act, women who are pregnant must be given the same rights as any other employee who has a different type of temporary disability. The act is applicable only to companies with 15 or more employees.
Also Check: How To File For Disability In Texas
Should I Purchase Short
Although illnesses and injuries can’t be predicted, they’re likely to affect your workplace at some point in the future. For comprehensive protection, employers may consider offering a combination of both short-term and long-term disability insurance to employees. These policies are an important complement to any group health insurance plan and help to minimize the impact of debilitating illnesses and injuries on both your employees and your business.
Wrongful Denial Or Bad Faith
In Texas, as in other states, insurance providers are required to act in good faith when handling long-term and short-term disability claims. If the insurer has acted in bad faith in denying your disability claim in other words, if they have acted improperly or unreasonably then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages. However, this remedy is not available if your short-term disability benefits are governed by ERISA.
Wrongful conduct includes, but is not necessarily limited, to:
- Delaying payment of benefits
How Often Will You Receive Payments
This is another area that can vary. Fortunately, your payment questions should be answered clearly within your plan documents.
Be aware that if your employer works with an insurer to offer short-term disability benefits, then payments will usually be administered through the insurance company. That means they might arrive on a schedule different from the payroll timing youre used to .
Meaghan Tiernan, a senior copywriter for a marketing agency in San Francisco, used her short-term disability for maternity leave. She was given a debit card that her short-term disability payments were added to.
I think it was one lump sum every two weeks on an regular basis, she explains. They even include weekends, so it was typically every 14 days that I was paid. Then youd have to transfer the funds from that debit card to your bank account if that was your preference.
What Are The Advantages Of Individual Disability Insurance
Even if you do work for a big company that offers disability insurance, there are still many advantages that come with getting your own policy outside of your employer. Many people think that individual disability insurance is the best disability insurance to get because:
Once you have a good understanding of your monthly expenses, its time to take a serious look at your emergency savings. The goal here is to determine how long your savings could cover your expenses if you were disabled and unable to work for a period of time. Considering your savings and expenses, youll next turn to your salary. Calculate what percentage of your salary could cover your remaining expenses in case of a disability.
- You get to customize your coverage to tailor your needs
- You can keep your coverage when you change jobs
- You can collect your benefits tax-free in case you do become disabled. If your employer pays for your coverage, you have to pay taxes on the benefits.
7 in 10 working Americans couldnt make it a month without a paycheck before having financial difficulties.
Life Happens survey, 2018
Read Also: How Much Do You Get If You Go On Disability
Short Term Disability Vs Fmla
People also sometimes confuse short-term disability with the Family and Medical Leave Act . The FMLA is a federal law that protects workers who need time off for various family and medical reasons. It stipulates that you must be given up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for:
- Having children.
- Health problems.
- Taking care of sick family members.
The law also protects you from being dismissed from your jobs while taking a leave of absence that is covered by the law.
However, the law does not provide a replacement for any income you might lose while taking leave . Plus, there are several qualifications to be eligible for FMLA leave:
- Employees must have worked at the employer for 12 months and 1,250 hours.
- Also, it only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
Learn More:Short-Term Disability vs. FMLA
How Long Does Long
Once long-term disability benefits have been approved, an employee can continue to receive benefits for the length of the policy term or until they return to work. Most long-term disability plans provide coverage for 36 months, although some plans can provide coverage for up to 10 years or even for the life of the policyholder.
You May Like: Is Mental Health Considered A Disability
Which Do I Need: Need Short Term Disability Insurance Or Long Term Disability Insurance
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing disability insurance. First of all, do you have an emergency savings fund that could cover your expenses for a few months if you lost your job or were unable to work? If not, short term disability insurance is an essential financial protection, even if you are disabled for only a short period of time. If you have significant emergency savings on hand, though, you may focus on how a long term disability could impact your financial wellbeing and your retirement plans. If you were permanently disabled, could you cover your expenses until retirement? If not, look into long term disability protection.
How Long Does Short
While benefit periods may vary across different providers, most short-term disability policies provide benefits for three to six months. Some policies, especially those connected with a long-term disability policy, may provide short-term coverage for a full year. If an employee needs additional coverage beyond the initial short-term disability period, a long-term disability policy may be needed to extend the benefits.
Also Check: Can You Live In An Rv On Disability
Texas Uses Special Terms For Workers Compensation
Heres one reason for the confusion: other states use temporary total disability as a category for their workers compensation programs. Texas doesnt. But even some attorneys dont realize theyre using the wrong terms.
The right phrase in Texas is Temporary Income Benefits . This is workers compensation money paid to an injured worker while he is unable to return to his job. The employee is considered disabled because he cant work, but these benefits are based on the assumption that eventually he will have recovered enough to work again.
There are other phrases used in Texas if it becomes clear the worker will never recover 100% from his injuries. Texas workers comp gives out Impairment Income Benefits, Supplemental Income Benefits, and Lifetime Income Benefits for people whose workplace injuries will be permanent.
Who Pays For Short Term Disability Insurance
This depends on the plan your employer uses. Your employer will determine many of the characteristics of the STD plan, including the portion of the cost they will cover. Who pays for coverage is the main difference between short term disability coverage and workers compensation coverage. Employers are required by state law to have workers compensation insurance when they hire their first employee. It protects employees and employers in the event of an injury on the job.
How Do I Get Individual Disability Insurance
If youre self-employed, your employer doesnt offer disability insurance, or you want to supplement the policy your employers does offer, you can apply for an individual disability policy. Individual disability insurance elimination and benefit periods may differ from group disability insurance, but a financial representative can help you choose the right coverage for your situation. If youd like some help understanding what type of coverage makes sense for you and applying for a policy, get in touch with a financial representative who can help you make a decision.
Individual disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America , Pittsfield, MA. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America , New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state.
Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.
How To Apply For Temporary Disability Benefits In Texas
To qualify for short-term disability income benefits in Texas, you must have been injured at work, be a state government employee or have private insurance with disability coverage. If you meet one of those requirements, the application process involves gathering information, filling out forms and meeting deadlines.
Recommended Reading: Is Stress At Work A Disability
Is Short Term Disability Insurance Worth It
Most advisers will tell you not to buy a personal short term disability policy. In many cases, it may be just as expensive as long term coverage, but will only offer benefits for a much shorter period of time. A wise alternative to buying temporary disability coverage is setting aside an emergency fund to have in the event you miss work for a few months.
Individuals with pre-existing conditions are also advised not to buy short term disability insurance. In most cases, they would not even qualify for coverage. And those who can get a policy will have a longer waiting period to receive benefits, perhaps 12 months or more. As if that’s not enough reason to steer clear, most short term policies will not provide benefits if your disability is related to your pre-existing condition.
If you can get short term disability insurance from your employer or another group at a reduced cost or no cost at all, do not hesitate to take advantage. Even if you have this as an option though, you should also save money in an emergency fund. Thatâs because most short term disability policies will only pay a fraction of your income in benefits. You may need to rely on a savings account to bridge that gap and avoid going into debt.
Jack Wolstenholm is the head of content at Breeze.
How To Apply For Short Term Disability Benefits
To receive benefits, you will have to submit a claim to the insurance company. This involves filling out a form, be it a printed version or online. The form will ask the date you last worked, a description of your medical condition, and other pertinent information. Your employer and physician will have to complete sections of the form as well.
Once you submit the claim form, the insurance company will review medical records to determine if you meet the definition of disability as defined in the policy. If your policy does not cover pre-existing conditions, the insurer will look for evidence of undisclosed conditions.
You May Like: What Is Considered A Disability In California
How Do I Choose Between Short
Short-term disability policies are typically used to cover sudden but brief medical issues, such as a broken leg or a planned surgery with required recovery time. They can also be used to cover maternity leave, often compensating up to six to eight weeks of absence, depending on the type of delivery and any childbirth complications.
Long-term policies cover chronic illnesses and permanent disabilities. According to the Council on Disability Awareness, the average length of a long-term claim is 34.6 months. About 95% of these claims are for medical issues rather than workplace accidents.
When considering whether you should purchase a short- or long-term disability policy, keep the expenses you will need to cover in mind. Calculate your monthly expenses and add a buffer for unexpected medical bills. Once youve come up with a number that would cover all of your expenses, you can multiply that amount by the amount of time you may be out of work. This will help you decide on the right level of coverage.
While having only 70% of your income covered may not seem like enough, many policies are purchased with after-tax dollars which means the payouts are distributed tax-free. For some people, this amount is often comparable to their normal take-home pay. If you purchase your policy pre-tax, however, you will see the difference in the amount of your benefits, so keep that in mind.
Workers Compensation And Short Term Disability4 Minute Read
Today, I want to talk to you about another benefit thats out there for people when theyve been disabled as a result of an injury, and that is short-term disability.
The question that often gets asked which is whether someone who has a short-term disability insurance policy can receive short-term disability in addition to workers compensation. The answer to that question is it depends.
Don’t Miss: How Long Is Short Term Disability
Short Term Disability Vs Workers’ Compensation
It’s important to remember that short term disability insurance is different from workers’ compensation insurance, which provides coverage for injuries that occur on the job. Nearly 90 percent of disabilities are not work-related. Therefore, they are not covered by workersâ compensation.
If an injury or illness that limits your ability to work was caused by something unrelated to your job, workers’ compensation will not cover your lost income. Likewise, if you are injured or get sick from performing your job, short term disability insurance likely will not provide benefits during your absence from work.
Short Term Disability Insurance: What Qualifies & How Long Does It Last
When people think of Disability Insurance, their first thought is often the more permanent disabilities covered by Long Term Disability Insurance.
But what if youre only temporarily disabled, say for a period of only a few weeks? Youll still be off work and unable to make an income, but unable to qualify for LTD.
Thats where Short Term Disability Insurance comes in.
Read Also: What Is The American With Disability Act
Is Mental Health Covered With Short
What if its not something physical that takes you away from the demands of your job? What if youre struggling with depression or some other mental health issue that makes it nearly impossible to fulfill your work responsibilities?
Mental health can be covered by many short-term disability plans . However, youre going to need to have proof that this is an issue youve been struggling with for some time.
You should be talking with a psychiatrist before your leave, says McDonald. There should be a really solid foundation of what the problems are.