Can I Use My Short Term Disability to Cover a Portion of My Income?

Updated on March 16, 2010
A.W. asks from Austin, TX
9 answers

I am currently 5 months pregnant, I just found out that my employer does not pay for maternity leave, any time taken off for child birth comes out of an employees accumulated time. They do offer FMLA, which only secures me a job, not pay, while away on leave. They also mandate that I take off 9 weeks for maternity leave due to the fact that I am having a c-section birth. By the time I get ready to have my baby, I will not have 9 weeks of time accumulated, as I've only been with the company 2 years. I did however, sign up for both short term and long term disability. Can I use my short term disability to cover a portion of my income while out on maternity leave? I cannot afford to not get paid for 9 weeks... help please.

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answers from Houston on

Most employers in the US don't pay for maternity leave--I work for a VERY family friendly company and they don't even pay maternity leave for local employees. If benefits are available, they come from some sort of disability insurance. If you are paying for short-term disability, then assuming you meet the requirements of the policy, you can use it for income. You may or may not have any flexibility in how you receive the benefits.

Our policy picks up after 5 consecutive sick days. Then short term disability pays 100% of your salary for 26 weeks. The length of time you can draw from the policy all depends on the reason for taking it and when you are released for work from a doctor. Our policy pays for 6 weeks after a vaginal birth and 8 weeks for a c-section. I had a vaginal birth and get paid for sick days, so I ended up with 7 weeks paid and then used some vacation and unpaid leave to stay home 10 weeks.

I am not sure who you are referring to when you say "they also mandate that I take off 9 weeks". 6-8 weeks is standard post-partum in this country and is NOT mandated by FMLA--it is usually defined by the maternity leave or disability insurance. Of course, this can be extended if you experience complications,

You can actually exhaust all 12 weeks of your FMLA leave after the birth of a just won't necessarily get paid for it. There is a "reasonable notice" clause that needs to be observed in order to utilize it all, but it is certainly available.

FMLA is federally mandated for all companies with a certain number of ISN'T a benefit. Please don't let anyone act like they're doing you a favor. You have obligations and responsbilities as an employee, but you have a right to that leave.

You definitely need to read your benefits summary and get with someone in HR. There can be a alot of paperwork that goes along with the disability insurance and doctor's offices aren't necessarily that helpful with getting it done.

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

You should be able to get whatever your doctor writes off for you covered by short term disability. In Michigan, all doctors write that you need to stay off 6 weeks for normal delivery and 8 weeks for c-section. My company does not pay maternity leave, but I got 100% of my pay paid by short term disability for 6 weeks after delivery. Check with your company to see what short term covers. Sometimes it is not 100%. I have heard 66 2/3 % is pretty typical. You should also be able to use your short term disability if you were to need to be taken off work prior to delivery, but this would have to be on doctor's orders. Just make sure you get the paperwork that you will need to fill out or the website you need to go to for your short term disability so you are ready. You will only have a certain amount of time to file the claim once you deliver the baby.



answers from Dallas on

Every teacher at my school uses our short term disability coverage for this exact reason. I will try to help by giving you the details of my provider. For us it depends on how long you have had short term disability. Pregnancy is a pre-existing condition so you would have to have signed up for coverage prior to becoming pregnant to get coverage. And yes, you can take out as much coverage as you want for your salary range. Short term disability for pregnancy begins once you begin your hospital stay and covers 6 weeks. I chose to just take out just enough to pay for my older daughters day care expense. Check with your provider. They should be willing to give you exact details for your coverage. And Congrats on the pregnancy.



answers from Pittsburgh on

It's pretty much standard operating procedure. I had to use my vacation time, then used STDis for the duration of my 6 wk maternity leave, then I took the balance of my available time as FMLA (unpaid--in that order) Ask your HR dept.



answers from Austin on

I don't believe that short term disabiilty will cover maternity leave. Does your employer have a sick leave pool? If so, you may be able to get approved for extended sick leave from the sick leave pool. If not, it may save someone else from going through the same problem if you start the ball rolling to initiate a sick leave pool.


answers from Phoenix on

Check with the person that handles your employee benefits. Also, if you are going to have another child, check into Aflac. Between their Hopital, Sickness and ICU plans, you can get CASH to help offset your time off work. Good luck to you!



answers from New York on

Very few employers pay for maturnity leave. Typically you need to use your PTO (vacation, sick and personal days). They also should not be able to mandate the amount of time you take off (unless its a state law), that is determined by your doctor.

Yes, you can use your short term disability for maturnity leave. You should check to determine what type of coverage you have. Your plan may cover you for 100%, 80% or 66.37%. Short term disability if usually available for up to 26 weeks, but this can also vary, so check your policy.



answers from Dallas on

Yes, you can use STD for your maternity leave. They will approve 6 weeks coverage for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks coverage for a c-section. After that, you have to use your accrued PTO/STO or not get paid for the remainder of your FMLA time.



answers from Denver on

Check with your STD carrier. Usually, this is a MAIN reason people have short-term disability - but it depends on the coverage you have. Good luck!

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