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When Can I Use Short-Term Disability?

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May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, a time for underscoring the importance of understanding the various types of disability insurance and how they can provide financial protection against the costs and burdens of sustaining a disability. Short-term disability insurance is a type of insurance policy that offers coverage for specific life events, providing income replacement when you’re unable to work due to illness, injury, or other qualifying reasons.

Maternity Leave and Pregnancy Complications

A critical use of short-term disability insurance is to cover the costs associated with maternity leave. Pregnancy and childbirth qualify for short-term disability benefits, providing a valuable resource for expectant mothers to alleviate some of the financial burdens they experience. Short-term disability benefits let employees receive a portion of their income while taking maternity leave. Benefits can also apply to complications that may arise during pregnancy, including bed rest.

Illnesses and Injuries

Short-term disability insurance is a key way of addressing illnesses and injuries that temporarily prevent you from working. Whether you’re recovering from surgery, battling a serious illness, or recuperating from an injury, short-term disability benefits can help bridge the gap in income while you are unable to perform your job duties. Common examples of illnesses and injuries that may qualify for short-term disability include:

  • Surgery recovery: Short-term disability insurance covers the period of recuperation after undergoing surgical procedures, providing financial support while you’re unable to work due to the physical limitations and recovery process associated with surgery.
  • Broken bones or sprains: If you experience a broken bone or sprain that temporarily impairs your ability to perform your job duties, short-term disability benefits can help replace a portion of your lost income during the healing period.
  • Severe infections or illnesses requiring hospitalization: Short-term disability insurance can provide coverage if you’re hospitalized due to a severe infection or illness, such as pneumonia or a serious bacterial infection, which requires medical treatment and renders you unable to work for a limited time.
  • Mental health conditions requiring time off for treatment and recovery: Mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may necessitate time off work for treatment and recovery. Short-term disability benefits can help alleviate financial stress during this period by providing income support while you focus on your mental health and well-being.

Disabilities and Medical Conditions

In addition to maternity leave, illnesses, and injuries, short-term disability insurance may also cover disabilities and medical conditions that impact your ability to work temporarily. This can include conditions such as:

  • Back injuries: Short-term disability insurance can provide coverage if you experience a back injury that temporarily limits your ability to work. This includes conditions like herniated discs, muscle strains, or spinal fractures, which may require time off for recovery and rehabilitation.
  • Chronic pain disorders: If you suffer from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, or neuropathic pain, short-term disability benefits can help support you during periods when your symptoms flare up and make it difficult to perform your job duties.
  • Temporary disabilities resulting from accidents or medical treatments: Short-term disability insurance covers temporary disabilities resulting from accidents, such as broken bones, concussions, or temporary paralysis, as well as disabilities caused by medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or major surgeries.
  • Recovery from medical procedures or treatments: Whether you’re recovering from a minor outpatient procedure or a major surgery, short-term disability benefits can provide financial assistance during the recuperation period when you’re unable to work due to the physical limitations and recovery process associated with the medical treatment.

Importance of Timing

It is important to note that short-term disability insurance must be in place before a qualifying life event occurs. In other words, you cannot purchase short-term disability insurance after you become pregnant or experience an illness or injury and expect coverage for those events. Planning and securing short-term disability coverage before you need it ensures that you’ll have financial protection in place when unexpected circumstances arise.

Safeguard Your Income with Disability Insurance Planning

Disability insurance policies, including short-term disability insurance, can be a key component in a group benefits package. Having the right coverage for your employees in the event of a short-term disability is vital to attracting talented new employees while giving current employees the right tools to support their ability to make a living and add value to your operations. To learn more about your insurance options, consult one of your local agents today.

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