Can't work what are my short-term disability options?
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, I broke my leg cycling last week. I work construction, and I know that I cannot go back to work for at least several weeks. I am wondering what options I have? I know that the Social Security Administration provides certain disability benefits, and I think my state may offer something, but I need more information.
Most families consider what will happen if the primary wage earner dies and protect themselves by purchasing life insurance. Families are less likely to consider, however, what will happen if the primary wage earner becomes disabled for a short period of time and cannot work.
Disability programs not available for short-term injuries
Many injured workers do not understand what wage replacement options may be available if they have become injured and cannot work. Many injured workers also mistakenly believe they have certain access to coverages that does not exist.
For example, you mentioned the Social Security Administration. While the SSA does provide Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income to injured workers who can no longer work, to qualify for either of these benefits your condition must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.
The Veterans Administration also provides disability benefits to disabled veterans, but to qualify for these benefits you would not only have to be a veteran, you would also have to be injured while on activity duty.
Finally, workers compensation is another disability program available to certain workers but because your injury did not occur while you were performing your job duties this also will not be an option for you.
Surviving a short-term disability
So now that you know what is not available, lets take a look at some of your potential options. The first option is to review whether or not your employer provides any short-term disability benefits. If they do, these benefits may either be something automatically provided by your employer as part of the general compensation package or they might be a benefit you purchased through your company.
If your employer does not provide any type of short-term disability benefits through the company, you could have purchased a private insurance policy on your own. Given that you are asking how you will provide for your family, however, it sounds like you have not purchased any type of disability benefits on your own.
Does your state have a state disability program?
Finally, if you live in certain states- California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Hawaii- certain employers are required to provide some type of temporary disability benefits to their employers. In this case, you would have been paying for this benefit through required payroll deductions and may now qualify for benefits.
Although there are several long-term disability programs available through the federal government, short-term disability benefits are only provided by certain states, by certain employers, or purchased by workers.
If none of these are an option for you, hopefully, you and your family have been saving and have an emergency fund to help you through the weeks you will not be working.