What Does it Mean to Be Temporarily Disabled?

Being temporarily disabled means you cannot work for weeks or months at a time due to an injury or illness, which ultimately will be recoverable, allowing someone to return to work. This does not just mean a case of the flu, but a debilitating illness that prevents you from working. Some common temporary disabilities are serious physical injury, pregnancy, surgical recovery, or a serious mental illness such as anxiety or depression that has a good chance of improving. 

What are the Qualifications of Short-Term Disability?

Regardless of the condition, you must have a diagnosis from a medical professional. You will need medical records of a diagnosis and a treatment plan, as well as evidence of how your condition affects your ability to work and earn a living. Short Term Disability usually refers to an ailment that will affect you for a year or less. Any longer, it may fall under the category of permanent disability. Always research before applying, as some conditions are excluded from the temporary disability application, such as self-injury, pre-existing conditions, criminal actions, or jail time.

Why Would a Temporary Total Disability Claim Be Denied?

Most Temporary Disability Claims are denied in the first filing, and need to be appealed with the help of a lawyer or attorney. But why were they denied? Typically, a claim is denied for these reasons:

  • Your condition isn’t covered. Always read the fine print and understand the program you’re applying for before filing for benefits. For example, some programs include time off for a C-section birth, while others do not.

  • You didn’t provide adequate medical evidence. You must prove your medical condition through a medical professional diagnosis and medical records. If you have insufficient evidence, your claim will be denied.

  • The insurer thinks you're lying. Unfortunately, fraud is a big problem in the insurance industry. To combat this, insurers will investigate you. This can be checking your social media, talking to friends and family, or following you to see if your behavior contradicts your claims. For example, if you claim to have a back injury but lift weights at the gym three times a week, they may think you’re lying.

What Kinds of Temporary Disability Programs Are There?

There are three typical short-term disability programs you should consider when applying. The first will be employer-sponsored disability plans. Some employers have short-term disability insurance, which should be the first place you look when seeking to apply for disability. You should contact the human resource department of your place of employment for more information.

The second type is state and local disability programs. While disability programs vary by state, many states offer state-funded disability programs, or offer monetary support for low-income residents with medical issues. (Often called workers’ compensation,).

The last type is Social Security Disability Benefits. The benefits would be temporary, lasting only as long as you meet the medical requirements. Like all temporary disability benefit programs, your financial relief will cease once your condition improves. To receive social security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough—and recently enough—and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings.

What Kind of Benefits are Available with Temporary Disability?

You will get a higher monetary benefit with temporary disability, which can be up to 70% of your income. A permanent disability will get closer to 40% of their income each month, but for longer. 

Can I Work and Receive Disability Benefits?

Yes, you can work and still receive benefits. However, depending on how much money you make, you may receive a smaller benefit amount. You usually cannot make more than $1,350 ($2,260 if you are blind) a month in 202—if you do, your benefits will stop. However, Social Security offers work incentives and Ticket to Work programs. These benefits can be continued health care while you work, health with education or training, or continued cash benefits while you work.

When Do My Benefits Stop from a Temporary Disability?

As soon as you have recovered and are able to continue working, the benefits will stop. However, when you are approved, you will usually receive a schedule for disability payments. If you have not recovered by the end of those payments, the benefits will stop regardless. If you are still unable to work due to your condition, you may need to apply for permanent disability benefits.

When Should I Apply for Temporary Disability Benefits?

You should apply immediately. Getting approved for disability can usually take six months, and you will be without benefits until you are approved. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will be able to receive benefits. However, social security benefits do offer backpay, which will be the benefits you would have received from the day you applied. You will not receive any benefits from the time before you apply, so applying as soon as possible is in your best interest.

How Do I Apply for Temporary Disability Benefits?

A disability lawyer in your home state can help you determine available local and state options for financial support when you’re temporarily disabled. They can also consult with you on whether you should start a claim for Social Security disability now, even if you don’t know yet how long your temporary disability will last. If you are applying for Social Security Disability, you can apply online. If you are interested in employer-sponsored disability benefits and/or workers’ compensation, you will need to contact human resources in your company for more information.

How Can Trajector Help Me With Temporary Disability?

A lot of short-term disability claims are denied on the first filing. However, Trajector can help you appeal, which will allow you to get the funds you need until you are able to recover. Trajector also helps employees review and choose the best short-term disability plan for their unique needs. If you don’t have short-term disability benefits available through your employer, Trajector can also help you review other options.