Disability Insurance (DI) is an essential part of pregnancy. Your claim can be approved earlier if your pregnancy related condition will prevent you from working for more than four weeks before your expected due date. If you’ve been disabled or incapacitated in any way, this insurance will help you continue to earn while you’re pregnant.
Eligibility for the pregnancy DI varies from state to state (contact your state insurance commissioner to find out the rules for your state.) In most states, however you need to be in employment when you apply for the DI as this will make you eligible for receiving benefits when you’re unable to work due to pregnancy or child-related disability.
Private insurance companies and some states offer short term disability insurance for the loss of income during pregnancy and maternity leaves. Coverage for short term disability insurance has to be purchased or paid through employee’s payroll deductions. Pregnancy disability insurance policies generally cover loss of income due to complications during pregnancy, labor and post partum illnesses.
The main purpose of disability insurance for pregnancy is to replace income during or after pregnancy. This insurance is different to maternity leave, so do not confuse the 2. Pregnancy complications and conditions that impair a woman’s ability to work are covered by this DI, while maternity leave is the legal right of mothers-to-be (and more recently of fathers, too in some parts of the world) to take time off work during the woman’s pregnancy.
Disability insurance for maternity is usually purchased from insurance companies that sell health insurance policies. Another option to get this coverage would be through the state’s and employer’s sponsored Short Term Disability Insurance in combination with private insurance companies. Some states provide this as an elective coverage.
Pregnancy DI has to be purchased or paid in before a woman becomes pregnant. Once a woman is pregnant insurance companies won’t sell a policy to cover for pregnancy related disabilities. Each insurance company provides for different terms of coverage and pricing, so it’s important to get multiple quotes and compare them when buying this type of insurance.
There are many circumstances which may prevent you from returning to work immediately following childbirth. For example, if you experience postpartum depression, postpartum hemorrhage, trauma, or surgery, these may all result in a waiting period between your discharge from the hospital and the beginning of your disability period.
Similarly, if you have an accident that causes you to miss a significant portion of your regular work schedule, your insurance policies typically will provide extended coverage as long as you are able to return to work after your recovery.
Who Needs Pregnancy Disability Insurance?
This short term disability insurance is purchased to replace or to compliment income during pregnancy and maternity leave periods. Individuals with the following situations may get pregnancy disability insurance:
- Self employed individuals to replace income during and after pregnancy
- Employees getting time off during pregnancy under the laws, but the time is unpaid
- Individuals who expect to have some complications during or after pregnancy (after consulting a doctor)
- Individuals needing additional income on top of states and employers paid time off for maternity
If you suffer an injury at work, it’s imperative that you seek adequate medical care right away, especially if you’re not sure whether or not your injuries will affect your ability to return to work. In most cases, long-term disability plans provide benefits even if you’re temporarily unable to perform the tasks of your job. Typically, you’ll be paid a lump sum and Medicare and Medicaid will pay most, if not all, of the remaining costs associated with your injury.
If you do suffer an injury that affects your ability to work, you may be eligible for benefits through your employer, but it’s important to keep in mind that most employers usually only offer long-term disability benefits if you’ve worked with them for at least a year.
States Sponsored Pregnancy Disability Insurance
Some states provide short term disability insurance for maternity in addition to maternity leave programs. The coverage is offered as an elective for employees and self employed. The State’s department for Human Resources or the Department of Labor has information about the insurance program if it’s offered.
Employers do payroll deductions for employees who elect coverage under state’s disability programs. California, New York and New Jersey are three examples of states offering elective pregnancy disability insurance.
Maternity Leave and Paid Leave Programs
Pregnancy or maternity leave programs provide time off for a woman or man to care for and bonding with a newborn. The woman doesn’t have to suffer a disability to obtain maternity leave from work. Pregnancy leaves include laws such as FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act, states’ maternity leave laws and employer’s time off policies for pregnancy. Time off under these programs may or may not be paid in a particular state or by a particular employer