Short Term Disability Michigan Lawyers
In Michigan, there is currently no law that guarantees short-term disability insurance payments to citizens. Because of this, it becomes even more important for workers to receive disability insurance benefits from their employer. Short-term disability insurance is highly beneficial for sick or injured workers. If you need assistance with a short-term disability benefits claim, Lipton Law is here for you. We will help you explore your options and ensure that you get the treatment you need. To schedule a free consultation with us, please call 248-557-1688 today.
What Are Short-Term Disability Benefits?
Short-term disability benefits, or STD, is a voluntary form of benefits that may or may not be available for disabled adults through their employer. For those who are temporarily unable to work, benefits for temporary disabilities can be highly beneficial. However, Michigan employers are not required by state law to offer these benefits. Federal law also does not require these benefits. Sometimes, workers without coverage can find financial relief through other sources, such as the Family Medical Leave Act or workers’ compensation.
STD benefits differ from long-term disability insurance in many ways. The biggest differences involve the length of benefits, elimination period, benefits amount, cost of coverage, and where you can get coverage. We outline these traits of STD below.
- The average length of time for benefits: Depending on the policy, the length of time for STD benefits can be three, six, or twelve months on average.
- Elimination period: Anywhere from 7 to 30 days. However, 14 days is the most common period of time.
- Benefits amount: 40-70% of your lost wages.
- Cost of coverage: 1-3% of your pre-tax salary.
- Where to obtain coverage: You can obtain this through private company plans, supplemental coverage, or private coverage.
Michigan Short-Term Disability Laws
Even though Michigan laws do not require private employers to provide STD benefits, it’s important for injured Michigan residents to be able to pay their bills. Thus, there are other ways to obtain short-term financial assistance if you become sick or injured.
For example, workers’ compensation is often considered a type of short-term disability insurance. This is because it gives cash benefits to Michigan residents when they are too sick or injured to do their jobs.
Additionally, the Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act covers both injured workers and their employers. The Act requires employers in Michigan to have a workers’ compensation policy. It must provide wage replacement benefits, medical bill coverage, and rehabilitation benefits to disabled workers. In this way, the employer is no longer liable for the worker’s injury.
Other options for receiving benefits as a disabled person in Michigan include the following programs.
- Social security disability benefits
- Michigan state disability assistance for state employees
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Supplemental security income (SSI)
- STD disability offered to Michigan state police employees
Filing for Disability in Michigan
It’s no surprise that a sudden injury, illness, or disability can make anyone panic. Luckily, there are several ways to file for cash assistance from disability programs. One way is through the Social Security Administration. However, in order to receive cash benefits from social security disability insurance, you must be disabled for at least five months.
Many people don’t have enough savings for those five months. This is where your employer’s policy comes in handy. While these plans are voluntarily provided, they are regulated by ERISA, or the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA allows employees to sue for what they are owed under their employer’s plan. However, employees must have opted into the policy before their disability occurred.
ERISA requires plan administrators to act in good faith with their decisions based on medical evidence. If you end up filing a lawsuit to recover what you’re owed, the court will personally review that medical evidence. If the court finds that you have a legitimate medical condition that requires disability benefits, then you will receive those benefits. This is why it is so important to work with an attorney from the very beginning.
Who Qualifies for Short-Term Disability in Michigan?
This largely depends on whether or not your employer has short-term disability insurance. If they do not, you will not be able to receive these benefits through state disability assistance. You will likely need to explore your eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. You can also look at Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It’s important to keep in mind that claims and appeals procedures for these health insurance programs vary from state to state. That’s why it’s important to explore your options with a qualified attorney. Qualifying conditions include the following.
- Musculoskeletal diseases
- Mental health problems
How to Apply for Short Term Disability in Michigan
You can file for disability in a number of ways in Michigan. Below, we outline the simplest ways to apply regardless of where you live in the state.
- Apply online: For SSDI applicants, you can apply for the federal social security program through the SSA’s website. Keep a note of your application number, as you will need it to submit your application and track its status.
- Go to your local field office: If you live near an SSA office, you can make an appointment to apply for benefits in person.
- Apply via phone: You can also call the SSA at 800-772-1213. If you live in a remote area, or if your disability makes it difficult for you to move around, this is a great option.
How Long Is Short Term Disability in Michigan?
Usually, benefits begin to pay out within two weeks of determining your eligibility. You will receive these benefits for anywhere from 13 to 26 weeks. These benefits continue either until you can go back to work or until your benefits run out.
Why Was My Short-Term Disability Claim Denied?
Claim denials can happen for a variety of reasons. Below, we list the most common reasons for denial.
- Your condition is not covered. Some policies cover more than others. It’s important to review the terms of your policy before applying for benefits in order to avoid a denial.
- You did not provide enough medical evidence. Insurers want to make sure that you are unable to work if you receive benefits. Therefore, you must provide adequate evidence in order to be eligible for benefits.
- The insurance company suspects you’re lying. Even if you’re telling the truth, an insurance company will go to great lengths to avoid paying a claim. If they think your actions contradict what you wrote on your application, they may deny the claim.
How to Appeal a Disability Denial in Michigan
After you receive a denial for the initial application, you and your attorney can begin the appeals process. The appeals process occurs during what is called the “reconsideration stage.” You must submit your appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial letter. A new examiner will then review your appeal and determine whether or not you are eligible.
You can also request a hearing before an administrative law judge. Your attorney will present your case before the judge. Then, the judge will either rule favorably or unfavorably. If the judge’s decision is unfavorable, you can reach out to the Appeals Council. If this still does not produce a favorable outcome, you can file a subsequent appeal in a U.S District Court or beyond.
How Can a Disability Lawyer Help With My Appeal?
While you don’t need a lawyer necessarily, it is very beneficial to have one for these cases. This is especially true if you need to file an appeal. One of the most important things we can do during your case is to gather medical records and evidence of your disability. We can also review those records and determine which ones are relevant to your case. It’s important to understand how to use your treatment history to your advantage. An insurance lawyer can be invaluable in this way.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for Disability in Michigan?
If you are deemed eligible after your initial application, you should only have to wait around two weeks for your benefits to kick in. However, if you need to appeal the decision, you might have to wait as long as 14 months for a hearing. If the judge approves your application, you should start receiving benefits shortly after. If they do not approve your application, you should ask your attorney about the outlook of your case.
Can Your Employer Contact You While on Short Term Disability?
They can contact you, but they cannot ask you to work. Employers can ask you questions about your benefits or about work-related matters, but they cannot ask you to perform your work duties.
Can You Be Fired While on Short-Term Disability in Michigan?
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it completely illegal to fire employees due to their disability. However, STD insurance does not provide job protection or a guarantee that you will have the same position when you return. If you’re wondering about exactly what your employer is allowed to do, we recommend speaking with an attorney.
Can You Collect Workers Comp and Short Term Disability at the Same Time?
Generally, no. However, short-term disability often does not cover work-related illness or injury. You must file for workers’ compensation if your disability is work-related. Fortunately, employees can sometimes receive STD benefits if their workers’ comp claim is disputed.
Speak With a Short-Term Disability Attorney Today
At Lipton Law, our experienced insurance denial attorneys have extensive experience handling insurance claims and bad faith insurance practices. We understand that it can be frustrating to face a claim denial when you need disability benefits to help with various expenses. After all, that’s what they’re intended for when a worker becomes ill. You have a right to financial assistance if you have a valid claim. To schedule a free consultation and establish an attorney-client relationship with us, please call 248-557-1688. We handle cases from all over the state of Michigan, including from Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Oak Park, and Sterling Heights.