Short Term Disability for Maternity Leave
Short term disability insurance policies are offered by many employers, and it may also be purchased as an individual plan. These policies provide benefits in the event that you have an inability to work, often after you have used your sick leave. You may wonder if you can get short term disability for maternity leave. In some cases, you may be able to, but it can be difficult to get such a claim approved. For help with your specific situation, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC.
Can I Get Short Term Disability for Maternity Leave?
Short term disability will provide you with benefits if you become unable to work for a short period of time. That may include up to 52 weeks, depending on your policy.
Companies that offer short term disability are also required to provide maternity leave benefits according to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a federal law. However, some states do not require companies to offer STD, which means they may not have maternity leave benefits. If the company you work for does not offer maternity leave or STD, you can purchase an policy for private individuals.
How Does Short Term Disability Work?
You must opt into or purchase a STD policy before the need to use it arises. Most employer-provided and individual policies require you to wait a period of time before you can begin obtaining benefits. That waiting period may be up to one year. Thus, if you learn that you are pregnant the day that you purchase a policy, you would not be able to get benefits right away. If, however, your baby arrives after the waiting period, then you may be able to obtain STD benefits.
STD policies offered by your employer may be administered by a third-party insurance company. In this case, part of your payments for benefits may even be provided by your employer. You should learn all of the details of your plan from your employer or HR department.
Private policies that can be taken out by individuals are similar to private healthcare insurance plans. You may pay your entire premium and select the benefits offered by the plan. That includes how long you may receive benefits, waiting period, and exclusion details. You should always read the fine print when selecting a STD plan.
Both STD policies offered by an employer and individual plans should offer benefits during pregnancy, bed rest, and during any complications related to childbirth. However, an employer-sponsored plan may be more liberal with benefits.
Is Pregnancy a Pre-Existing Condition?
Many STD insurance policies determine that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. Thus, you will not qualify for benefits immediately. However, you should not avoid buying a new STD policy. After you wait a required amount of time, you will then be eligible for benefits, and maternity complications can last a significant amount of time.
Applying for Short Term Disability for Maternity Leave
When you become unable to work due to pregnancy complications, childbirth, or postpartum disorders, you should apply to obtain benefits from your STD insurance company.
Approved claims are those that occur after the effective date of the policy or are not considered pre-existing conditions.
Your claim may be denied if your condition (illness or injury) is excluded in the legal language of the policy. Normal childbirth within nine months of the effective date of the plan is typically denied.
If you work in a state with a mandatory disability program, then your claim may be paid if your participation in the plan started within the restrictions of your policy. Only five states have a required program: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington State (beginning in 2020).
Does STD for Maternity Leave Have a Waiting Period?
There are two potential waiting periods that may affect your STD claim for maternity leave. The first states that your insurer will not pay for any disability that begins within the first 12 months of the policy. That means that any injury or illness that arises within the first year of your policy will not be covered, including maternity leave.
Another waiting period included in many STD polices states that they will not pay benefits for losses caused by birth as a result of normal pregnancy within nine months of the policy effective date. This would exclude any maternity leave through nine months after you sign your initial policy. However, injury and illness related to your pregnancy after that nine months may be covered.
Contact an STD Attorney Today
If you have questions about your STD policy and whether you can get short term disability for maternity leave, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today.