What is Short-Term Disability?
Short-term disability insurance gives you money if you are sick or hurt and can’t work for a short time. The state of Georgia doesn’t run a short-term disability program, so Georgians must purchase this private insurance on their own.
Most of the time, short-term disability only pays for accidents or illnesses outside of work. However, if you get hurt at work or get sick because of your job, you should be covered by workers’ compensation. In that case, a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you.
The Basics of Short-Term Disability in Georgia
Since Georgia does not have a short-term disability program run by the state, you have to buy private insurance or get insurance through your job if you want short-term disability coverage.
Short-term disability insurance is meant to help you pay your bills when you can’t work. Most people don’t have enough savings to cover their bills for more than a few weeks, so short-term disability insurance is a safety net for a sudden loss of income due to illness or injury.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety (GDPS) says that most short-term disability policies will cover a portion of your income. Usually, it’s around 60% of your average wage. Most policies will pay between three and six months of work.
A short-term disability plan is something you can buy on your own. Or, some employers will pay for all or part of a plan on your behalf. When an employer buys the plan, there may be other rules, like using your sick days before your coverage kicks in.
A lawyer who specializes in disability can help you understand your plan.
Qualifying for Short-Term Disability Benefits
Whether or not you are eligible for benefits will depend on how the insurance policy is written. But many policies have similar requirements.
For example, before you can get benefits, you have a required waiting period. This waiting period is usually less than 14 days, and some policies don’t have one at all. Also, it can take longer to get benefits if you have an illness instead of an injury.
You usually have to be completely unable to work for a certain amount of time to get benefits. A doctor usually makes this decision, and you must give your insurance company your medical records. If your insurance company is trying to cut your short-term disability benefits, a Georgia lawyer can help you get the money you need.
Short-Term Disability and Workers' Compensation
Some people make the mistake of thinking that workers’ compensation and short-term disability are the same, but they are not:
- Workers’ compensation handles on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
- Short-term disability is disability insurance that pays you if you have a non-job-related illness or injury and cannot work for a short period of time.
Workers also get some extra benefits from workers’ compensation. The most important thing is medical care. Short-term disability gives you money if you can’t work for a short time, but it doesn’t protect your job like workers’ compensation does.
Workers’ compensation is also provided for free by your employer because most employers are required by law to do so. Some employers offer short-term disability insurance, but they don’t have to.
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