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Getting injured at work can be a traumatic and stressful experience, both physically and financially. The loss of income from being unable to work can significantly strain one's finances, and the costs of medical treatment can add up quickly. However, there is hope for those who find themselves in this difficult situation.
If you’ve become disabled and can’t work, you may be eligible for temporary disability benefits called temporary disability insurance or cash sickness benefits. This is only applicable to five states in the US, but other states can take advantage of short-term disability to claim benefits.
Let's explore everything you need to know about temporary disability benefits.
What are Temporary Disability Benefits?
Temporary disability benefits are financial payments made to individuals who cannot work due to a non-permanent injury or illness. The purpose of these benefits is to provide financial support to individuals and their families when they are unable to work. The states with laws for temporary disability insurance include Rhode Island, California, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii. Puerto Rico also has laws governing temporary disability insurance.
Eligible individuals receive a portion of their regular income, typically a percentage of their average weekly wage, to help cover expenses such as medical bills, living costs, and other necessities. Temporary disability benefits may be provided through various sources, including private insurance policies, state-sponsored programs, and workers' compensation programs for work-related injuries or illnesses.
The duration and amount of benefits will vary depending on the individual's situation but typically lasts until the individual can return to work or until a certain maximum benefit period has been reached. In most cases, if the claimant receives workers' compensation, they won't receive temporary disability benefits.
How Do You Qualify For Temporary Disability Benefits?
To qualify for TDI, an individual must have worked enough hours in the past year to meet a certain threshold established by their state. Some states also require employees to work at least five out of the last ten weeks before becoming disabled. Additionally, employees must provide proof of their disability; this usually involves providing medical documentation such as doctor’s notes, lab results, diagnostic tests, etc.
Here are the common requirements:
- Proof of non-permanent injury or illness
- Proof of employment and income
- Timing requirements
- Coverage under a disability insurance policy or workers' compensation program
- Medical documentation
It's important to note that the specific eligibility criteria for temporary disability benefits will vary depending on the source of the benefits and the laws and regulations of the state where the individual resides. Seeking advice from a legal or financial professional can help ensure that individuals meet all eligibility criteria and receive the benefits they are entitled to.
How to Apply for Temporary Disability Benefits?
In general, the following steps outline the typical process for applying:
- Gather necessary documentation: This may include medical documentation of the injury or illness, proof of employment and income, and any relevant documentation from your insurance policy or workers' compensation program.
- Fill out forms and applications: Depending on the source of the benefits, you may need to complete and submit an application or claim form. This form will ask for detailed information about your injury or illness, employment, and finances.
- Submit the application to the right authorities: This may be to your insurance company, state disability program, or workers' compensation program, depending on the source of the benefits.
- Follow up on the status of your application: After submitting your application, it's important to follow up with the relevant authorities to ensure it has been received and is being processed. You may also receive requests for additional information or documentation.
It's important to note that the process for applying for temporary disability benefits can be complex and time-consuming. Seeking legal advice or assistance from a disability advocate may help ensure a smooth and successful application process.
How Much Money Will I Receive?
The amount of money an individual receives depends on two factors: how much money they made before becoming disabled and the state laws in which they live. Generally speaking, most states provide between 50-70% of an individual’s pre-disability wages up to a maximum weekly benefit amount. The maximum duration for temporary disability payments varies from state to state but typically ranges from 26-52 weeks.
If you can’t work due to a medically certified physical or mental illness or injury, it’s worth looking into whether or not you’re eligible for temporary disability benefits, as you may be able to provide much-needed financial assistance during this difficult time in your life. Be sure to check with your local government agencies or consult with an attorney specializing in employment law if you have any further questions regarding your eligibility for temporary disability benefits.
Are you wondering if you can collect disability benefits and Social Security at the same time? Check out the answer in our blog.