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Aug31

Illinois Short Term Disability

One of our employees is unable to work for up to 12 weeks due to a heart attack. In

Illinois, is she entitled to disability pay under any state or federal law?

Illinois workers have no state or federal law guaranteeing them income during a short-term disability, but you may have some other options.

Often an employer’s group insurance may actually have short-term disability payments included. Check with your benefits coordinator. Sometimes those plans require that the employee have used up their vacation time and sick leave. In some group insurance plans, short-term disability is an option that you can add on to your existing plan, usually with an additional fee.

Your employee would be able to get both medical benefits and disability pay through worker’s compensation, if she were injured at work. But, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

Other options may be available. If the employee can’t work because of a doctor-certified “serious medical condition,” she may be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. The leave is unpaid, but job-protected, and can be used for up to 12 weeks.

The employee must qualify by showing that she has a doctor-certified “serious medical condition,” but it sounds like that will be no problem in this case.  

Five states and Puerto Rico have passed laws requiring that workers get short-term disability payments. Of the five, California guarantees as much as 52 weeks of payments. Workers get 55% of their usual paycheck, up to $728 weekly.

The remaining states that offer short term disability payments are New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. Rhode Island Workers get payments of 60% or more for as many as 30 weeks, and the payments increase with each dependent. Rhode Island provides a disability insurance paid for by payroll deductions.

The rest offer payments for up to a half-year, or 26 weeks. In New Jersey, workers get 66% of their pay. In New York it is 50%. And in Hawaii, employees receive 58% of their salary. Most states mandate a one-week waiting period, unpaid, before payments begin.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 6:22 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management, Benefits, Compensation, Hiring and Staffing, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws, Termination, Workplace Management.
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4 Responses to “Illinois Short Term Disability”

  1. Brian Beecher Says:

    On March 7 of this year I had a fall at home in which I fractured both right ankle and right wrist. I am in recovery, but have been unable to work for more than two months. I was working part-time thru a staffing agency which doesn’t offer benefits of this type, unlike many permanent employers. In the state of IL, are there any avenues of receiving short-term disability payments to cover rent and other fixed expenses?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Brian, we’re so sorry to hear about your accident. Unfortunately, Illinois doesn’t have any short term disability benefits. If you will be out of work for 5 months or more, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Otherwise, the only options that we can suggest are TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families, formerly called welfare) and food stamps. Churches or civic organizations in your area might also be able to help.

  3. Marjorie Says:

    This concerns an employee who has chronic migraine headaches. The employee receives intravenous treatments sometimes daily. The employee has exhausted vacation and sick time,FMLA, and has been taking short term medical leaves as needed. Because of the frequency of migraines, the employee is off from work 5 to 6 months per year. Leave requests are approved retroactively as the date(s) and duration of illness cannot be anticipated. This has been going on for several years. Does the employer have any options under these circumstances.

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Marjorie! If the employer is a business in Illinois, there may very well be options. The employee has exhausted all available time including vacation, sick leave and FMLA. Migraine headaches this severe are usually a disability under ADA, and the employee can request unpaid time off as a reasonable accommodation under ADA. However, an employer has the legal right to deny any accommodation that is an undue hardship. Many employers would find having an employee absent 5 months of the year, intermittently, an undue hardship. (We will say that this is very unusual for migraines. Does the employee have a migraine 50% of the time? Can the employee not take part of the day off for an IV treatment, and then report to work afterward? It is possible that this employee is abusing your short term disability program.)
    Some state or local government agencies give workers an amazing amount of paid short term disability. We are aware of one state where government employees are given up to 2 years of paid short term disability. If this employee happens to be a government employee, and the employer has the policy of granting such generous leave, there is little or nothing that can be done about this. The employee would be entitled to use the short term disability benefit, as any other worker would.
    In some cases, when FMLA recertification occurs, you can attach a calendar to the form indicating the days the employee took off in the past year. You can require the doctor to sign off indicating that this leave pattern is consistent with the employees condition (or not consistent with the employees condition.) This is one of the best strategies for avoiding FMLA abuse. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

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