According to Section 135.105 of the state's revised statutes, you are eligible to file for short-term disability benefits after one calendar year of continuous employment. The effects of an injury in question must display themselves continuously in order for you to be considered disabled--the law explains that both your employer and doctor must attest to the fact you are "mentally or physically incapacitated for the further performance of duty."
The law does not specify that the disabling injury itself must occur after the so-called "waiting period"--only during the course of active employment. Building on this, it notes that you may collect benefits for an injury your incur while on leave, so long as the leave is approved and you are otherwise eligible at the beginning of the leave period.
Filing and Payment
The North Carolina Treasurer's office outlines a procedure for filing. According to its website, your employer must provide some of its basic information, a copy of your job description and a report stating your earnings prior to the disability. You must furnish a short-term benefits request, a statement from your doctor certifying your injury and holistic medical report.
After you've been approved, you can elect either to "salary continuation" or a decided-upon monthly benefit amount, which is half of your monthly base salary plus half of your eligible "longevity" pay, which is based on your years of service, according to subsection C of Section 135.05.
Return to Work
Subsection E of Section 135.105 states that you may elect to "trial rehabilitation for periods of not greater than 40 continuous days of service" during your approved short-term disability. It goes on to note, however, that such a return "shall not extend the period of the short-term disability benefits." In other words, if you're injured and voluntarily return to work, your coverage under short-term disability will not be extended.
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