Short-term disability insurance is very important. It provides some income – usually a percentage of current income – to help if someone becomes temporarily disabled and unable to work. Unfortunately, in the state of Illinois, there is no state mandate for disability insurance.
What Is Short-Term Disability?
Short-term disability occurs when someone has an injury or illness that is not related to their job, causing them to leave their job for less than 12 months. In the insurance world, however, it refers to a specific type of insurance that covers them during this time period. Short-term disability insurance typically covers injuries or illnesses that are not related to your job.
For example, if someone falls off a ladder while doing their job, while they are on the clock, any resulting injury would be covered by workers' compensation, which is a different scheme as compared to short-term disability.
Read More: Rules of Short Term Disability
How Does Short-Term Disability Work in Illinois?
Sadly, Illinois is one of the many states that does not require private employers to provide short-term disability coverage for their employees. In fact only five out of 50 states require private employers to provide such coverage: New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island and California. In Illinois, you must purchase your own short-term disability insurance before you become sick, pregnant or hurt.
How Do I Purchase a Short-Term Disability Plan in Illinois?
There are many companies on the open market that offer short-term disability plans. They typically pay 50 to 60 percent of the salary while someone is temporarily disabled. The employee will have to find an insurance agent that sells short-term disability insurance. He will most likely have to complete a detailed application for the insurance company to review.
This application will cover many aspects of the applicant’s life, including their current health. Please note that if an applicant has a preexisting medical condition, excluding pregnancy, the application may be denied.
Despite this, someone seeking short-term disability insurance may find a provider willing to give them a policy at a higher rate. With the information provided, an applicant should receive a quote for a short-term disability plan. Once they receive a quote, it is the responsibility of the applicant or insured to manage the plan and stay up to date on all of their payments. A missed payment may cause loss of insurance, and if that coincides with a need for income due to short-term disability, the insured would be without recourse.
Filing a Claim with an Insurer
If the insured does suffer an injury or illness that causes them to be disabled and miss work for a short period of time, they will be required to file a claim with their insurer and provide required, supporting documentation. Such documentation will likely include the insured’s medical records, an incident report and verification of treatment from the insured’s physician. It will be up to the insured’s physician to recommend or prescribe the period of time for which the insured will have to miss work.
Alternate Options for Short-Term Disability Payments
There are several alternate options for short-term disability payments in Illinois. One option is through workers' compensation. This is available to workers who sustain any injuries developed while working on the job.
Additionally, if the person is an employee of Illinois, they are eligible for noninjury, short-term disability payments under certain circumstances. These circumstances are set forth by the state legislature and enforced by a state agency. The total benefit amount would typically be equal to 50 percent of the worker’s average compensation.
Melissa McCall is an accomplished lawyer, science journalist and legal analyst. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University in 2003 and spent two years as a Judicial Law Clerk, followed by 2 years at a general litigation firm and a brief stint as the Director of Environmental Protection for the Virgin Islands. Since leaving the US Virgin Islands, she has worked as a legal recruiter, legal writer and legal analyst.