Short-term disability benefits can provide financial relief if you can't work for awhile because you're too sick or still recovering from an injury. Women can also use short-term disability to recover after giving birth. In the state of New York, you apply for short-term disability by filling out a form with your doctor's help.
If you work for a covered employee, you become eligible for short-term disability in New York after working for four weeks continuously. If you lose your job and go on unemployment, you remain eligible while collecting unemployment. If you change jobs after becoming eligible, you remain eligible as long as your new employer is also covered by New York's Disability Benefits Law. If you're a domestic worker such as a nanny, you're eligible as long as you work at least 40 hours a week for the same person.
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Volunteers, ministers, farm and maritime workers and employees of the government or any railroad covered by the Federal Employers Liability Act are not eligible for short-term disability. Most private employers are, but a company that has been in business for less than two months might not have qualified yet. The New York State Workers' Compensation Board can help you determine whether your employer is covered if you don't know.
How to Apply
As soon as you realize you won't be able to go back to work immediately, you should apply for short-term disability. You won't be able to receive benefits until you use up your sick leave, but you should still apply right away because there's a 30-day deadline from the date you became disabled.
If you're still employed, or if you have been receiving unemployment benefits for fewer than four weeks, ask your employer for Form DB-450 or download it from the Internet. The form is two pages long and includes questions about the nature of your disability, your employer's address and other basic information. You can fill out the first page yourself, but the second page can only be filled out by a healthcare professional. You can give the completed form to your employer or mail it to NYSIF Disability Benefits Claims, 15 Computer Drive West, Albany, NY 12205.
If you have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than four weeks, you must use Form DB-300. Mail this form to NYS Workers' Compensation Board – Disability Benefits, 100 Broadway-Menands, Albany, NY 12241.
The insurance provider may deny your claim, often on the basis that you didn't submit enough evidence to document your disability. If this happens, you can file an appeal with the New York Workers' Compensation Board. Before you file your appeal, be sure to gather any evidence that could support your claim, such as a second opinion from another doctor, police reports, emergency room witness statements or statements from coworkers.
Short-term disability won't completely replace your lost income. You'll receive 50 percent of your regular wages, up to $170 per week. Your benefits will be paid on a biweekly basis. There's a waiting period of seven days before you can start to receive benefits, and you can receive short-term disability for no more than 26 weeks in a year.
Women who go on short-term disability after giving birth are entitled to six weeks of benefits, or eight weeks after a Caesarean section. If you've used up your six or eight weeks but are still unable to work because of complications, you may be able to get more time.
You can call the Workers' Compensation Board at 800-353-3092 if you have any questions about your benefits.