If you are injured or you become ill while not on the job, you may be eligible for New York State short-term disability benefits under its Disability Benefits Law (DBL). While these benefits are limited both in amount and number of payments, they can be very helpful in providing cash to those who are temporarily unable to work.
In order to be eligible for short-term disability benefits, you must have become injured or ill while not at work but must be employed, or recently employed, at the time of illness or injury. (Those who are injured on the job are covered under a different set of rules.) Additionally, pregnancy is covered under short-term disability.
The employees who are covered by disability include:
The definition of covered employer generally includes all employers who have one or more employees. Some exclusions to this definition include government workers, religious leaders, those providing work in return for charity care, and high school students who work part-time or only during vacations.
The New York State Workers' Compensation Board, under the New York State Department of Labor, oversees short-term disability benefits. New York State law requires that every covered employer provides insurance to cover short-term disability benefits for their employees. Under the Workers' Compensation Board, the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) provides insurance to a vast majority of employers in New York State.
The New York State Workers' Compensation Board can be contacted regarding short-term disability insurance for employees who are disabled due to non-work-related illnesses or injuries at (518) 462-8881 or (800) 353-3092. NYSIF may be contacted directly if the insurance fund is your employer's insurer.
Another option that is available to employers is the ability to apply to the Board for an exemption that allows them to self-insure, meaning they would pay short-term disability benefits themselves instead of paying for insurance to do so. If your company self-insures, contact them directly to coordinate disability payments.
It is very important to note that if you become disabled and qualify for short-term disability insurance, you must file your claim within 30 days of becoming disabled.
If NYSIF is not your employer's insurance provider, contact the Worker's Compensation Board.
If you are unemployed and have been collecting unemployment benefits for longer than four weeks at the time you become disabled, you will file a DB-300 form. These forms can be obtained on the NYSIF website, from your local Workers' Compensation Board, or by calling 800-353-3092. Completed DB-300 forms should be sent to: NYS Workers' Compensation Board – Disability Benefits; 100 Broadway; Menands/Albany, NY 12241.
Both forms require you to fill out a section about your disability, as well as a section to be filled out by your treating physician regarding your disability. Medical evidence regarding your disability may be required for the entire period you are requesting benefits.
For those who are employed or unemployed for less than four weeks, there is an additional section that must be filled out by your employer.
Disability benefits will pay 50% of your average wages (calculated over the prior eight weeks) up to a maximum of $170 per week.
Benefits will begin on your eight consecutive day out of work; the first seven days is an unpaid waiting period. You can receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks in a 52-week period. You will receive payment every two weeks.
For pregnancy, women are covered for six weeks after a normal pregnancy and eight weeks after a Caesarian section (those these lengths may be extended if there are complications). WOmen filing for post-childbirth benefits receive the same payment as those filing for other disabilities.
Medical costs are not covered by disability insurance.