What Counts As A Disability
There isnt one standard definition for a disability that applies across the board here.
Its all plan- or policy-specific, says Chicago-based attorney Michael Bartolic, whose firm focuses on employee benefits and deferred compensation. As a general observation, its any sort of injury or illness that renders one unable to do their job.
That could include things like childbirth, a major surgery with a long recovery period, an illness that requires frequent treatment, or an injury sustained in some sort of accident. Bartolic explains that the best thing to do is to check your plan documents, as the definition of disability should be clearly spelled out there.
Does Maternity Leave Count As Short
Youve probably heard of circumstances where people use their short-term disability for pregnancy and maternity leave. Doing so is fairly common, but whether or not youre able to do so yourself is also dependent on your plan.
We actually see a lot of short-term disability policies that specifically address maternity leave, explains Bartolic. These plans also will explain how much time off is offered for maternity leave, which can vary based on things like whether the mother had a vaginal birth or a c-section.
Some employers exclude maternity leave from their short-term disability plan and have an entirely separate program to address paid leave for childbirth.
Massachusetts State Supplement Program
If you are living independently and paying for your full living costs, you are eligible for a Massachusetts state supplement of $114.39. If you are living in someone else’s household, your state supplement will be $87.58. You can get significantly more if you are residing in a rest home or assisted living facility . The rates for eligible couples also differ.
You can reach SSP Customer Service at 877-863-1128 or, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can receive services through www.mass.gov/massrelay.
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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.
What Is Short Term Disability Insurance
Short term disability insurance replaces a percentage of your income if you experience a temporary injury or illness that prevents you from working. It is ideal for disabling events that may limit the ability to work, but people generally recover from â such as a plumber breaking a hand, a pilot undergoing back surgery, or a pregnant teacher giving birth. Short term disability coverage can be obtained individually from a private insurance company or as a part of a group, typically through your employer.
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Short Term Disability Attorneys In Boston Massachusetts
Your employer-provided short term disability benefits protect you when you become injured, ill or disabled, and cannot work. It is also necessary to successfully obtain short-term disability benefits before you receive long-term disability benefits if you are permanently disabled.
That is why STD insurance benefits are so important to your current and long-term financial health. A denial takes away your focus on your recovery or management of your disability and prohibits you from obtaining long-term disability benefits when needed.
Where Can I Get Disability Benefits In Massachusetts
You could receive disability benefits from a number of sources including the government, an insurance company, and or an employer. We can help you identify resources. From January 2021, the Department of Paid Family Medical leave offers a cash benefit to Massachusetts employees who need to take paid leave for medical or family reasons.
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How Californians Can Apply For Short
California workers who become disabled for up to one year may file a State Disability Insurance claim. The states Employment Development Department handles all SDI claims, which only cover disabled Californians with off-the-job illnesses and injuries. Californias SDI policy covers claimants for up to 52 weeks the longest period for any state-managed short-term disability benefits program. Once approved, you may receive up to $1,300 in weekly cash payments, though other factors may change your approved amount. Learn more helpful information about how Californias SDI program works.
Principal Has A Solution
Were here to help by offering a state-approved voluntary private plan. When you have other group insurance products with us, its easy to add this solution. Plus, you get the same top-level service that comes with any of our products.
You can be assured Principal is committed to offering a private plan that meets your obligation under the paid family and medical leave law as a Massachusetts employer. Our fully insured product is available to employers who offer at least one other qualifying, insured Principal product and have 10 or more employees working in Massachusetts.
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Best For Long Coverage Period: State Farm
While many other short-term disability insurance companies limit your coverage to as few as three or six months, State Farm offers short-term disability policies with three-year benefit periods. This earns them our nod for the best company if you are looking for a longer coverage period.
Coverage is offered in one- and three-year benefit periods
Benefits range from $300 to $3,000
Simple application process
Quotes and policies only available through an agent
No normal childbirth or pregnancy coverage
No coverage for complications from cosmetic surgery
Founded in 1922, State Farm first set down roots in the auto insurance world. The company has since expanded, now offering a variety of insurance options to customers across the country, including short-term disability coverage.
State Farm currently holds an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, the highest rating available. Their short-term disability insurance policies are offered in 47 states . They also boast a simple application process that provides you with coverage faster than ever.
Short-term disability insurance through State Farm provides between $300 and $3,000 in monthly coverage, depending on your occupation and current income, and elimination periods are 30, 60, or 90 days. Benefit periods are streamlined with either one- or three-year options available, but the latter earns them our review’s top spot if youre looking for longer coverage.
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.
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Whats It Like To Return To Work After Short
As the above answer illustrates, depending on your disability, different logistical elements obviously need to be sorted out upon your return.
But thats not the only factor at play heretheres also an emotional and relational element involved when you return to the office after an extended amount of time off.
Most of it was just emotional and mental fatigue after having spent four months not really on a computer every day or using my brain in that kind of way, says Tiernan.
There was the expectation that I was going to be able to jump back in right away, she adds. Looking back, I appreciate that now because I dont think I wouldve been able to transition as well as I had if it had been slow.
In addition, companies arent stagnant and there are likely some larger changes that will happen while youre out on your leaveincluding employees leaving and new team members being added. There were shifts that occurred during my time gone, so I needed to readjust to the changes that had happened, Tiernan adds.
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability In Massachusetts
In the State of Massachusetts, it can take anywhere from 387 to 430 days to be scheduled for a disability hearing. Once your hearing has been conducted and your case has been heard by the ALJ, it will be another two or three months before you receive notice regarding the outcome of your disability case.
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Get The Knowledge You Need
At the Murray Law Office, in Boston, Massachusetts, we help short-term and long-term disabled individuals with experienced, aggressive representation that best represents their financial interests.
We have significant experience filing claims and appeals. Because we work often with insurance companies, we know how to speak with their agents and get the information you need to file a complete appeal.
Interactions With Accrued Paid Leave
The Massachusetts PFML law refers to employer-sponsored sick leave, annual leave, PTO, vacation and personal leaves as Accrued Paid Leave. Two key points to remember:
- Its the employees choice whether to use Accrued Paid Leave.
- Accrued Paid Leave is a substitute for PFML.
However, there are differences in how Accrued Paid Leave is treated, depending on whether the employer uses the state PFML program or a private plan like The Standards.
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What Is The Difference Between Short
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a helpful regulation that allows employees to take leave if they are ill, injured, or need to care for a family member, without fear of losing their job in the process. FMLA is not paid leave, however, and only protects your position at your place of work for up to 12 weeks.
On the other hand, short-term disability insurance does provide paid coverage if you need to take leave due to an injury or illness. The exact financial coverage and benefit period that your short-term disability coverage will offer depends on the exact policy you purchase.
What Doesn’t Short Term Disability Insurance Cover
Your short term disability insurance policy will likely include coverage exclusions. These will be listed in your policy contract.
Exclusions mitigate a carrierâs risk of paying a claim resulting from high-risk conditions or activities, and typically include:
- Intentionally self-inflicted injuries
- Neurological disorders
Furthermore, donât count on short term disability policies to cover time off to care for a sick family member or adopt a child.
If you have short term disability insurance through your employer, many of these plans require that you’ve worked a certain amount of time before coverage begins. Many employers also require that you exhaust paid sick leave or use paid time off before you are eligible for short term disability benefits.
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Unable To Attend A Medical Appointment For Disability Claim
The Social Security Administration uses Disability Determination Services at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to determine initial and continued eligibility for Social Security disability benefits programs. As part of their evaluation, they may require you to attend a medical appointment.
You may contact them at 882-2040.
What Are The Benefits Of Short Term Disability
STD provides crucial income replacement when a person is unable to work and bring in an income. Ask yourself could your family pay all their bills and maintain their current lifestyle if you were unable to work for up to 26 weeks?
If the answer is no, you can begin to see how STD can help ease financial strain and the stresses that come with an accident, illness, or injury that prevents you from working.
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Scenario: Accrued Paid Leave And Employer Reimbursement Under Our Private Plan*
Below is a straightforward example of how Accrued Paid Leave and employer reimbursement work when there are no disability benefits to integrate.
|Private Plan Scenario: Accrued Paid Leave and Employer Reimbursement*|
Benefits Employee Receives
Employees Remaining PFML Benefits
The employee used a total of 12 weeks of PFML and is eligible for another 8 weeks of PFML in the same benefit year for a personal medical condition.
Private Plan Solution
How Much Does Short
Generally, short-term disability benefits pay between 40 and 60 percent of your weekly gross income-usually closer to 60%. However, this amount can vary depending on the coverage. Its not unheard of for some short-term disability plans to pay 100% of an injured workers salary, but its best not to plan on that being the case.
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How Much Does Short Term Disability Insurance Cost
The cost of short term disability insurance is determined by the underwriting process. The underwriting for short term disability insurance may differ slightly from long term disability policies.
Individual long term disability insurance requires full underwriting. Insurers have to assess a personâs risk of filing a claim because benefits may be paid out for a long period. Therefore, insurers will assess your application based on your age, health, gender, the level of risk associated with your job, and any hobbies or interests that could cause disability.
On the other hand, disability insurance carriers may not fully underwrite short term policies. As stated earlier, many short term policies sold on an individual basis are guaranteed issue, which means no underwriting. Others may only require the answering of questions about your health without the medical exam required for long term disability insurance.
Injuries that cause temporary disabilities generally are not related to the insuredâs age, health, job, or other risk factors. They just happen, be it a bad fall that causes a broken bone or a complication of pregnancy. Still, you may be asked about pre-existing health conditions that disqualify you from coverage or that will limit your benefits.
The main factors that affect the cost of short term disability insurance include:
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.
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How And Where Do I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
Disability benefits, both Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income , are provided through the Social Security Administration . You can contact your local Social Security office or fill out an application online to apply .
At your local SSA office, a field representative will review your initial application to make sure all of the necessary information is provided and then will send your application to Disability Determination Services , a state agency under the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.
A claims examiner at DDS will determine if you qualify for disability benefits. All questions regarding your application after it has been filed should be directed towards your local DDS office. There are two DDS offices in Massachusetts the contact information is below.
Disability Determination Services
340 Main St. Suite 500Worcester, MA 01608 752-5001
What Are Your Options If Your Short
The first thing to do is to carefully read the correspondence thats saying its not being approved, advises Bartolic. That will tell the person a lot, and will tell them what to do if they disagree with the decision.
Most disability plans in America are covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act , which means claims are reviewed through the lens of this federal law.
If your plan is covered by ERISA, the law requires that the denied individual be presented with a right to appeal that decision. Its a mandatory feature of it, explains McDonald. That period of appeal is 180 days. During that time, you have perhaps your single best opportunity to give evidence to the insurer or plan administrator about why theyre wrong and why youre entitled to those benefits.
If you go through the appeal process and still are unable to convince them of your disability, then unfortunately youll have to initiate a lawsuit.
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How To Apply For Short
Applying for short-term disability benefits is simple. First, you must provide medical documentation that supports your illness or injury claim. Then, youll file a claim through your employers insurance provider or your own insurer, if you have an individual policy. Once your claims approved, you may start receiving short-term benefits in as little as eight days! The benefit amount typically equals 60% of your wages, which should help make ends meet until youre working full-time again.