If your work benefits don't include paid family leave, another avenue of financial assistance is to apply for short-term disability while you're on your maternal leave. Read on to learn more about how to apply, so you don't have to worry about keeping the lights on while bonding with your baby.
What is short-term disability?
Short-term disability coverage provides replacement income for people who are unable to work due to a wide range of injuries and illnesses that may or may not have occurred in the workplace. Pregnancy is typically covered under this insurance policy.
How to apply for short-term disability
Applying for short-term disability is much more straightforward if it's already provided by your employer. In this case you should be able to sign up directly for coverage and receive any benefits available to you. The exception would be if there are any limitations on pre-existing conditions, but you can check with your HR manager or read over your policy first to make sure.
In contrast to individual or voluntary group policies, employer plans include coverage for many employees simultaneously and don't typically require medical underwriting. However, the process is more complicated when you buy disability insurance on your own. You will likely have to answer questions about your health or undergo a medical exam. If you apply during your pregnancy, it will be considered a pre-existing condition and any related claims are probably going to be excluded.
Make sure to find out if you'll be covered first ideally before you conceive your child, and definitely before you deliver.
Does short-term disability cover maternity leave?
If you can demonstrate that you are unable to work due to your pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery, and can present valid certification of this from a physician, you may be able to qualify for benefits under an individual short-term disability policy.
If your employer happens to offer this type of disability plan, typically you may be eligible to receive 50% to 70% of your income for a benefit period of up to eight weeks after you give birth. This is depending on the type of delivery you've had (Caesarean sections are eligible for longer benefit periods). If your pregnancy has involved complications and required bedrest, it too could be covered under short-term disability.
Before you go on leave, take the time to read and understand the requirements of your policy as each one comes with its own requirements. Though it may seem like a straightforward process, make sure to discuss the claims submission process with your human resources manager, especially with regards to private or state disability insurance plans.