Overview

Short-Term Disability (STD) Insurance helps replace some of your income for a period of a year or less when you cannot work at all or can only work part-time because of a disability.

To be covered by STD, you or your employer must pay a monthly premium. When an illness or injury prevents you from working, you apply for benefits by speaking with your Human Resources representative (if you have a group policy) or your insurance agent (if you have an individual policy).

Most STD policies require medical documentation that shows why you are unable to perform the functions of your current job and that explains what your functional limitations are. Depending on your policy and your medical condition, you may need to report on the status of your disability. There will probably be a waiting period between the date you leave work and the date when you actually begin to get benefits.

Once the waiting period is over, you will generally get a set percentage of the wages you were earning before you were disabled. Although the amount varies, payments are generally around 60% of your previous wage. For example, if you were paid $2,000 per month at work and your policy pays 60% of your pre-disability earnings, your benefits amount will be $1,200 per month. STD policies generally lasts between nine weeks and 52 weeks (or one year), after which time your benefits will end.

When your STD benefits ends, you may have the option of moving to a Long-Term Disability (LTD) policy if you are covered by one. Some STD plans automatically transition to a LTD plan if you are still disabled after the benefits period ends (the benefits period is the amount of time that you will get a benefits check). Another option may be to go on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you anticipate needing SSDI, you should apply as soon as possible.

Note: The standards for being disabled under a STD policy and a LTD policy are not always the same. Most STD policies require the person to be disabled from working at their own job. Many LTD policies require that the person be unable to work at any job for which they are reasonably qualified based on their training, education, and experience or any job that the person is qualified for that pays at least a specified percentage of what they earned at their pre-disability job.