Short-term disability benefits aren't available from Social Security or elsewhere in the federal government. If you're disabled less than a year, you can't collect Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). But it's generally easier to qualify medically for state disability than it is for Social Security disability anyway.
A few states do have programs that pay short-term disability benefits when you can't work because of a temporary disability. Each state pays a different benefit amount (typically about two-thirds of your pre-disability salary). The states also differ in how long you can receive benefits (a maximum of six to twelve months).
Here are the states that offer paid short-term disability benefits.
California has a short-term disability insurance (SDI) program that provides up to a year of benefits. But you might be able to get SDI for longer than a year if you can return to work part-time and receive partial benefits (this stretches out the money available to you).
If you qualify for SDI, you'll receive 60-70% of the wages you earned during your base period (the 5-18 months before you became disabled). The minimum weekly SDI benefit amount is $50, and the maximum is $1,620 (in 2023).
California workers fund the state SDI program through employee payroll deductions. You're only eligible to receive benefits if, in the previous year, you earned at least $300 (on which SDI taxes were paid).
New York requires most employers to offer short-term disability benefits through its disability benefits (DB) law. Employers can purchase private insurance or self-insure, but the plan must be approved.
New York's SDI program pays 50% of your average weekly wages, up to $170 per week (in 2023). But there's a 7-day waiting period before your benefits will begin. You can receive New York SDI benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks.
To be eligible for coverage, you must have worked for at least four weeks for your employer. But disability benefits are also available if you claim or receive unemployment benefits through a special state disability fund.
New Jersey provides up to 26 weeks of paid benefits through its temporary disability insurance (TDI) program. Employers can choose an insurance plan offered by the state or opt to pay for a private TDI policy.
To qualify for benefits, you must have worked 20 weeks earning at least $260 each week, or have earned at least $13,000 in the base year (a 12-month period during the last 18 months).
New Jersey TDI pays 85% of your average weekly salary, up to a maximum amount that changes yearly. For 2023, the maximum is $1,025 per week.
Rhode Island has a temporary disability insurance (TDI) program that provides up to 30 weeks of paid short-term disability benefits to qualified employees. To be eligible for TDI benefits, you must be unable to work due to disability for at least seven consecutive days and have sufficient earnings during your base period.
Rhode Island's weekly TDI benefit amount is 4.62% of the highest earning quarter of your base year. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $121, up to a maximum of $1043 (in 2023). If you have dependent children, you might get an additional dependency allowance.
Employees in Hawaii are entitled to 26 weeks of temporary disability insurance (TDI) benefits. Employers in Hawaii must either buy a group TDI policy from an insurance company, be self-insured, or provide enough sick leave to equal the state's TDI requirements.
To be eligible for the temporary disability benefits, you must have worked at least 20 hours per week for at least 14 weeks (for your employer) and you must have been paid at least $400 per week in the year before your disability began. TDI benefits in Hawaii pay at least 58% of an employee's wages (up to a maximum of $765) starting on the eighth day of disability.
You can handle most disputes over short-term or temporary disability benefits by talking to your state's employment or labor department. But if you work in one of the above states and you're denied paid disability leave benefits and can't get help from the state or your employer, talk to a disability lawyer.
Many states, like California, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii, now offer some sort of paid leave when you're expecting a new child or taking care of a family member. Learn more about these state paid leave programs.
Updated July 27, 2023