Short-term disability insurance is very important. It provides some income to help an insured person if they become temporarily disabled. Unfortunately, in Iowa, as with most states in the country, there is no state mandate for private employers to provide short-term disability for their employees.
What Is Short-term Disability?
Short-term disability is a term that usually refers to a type of insurance that will pay a percentage of the insured’s salary if they become temporarily disabled. It also refers to an injury or illness that will cause you to leave your job for less than 12 months. In the insurance world, it refers to a specific type of insurance that covers you during this time period.
How Does Short-term Disability Work?
Short-term disability insurance typically covers injuries or illnesses that are not related to a person’s job. For example, if a person working in a library had to use a ladder to reach books that were high up and then they fell off that ladder, that would be considered a work-related injury. That is because the injury was related to their job and occurred while they were at work.
The state of Iowa provides a remedy for that. That remedy is called workers' compensation, and it is regulated by the state legislature and carried out by the appropriate state agency.
Read More: Federal Laws on Short-Term Disability at Work
How Does Short-term Disability Work in Iowa?
Iowa, like many other states, does not mandate that private employers provide short-term disability insurance on behalf of their employees. In fact, only five states out of the 50 states have such a mandate in place. They include New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, California and Rhode Island. In Iowa, anyone who works for a private employer, must purchase their own disability insurance before they become hurt, sick or pregnant.
Since no one can predict when any of these might occur, it really is imperative that an employed person purchase short-term disability insurance when they start a new job. The process for obtaining short-term disability insurance is not complicated. There are many agents that offer short-term disability insurance.
Once the private employee has found an agent and a plan that is suitable for them, they will then have to complete an application. The application will cover many aspects of their life including their current health. If the applicant has a preexisting condition, he may be denied insurance or forced to pay a higher premium.
Alternatives to Short-term Disability
The good news is that Iowa does have some remedies for short-term disability that you may apply for through the state. One of these options is Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These are both federal programs administered by the state of Iowa.
Social Security Disability provides income if you have a disability, provided you have worked for a prescribed length of time and have paid Social Security taxes.
Supplemental Security Income is a federal income supplement, not funded by Social Security taxes, that is meant to help the aged, blind and disabled who have little or no income. It provides a cash benefit to provide for the individual's basic need for food, clothing and shelter.
Filing for Disability Benefits in Iowa
To file for disability benefits in Iowa, a worker must be severely disabled. You will be required to prove that you have a severe medical impairment and that medical impairment must be so severe that it prevents you from performing at least one basic work activity.
You may also file for workers' compensation if you have been injured while performing your job duties.
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.