Benefits

Getting Benefits

If you get injured or become ill, contact your Human Resources department (if you have group insurance) or insurance agent (if you have an indivdiual policy) as soon as possible to begin the application process. You are eligible to get disability benefits if you cannot work for any health-related reason. Your injury or illness does not have to be work-related.

Once you apply for cash benefits from your disability income insurance plan, there is usually a waiting period before you can begin to get benefits. For Short-Term Disability (STD) Insurance, the waiting period is typically a few days, but it can be as long as a month or more. Some policies also require you to take your sick days before you are allowed to collect your benefits.

Once the waiting period is complete, you should get your benefits about a month later.

The Benefits

Each policy has a different way of figuring out how much money you will get. Some send you a set dollar amount, while others give you a percentage of the wages you made before becoming disabled. Depending on your plan, bonuses, tips, and commissions from your job may or may not be included in the calculation of your wages.

Depending on how your disability income insurance is paid for, your benefits may or may not be taxed when you get them. If your employer paid your premium, you usually will have to pay taxes on your benefits. If you paid for an individual policy with your own taxed income, you probably won’t have to pay taxes on the benefits. Contact your income tax professional or Human Resources department for more information.

Public Disability Benefits

While you are getting private disability benefits, you may want to apply for public benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For example, if you are getting STD and are not going to be able to return to work when your STD ends, you should apply for SSDI as soon as possible.

If you get benefits from other programs, like SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), at the same time as you get STD, most private disability income insurance policies will lower your benefits by the amount those benefits programs pay you. For example, if your STD benefits are $2,000 per month and you begin to get $800 per month in SSDI benefits, your STD benefits will be lowered to $1,200 a month.

The advantage of being enrolled in SSDI or SSI while getting disability income insurance is that they can make you eligible for Medicare or the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), health coverage which isn’t supplied by disability income insurance.

Health Coverage

STD insurance gives you money, not health coverage. For the first 12 weeks that you are unable to work due to a medical condition, you may still be entitled to be covered by your employer's benefits (including your employer's health plan) under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

To be entitled to continuing coverage, you must still be employed at your organization. The FMLA allows you to get up to 12 weeks of leave for a medical condition or for care for a family member with a medical condition if you have been employed at the organization for at least 12 consecutive months prior to taking the leave. During the leave, your employer must continue to offer you the health benefits they offered prior to the leave.

Even though this leave will be unpaid, during your FMLA leave you can still get paid if you use sick time, vacation time, or you get STD benefits. To read more about the FMLA, click here.

After the 12 weeks of leave are over, your employer has the right to let you go if you are still unable to return to work. If you want to continue to get your health coverage through your employer’s health plan after you are laid off, you may be able to continue that coverage by paying out of pocket for COBRA.

Another option for private health coverage is to find an individual plan on Healthcare.gov. Depending on your situation, the government may help pay for your premium for an individual plan through tax subsidies. Or, you may become eligible for public health coverage like AHCCCS or Medicare. To learn more about different health coverage possibilities, see DB101's Health Care Coverage section.