Understanding How Short-Term Disability Benefits Work

Feb 28, 2018 | Blog |

Short-term disability benefits are available either independently, through a private insurance plan, or through one’s employer, and serve as a limited wage replacement during a temporary disability period — for example, following an unexpected accident.  Short-term disability benefits can be rather confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the process of filing a disability claim, as many would-be claimants may not realize that they are eligible to receive benefits.  Oftentimes, eligible claimants assume that they are not entitled to receive disability benefits unless they are suffering from a long-term or permanent disability.

How Does Short-Term Disability Work?


Requirements may differ from plan-to-plan, but generally speaking, short-term disability coverage requires that you actually have a condition that is sufficiently disabling to render you incapable of working for a significant period of time — generally between two months and one year.  There is often a waiting period (and you may have to use sick days at work first) before you are entitled to receive benefits.

Relevant Benefits

Short-term disability benefits pay out in the form of a percentage of your wages (i.e., 40, 50, or 60 percent of your wages).  Depending on the plan, you may receive payments on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly timetable.  For example, if you were earning $3,000 per month and your short-term disability plan paid out 50 percent of your wages, you might receive $1,500 per month in biweekly payments of $750.


Short-term disability benefits are intended as a stopgap measure to replace your wages following an unexpected event (accident/illness).  As such, they generally end after a maximum of one year.  If your disabling condition continues, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits.  Depending on the plan, your short-term disability benefits may automatically qualify you for long-term disability benefits after a certain period of time.  Otherwise, you will have to separately apply and qualify for long-term disability benefits.

Given the inherently short-lived nature of such benefits, actions taken by the insurer that interfere with your right to be compensated — such as wrongful denial, unreasonable delay, or undervaluing your claim — may put you in a particularly vulnerable position, as you are more likely to be concerned with recovering from your disability and returning to work.  As such, it’s critical that you consult with an attorney early on in the process.  Your attorney will challenge wrongful denials and work to ensure that your full benefits are paid out in a timely manner.

Different Qualifications Depending on the Plan

Depending on your short-term disability insurance plan, you can have quite different requirements for qualification.  Each plan has its own particular definition of what constitutes a qualifying “disability,” of course, but there are additional requirements that can differ, too.  These requirements may include:

  • Minimum period of time working for an employer before coverage applies
  • Full-time employment
  • Minimum duration of disability (usually a minimum of 8-9 weeks)
  • Frequency of medical updates
  • And more

Speak With an Experienced Chicago Short-Term Disability Attorney Today

If you are suffering from an injury or condition that renders you unable to work for a limited period of time, you may be qualified to make a short-term disability claim, provided that you have short-term disability coverage independently (through a private insurer) or through your employer.  Insurers often wrongfully deny legitimate claims, however, which can put you under undue financial stress.

In the event that your claim is wrongfully denied, make sure to get in touch with an experienced Chicago short term disability attorney here at Bryant Legal Group, P.C.  Our attorneys have decades of experience helping policyholders make successful short-term disability claims, and challenge unreasonable and unjustifiable denials.  We are committed to our clients and make ourselves available to answer any questions or concerns they may have regarding the claims process.

Call (312) 561-3010 to speak with one of our short-term disability attorneys today.  We look forward to assisting you.

Bryant Legal Group - Chicago Healthcare and Disability Attorneys


"Mr Bryant, his partner Jennifer Danish and associate Steve Jackson were efficient, diligent and persistent towards finding a just resolution and favorable outcome for myself and my entire company."

"I used Jennifer Danish for a disability claim. Frustrated that I couldn’t get results myself I found her. She unearthed some issues my doctor did Not notify me of that affect the quality of my life. My end result was positive!"

"Mr. Jackson did an outstanding job in relation to my case. He insured I was. Both prepared as well as informed regarding the hearing. I would highly recommend his skills and personal dedication to the client."

"Though difficult for the obvious reasons, your involvement has made this process infinitely more tolerable. Please know of my sincere appreciation for your efforts. With Very Best Regards,"

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