Short-Term Disability Insurance (STD) Overview

Short-Term Disability Insurance (STD) helps replace some of your income for a period of a year or less when you cannot work at all or can only work part-time because of a disability.

To be covered by STD, you or your employer must pay a monthly premium. When an illness or injury prevents you from working and you are running out of sick days at work, you apply for benefits by speaking with your human resources representative or your insurance agent.

STD is not a government benefit and is not connected to any public benefit program. It is private insurance that you get through a private company. To find out if you have STD coverage through your employer, talk to your Human Resources person. To sign up for an individual policy, contact an insurance company or insurance agent.

Most STD policies require documentation from your doctor that explains your condition and estimates how long you’ll be unable to work. Depending on your policy and your medical condition, you may need to report on the status of your disability. There will probably be a waiting period between the date you leave work and the date when you actually begin to get benefits.

Once the waiting period is over, you will generally get a set percentage of the wages you were earning before you were disabled. Although the amount varies, payments are generally around 60% of your previous wage. For example, if you were paid $2,000 per month at work and your policy pays 60% of your pre-disability earnings, you will get a benefits check of $1,200 per month. STD policies generally lasts between 9 weeks and 52 weeks (or 1 year), after which time your benefits will end.

When your STD benefits ends, you may have the option of moving to a Long-Term Disability (LTD) policy or going on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some STD plans automatically transition to an LTD plan if you are still disabled after the benefits period ends. The benefits period is the amount of time that you will get a benefits check. If you anticipate needing SSDI, you should apply as soon as possible.