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Understanding short-term disability benefits

When it comes to short- and long-term disability plans, there are a number of differences that you should be aware of. Disability income is supposed to replace income that has been lost because of a medical disability and can be purchased by the individual or provided as an employee benefit.

For those who have a disability policy through their work, you should know that the benefits for income replacement are taxable. When you have an individual policy, the benefits are not taxable. This is because the money spent to pay for the individual disability plan have been paid with wages that have already been taxed.

When you purchase a short-term disability policy, you should make sure that the policy covers however long the waiting period is for long-term disability. This will keep you from experiencing a lapse in your coverage.

Most short-term disability policies will pay out benefits for 90 to 180 days. Group plans for short-term disability normally pay between 60 and 100 percent of wages. The type of medical documentation that the short-term disability is much less than for long-term disability because the benefits are only available for 90 to 180 days.

When you apply for your individual disability benefits and your claim is denied, an experienced, knowledgeable attorney can help. He or she can determine why the claim was denied and what is needed for your to get your benefits. It’s always best if negotiations are tried first, but sometimes, litigation is the only possible way for you to receive the benefits you need and deserve.

Source: Patient Advocate Foundation, “Your Guide to the Disability Process,” accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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