Buying a Short-Term Disability Policy for Pregnancy

Short-term disability insurance policies cover time off work for pregnancy and childbirth. This coverage can offer some income if you have to miss work due to late-stage pregnancy, pregnancy complications, childbirth, and recovery. Unless you live in a state that offers short-term disability benefits (California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii), or your employer provides you with short-term disability insurance, you may want to buy your own policy through your insurance provider.

Cost of Short-Term Disability Benefits

Premiums for a short-term disability policy aren't cheap, but it can make sense to get this coverage for a planned pregnancy rather than miss work for weeks or months without pay while you experience pregnancy complications or childbirth. And if you pay for your own disability insurance, the benefits aren't taxable.

Length of Short-Term Disability Coverage

Before you buy short-term disability, investigate what exactly what the policy covers in terms of pregnancy benefits. For example, if you are on bed rest due to pregnancy complications for three months before your due date, will your coverage kick in so that you get a portion of your income during that time? How many weeks of benefits will you get after childbirth to allow you to heal and spend time with your baby? Many policies cover you for six weeks; eight weeks after a C-section, since you need more time to heal after surgery.

You may be also able to get your benefits extended after childbirth. If you have a postpartum disorder or childbirth complications that leave you unable to work for more than six to eight weeks afterward, you should continue to be able to receive benefits. You will typically need a note from your doctor stating that it is medically necessary that you stay home or in the hospital.

When to Purchase Short-Term Disability Coverage

In most cases, you have to sign up for short-term disability before you become pregnant if you want the coverage to extend to the pregnancy. However, if you sign up during the pregnancy, you can still be covered for unexpected illnesses or accidents that are unrelated to your condition.

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