1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What is Disability Insurance?


Are you unable to work because of illness? If so, you may be eligible to receive disability insurance benefits.

Disability Insurance

California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have state sponsored disability programs. These programs are typically short-term and the benefit amounts are low. In New York, for example, the weekly benefit amount is 50% of the employee's average weekly wage, up to $170 for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Your employer may also provide additional short term disability coverarge in these states as well as in the rest of the country. So, if you are unable to work, your first step should be to inquire as to what insurance your employer provides. If you have your own disability coverage, file a claim with that insurance company as well.

Social Security Disability (SSDI)

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.

In general, monthly cash benefits are paid to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. The application process takes 60 - 90 days. Then there's a sixth month waiting period before you can collect a check.

Purchasing Disability Insurance

Consider purchasing disability insurance while you're healthy. First, check with your employer to see what coverage they provide, then ask if you can purchase supplemental coverage. Calculate if the benefits you'll get will be enough to maintain your lifestyle. If they're not, consider purchasing personal disability insurance.

Please note: This is general information on and disability insurance. Contact your employer or state labor department for a determination on your specific circumstances.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.