If you are out of work due to a non-work related injury or illness, talk to an attorney about short term disability law. A short term disability lawyer can help you determine eligibility for short term disability benefits. Short term disability (STD) insurance is usually purchased through employment, although individual policies are available. It pays a percentage of your salary (typically 40% to 70%) for a specified time period (usually 3 to 6 months).
The process for seeking short term disability benefits is similar to that for obtaining long term disability benefits. Moreover, many STD insurance plans roll into long term disability coverage. Therefore, the outcome of your short term disability claim could affect the likelihood of securing long term disability benefits. Therefore, getting help with your claim from a Massachusetts short term disability lawyer is a smart idea. Attorney Jonathan M. Feigenbaum, Esquire, can help you apply for benefits or assist you with an appeal or litigation if your claim has been denied. We will help thoroughly explore your options to ensure that you receive the benefits you need.
Requirements for Employer Provided Coverage
Employer provided plans generally require working full-time for a minimum period before coverage begins. If an illness led to your disability your disability is caused by an illness, you may have to first exhaust your sick leave and there could be an additional waiting period.
Definition of Disability
The way disability is defined in your policy is crucial to whether you qualify for benefits. Some policies define disability by inability to perform at your current job. Other policies define disability by complete inability to perform at any job.
Your policy could exclude coverage for self-inflicted injuries and pre-existing conditions or there may be a waiting period before pre-existing conditions are covered.
Application of ERISA
If you purchased individual coverage, your policy will not be subject to the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA governs employer provided short-term disability unless they meet certain requirements described below.
A non-ERISA plan allows you to pursue remedies for unfair treatment under state law. You may have the right to a jury trial and, depending on the state where you live, additional damages not available under ERISA plans. Even if a disability plan states that it is governed by ERISA, this may not, in fact, be the case.
Employer Disability Plans That Fall Outside of ERISA Rules
ERISA does not govern “salary continuation plans” or “payroll practices plans”. These are plans that:
- Pay the employee’s normal compensation (which can be less than the employee’s usual salary),
- Out of the employer’s general assets,
- On account of periods of time during which the employee is physically or mentally unable to perform his or her duties, or is otherwise absent for medical reasons (such as pregnancy, a physical examination, or psychiatric treatment).
STD insurance policies purchased by an employer to satisfy mandatory state requirements are also not subject to ERISA. Five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island) have mandatory short-term disability benefits.
Contact Our Massachusetts Short Term Disability Lawyer
At the law office of Jonathan M. Feigenbaum, Esquire, our Massachusetts short term disability attorney can help you with your initial application for benefits or your appeal of a denied claim. We specialize in short term disability law and commit to protecting your rights. Contact us online or call 617-357-9700 or 866-396-9722 (toll free) to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.