When you are losing time from work because of a disability, you are probably concerned about your family’s well-being. However, there is no such thing as short-term social security disability payments, these payments kick in only if you are expected to be disabled for a period of 12 months or more or if you suffer a permanent disability. Under New York laws, though, workers are offered a great deal of protection if they become disabled.
New York’s Disability Rules
New York requires employers to provide short-term disability coverage to most employees. Under this plan, employers must provide partial wage payments for up to 26 weeks to all eligible employees who are losing work because of a disability. Under the definition, women who are pregnant or have given birth are eligible for this coverage as well. The basic requirements include:
- You must have worked for the employer at least four weeks
- You must have worked an average of 40 hours per week prior to being disabled or
- Your employer who is not required to provide coverage provides voluntary coverage
While a disabled worker is ineligible to collect short-term benefits until they have been out of work for at least seven days, employees may collect up to 50 percent of their pre-disability pay subject to disability caps which are currently set at $170 per week.
Employers Who Must Provide Coverage
Employer obligations for short-term disability apply regardless of the number of employees they may have at any given time. Should an employer have only one employee, they must provide coverages once that employee has worked at least 30 days. These days need not be consecutive for the requirement to become effective. Other requirements include:
- Those who employ domestic help at least 40 hours per week
- Employers who are “successors” (e.g. they have taken over a company) must provide coverage immediately
Employers may request an employee to help defray the cost of the disability coverage, but the maximum amount of the employee contribution may not exceed sixty cents per week.
Filing a Benefits Claim
Employees who believe they are eligible for short-term disability payments are required to submit a claim form (Form DB-450) to their employer. This form must be filed within 30 days of the disability. If the employee is notified their claim is denied by either the insurance company or their employer, there must be separate notification made to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Employees have the right to request a hearing before the board in the event of a denial of benefits.
What Happens if Benefits are Denied?
An employee who believes they have been denied short-term disability benefits has the right to request a hearing before the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. In nearly all cases, it is a good idea to contact a New York disability attorney for assistance. An attorney can advise you of your rights and they can present your case before the board to ensure there is a clear picture of why your claim should not have been denied.
Why Contact an Attorney?
Employers, as well as their insurance company, will have an attorney presenting their case. Frequently employees who are eligible for short-term disability benefits are uncertain as to what their benefits are and what evidence must be presented in order to claim those benefits. However, whenever you are losing more than one week from work for a non-work related injury or illness, you have the right to collect these benefits.
Understanding Social Security Disability
Unlike short-term disability insurance your employer is required to provide under New York law, the benefits offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are based on your work history. Additionally, you must be expected to be out of work for a period of at least 12 months or have a qualifying disability such as low vision or blindness in order to collect benefits while you continue to work.
Additionally, social security benefits require employees to have worked a certain number of quarters in order to be eligible for benefits. Employees who are suffering life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and others may qualify for Social Security Disability but it is important to understand that the approval process can be time-consuming and often these claims are denied during the first application.
If you believe you are eligible for short-term disability from your employer and your claim has been denied or you are considering filing an application for social security disability, you should contact an attorney who understands the process that is necessary to get benefits approved. Your family finances can suffer dramatically if you are unable to collect the benefits you may be entitled to under New York law.