Insurance 101: A Guide to Short-Term Disability Benefits

Insurance 101: A Guide to Short-Term Disability Benefits
March 07 10:21 2019 Print This Article

Sickness, accidents, and other unexpected circumstances that leave you unable to work translate to lost income. In these situations, having short-term disability insurance will definitely help with the daily expenses that are not usually covered by traditional health insurance benefits.

But what does short-term disability involve? To better understand this supplemental insurance program, it is imperative that you know what it is, how it works, and the different perks and advantages it has over other supplemental insurance products.

What Is Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Short-term disability insurance can be defined as a temporary income source alternative when you encounter debilitating situations that leave you unfit to work. Since you won’t be able earn for a certain period, this supplemental insurance plan can provide you with a portion of your income to help you get by, day by day, while you recuperate.

Short-term disability insurance can also be considered a kind of insurance for your paycheck. Unlike traditional insurance policies, it doesn’t necessarily cover hospital and medical treatment expenses. Instead, it allows you to stop working and recover in the comforts of your home without having to sacrifice your income.

With that said, knowing when a short-term disability has emerged is the key to determining whether you can maximize short-term disability insurance or not. Interestingly, many people get confused by the term itself, especially if it is a company-offered benefit, thinking that it only covers incidents within the workplace.

However, what you need to remember is that any injury or incapacitating circumstance that hinders an employee from being able to perform his duties in the workplace and beyond is covered by short-term disability insurance policies. In fact, pregnancies are considered as one of the most common reasons cited under such programs.

To understand short-term disability insurance better, you can try to compare it to long-term disability insurance, particularly regarding the differences in perks and coverages.

4 Short-Term Disability Insurance Perks

There are several key differences between short-term and long-term disability supplemental insurance policies, but the most important ones you need to consider are the perks. Below are four benefits you can take advantage of if you sign up for a short-term disability insurance policy:

1.     It Covers Gaps in Health or Accident Insurance Coverage

Accident and health insurance policies can only cover expenses you incur in the hospital or during treatment. While some cover outpatient follow-up treatments like therapies, these insurance plans won’t pay for your mortgage, electricity bills, groceries, and other daily expenses.

Short-term disability insurance can bridge these gaps by offering you an alternative source of income while you are unable to work. It can ensure that you get a steady stream of cash even after you’ve run out of paid sick leaves to accommodate your family’s needs and your own.

2.     It Safeguards Your Daily Income

As mentioned earlier, short-term disability benefits cover for when you cannot provide for yourself and your family. It safeguards your daily income for a set period that can range from nine weeks to one full year. Of course, that will still depend on what your insurance policy states.

For some short-term disability insurance plans, coverage usually begins between the first day of incapacity to work and 14 days thereafter. Most employees take their sick days during the waiting period until the disability insurance kicks in.

3.     It Takes Effect Faster than Long-Term Disability Benefits

While it is true that short-term disability insurance costs more and covers a shorter period compared to long-term disability benefits, the former has the advantage of activating faster than the latter. This means that you wouldn’t have to wait for a month — which is usually the case for long-term benefits — before you can begin to enjoy your short-term disability benefits.

4.     It Covers Pregnancy Cases

Some pregnancy cases require more days off work than what paid maternity leaves can cover. This is where short-term disability insurance offers an advantage. Short-term disability can take care of you during unexpected turns of events during pregnancy, like when you require early pregnancy bed rest or experience complications during gestation. This makes it the perfect secondary insurance for pregnancy.

Some examples of pregnancy-related circumstances typically covered by short-term disability insurances are:

  • Diagnosis of anemia where severe deficiencies of folate, iron, or Vitamin B12 are recorded
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Low back pain that might make it difficult to lift objects for extended periods
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm labor
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum or severe morning sickness

It is worth noting, however, that these cases will still be subject for approval from your supplemental insurance provider.

Take-Home Advice

Life is unpredictable. Because of this, it is important that you are prepared for the unexpected twists and turns life may throw at you. Use the information presented in this article to make an informed choice when you are considering getting short-term disability insurance.


Eric Fribush is the owner of, a supplemental insurance agency, and has specialized in supplemental insurance since 2003. He helps clients compare the top supplemental insurance policies so they can make an informed and educated decision on what is best for them and their family. Eric is an independent agent not affiliated with any one insurance provider, which enables him to give unbiased recommendations on which policies would benefit a client the most.

view more articles

About Article Author

Nathaniel Little
Nathaniel Little

View More Articles