Short-Term Disability Laws in Ohio

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There is no state mandated short-term disability law in Ohio. Ohioans, however, can apply for long-term disability benefits via the federal Social Security Administration, and some employers may offer protection in the event a worker becomes disabled.

The state also does not offer sick leave, but workers may be covered through their employer or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

What Is Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Short-term disability insurance (SDI), also known as temporary disability insurance (TDI), provides pay replacement through the state to employees taking leave from their jobs for more than a few days due to illness, injury, pregnancy and childbirth recovery.

Only a few states – California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – have a short-term disability program. Ohio does not.

What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?

In the event an Ohioan becomes disabled, they can apply to the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits. The agency has two separate programs for individuals who it defines as disabled: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSI offers basic minimum financial assistance to seniors and individuals with disabilities of any age, who have very limited income and resources, while SSDI supports disabled individuals with a qualifying employment history, through their own employment or a family member’s. Ohio does add some funding to payments for SSI recipients.

Ohio’s Division of Disability Determination (ODD) and the SSA determine if a person is eligible to receive disability benefits. The SSA then collects and reviews the applicant's healthcare information and may schedule exams for that applicant with its doctors.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Ohioans can apply for disability benefits from the SSA in a number of ways. The easiest is by applying online, where they must provide their Social Security number and personal details, such as address, contact information, work history, marriage status, other names they may have used, and the names and contact information of their doctors.

Individuals can also make a disability claim in person at an SSA field office. They can find a local office through the SSA's website after entering their Zip code in the locator. Applicants should call their local office to make an appointment or call 800-772-1213.

Ohio Workers and Sick Leave

The state of Ohio does not require employers to provide unpaid or paid sick leave benefits to workers, but companies are free to do so if they wish. What they offer must comply with the terms of the worker’s employment contract or the business’ established policy.

Some Ohio employers may be required to provide unpaid sick leave for workers under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). According to the FMLA, businesses with more than 50 employees who worked at least 20 weeks in the previous or present year must adhere to the Act.

Those employed at the same company for a minimum of 12 months, who worked a minimum of 1,250 hours within the past 12 months, and worked for a business with at least 50 employees in a 75-mile area, can take sick leave according to the FMLA.

Who Is Eligible for Leave Under the FMLA

An employee may take leave under the FMLA if they:

  • Need to recover from serious health issues.
  • Are presently extremely ill.
  • Need time to bond with a new child.
  • Must care for family members suffering from serious health issues.
  • Need to handle qualifying circumstances that have arisen from a family member’s military service.
  • Must care for a family member who was seriously injured while on military duty.

Eligible employees can take a maximum of three months of leave per year for any of these reasons. This time renews every 12 months if the worker continues to meet eligibility requirements.

If an employee is on military caregiver leave, they may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of leave per year on a per service or per injury basis. The worker will not receive additional leave unless the same person is re-injured or another family member suffers a military service injury.

Ohio Law and Pregnancy Discrimination

While Ohio’s Anti-Discrimination Law bans pregnancy and childbirth discrimination in businesses with at least four employees, the state does not require companies to provide a minimum amount of leave for either pregnancy or childbirth.

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for any business with at least 15 employees to to treat them unfairly because they are pregnant, trying to conceive, or have experienced loss of pregnancy.

An employer cannot fire someone or cut their hours under these circumstances because the worker has the right to keep working as long as they can still do their job.