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What can I do if my short-term disability benefit isn't enough?

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Do you know how your short-term disability policy works? For many employees, the only thing they can remember about the plan is that it was discussed during their employee orientation. A short-term disability policy can help employees by paying a percentage of their salary until they can return to work.

How much does short term disability pay?

The average benefit is 60 percent of an employee's salary. For some employees, this is enough for them until they can return to work or a long-term disability policy kicks in.

What if the benefits aren't enough?

Some employers will allow employees to take a half-day of vacation pay or sick time to cover the other amount of their salary. Your employer will have more information on whether he or she can provide additional help to cover the other 40 percent of your wages.

Do all employers offer short-term disability policies?

On average, only about 39 percent of workers have this coverage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About one-third of employees have long-term disability policies in force. Private policies are available, but many employees do not consider it until they need the benefits.

When will long-term disability benefits be available?

If you have long-term disability benefits, those generally take effect in about six months. Only about 8 percent of disabled employees will transition to long-term disability benefits at the end of their short-term disability benefits.

For some employees, the short-term or long-term disability benefits they believed they would receive do not materialize. Instead, the employees may find themselves facing a denial of benefits. This is when the advice of an attorney can be helpful. He or she can provide information on filing an appeal for denied benefits.

Source: TIME, "What to Do When Your Short-Term Disability Pay Isn’t Enough," Beth Pinsker, accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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