Social Security Disability vs. Short-Term Disability

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Social Security Disability vs. Short-Term Disability

No one wants to find themselves on disability and unable to work. But if you are injured or sick, it’s important that you understand the different kinds of disability benefits available to you. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for either Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, short-term disability (STD) benefits, or both.

What is short-term disability?

Short-term disability (STD) is a type of insurance that is either purchased privately or provided by your employer. Most policies are employer provided. Short-term disability provides a percentage of your pay (often 60-70%) while you are unable to work your current job. As the name implies, short-term disability usually covers a short period of time, usually up to 13 weeks or 3 months.

(Note that if you’re unable to work due to an injury you received on your job, you may also qualify for workers’ compensation, a separate type of insurance.)

Are you eligible for short-term disability?

Eligibility for short-term disability insurance often requires a waiting period before benefits begin. Many work-provided policies require you to use all of your paid time off (vacation and sick days) before beginning your STD coverage. Common uses for short-term disability claims include recovery from surgery, maternity leave, and treatment for a medical condition, such as cancer. You are only eligible for STD if you or your employer has purchased an STD plan for you.

It’s important to remember that your employer does not decide whether you qualify for short-term disability; the insurance provider decides.

However, talking to your human resources representative should be your first step in understanding whether you are entitled to these benefits. If you feel your HR representative is not accurately explaining your benefits or is trying to prevent you from receiving them, you may wish to consult a disability attorney.

What is Social Security disability?

Social Security disability (SSD) is a government program designed to provide support for people who can’t work due to disability or illness. Unlike short-term disability, SSD is designed to help people who will be disabled for at least a year. Many people begin their disability coverage with an STD insurance plan and then move to SSD.

SSD is different than Supplemental Security Income, which may be available to you even if you are not completely disabled.

Are you eligible for Social Security disability?

SSD benefits are designed for people who are unable to work in any meaningful way. You are not eligible for SSD until you have been disabled for at least five months.

As with many government-sponsored benefits, SSD is a complicated system requiring you to submit detailed forms and information, including your medical history. Your eligibility depends on your illness or injuries as well as your work history.

Providing the necessary paperwork and information can be time-consuming and difficult to do while you are ill. Working with a disability attorney can make this complicated process easier.

Hire an experienced disability attorney to help you through the disability benefits process

When you find yourself facing a serious illness, the last thing you want to do is involve yourself in a complicated bureaucracy. But understanding your rights and the benefits available to you is an important step in making sure you can provide for yourself and your medical care.

At Hunter & Everage, we’ve been helping people understand these systems for years, and we’d be happy to do the same for you. Contact our experienced disability attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, today.

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