How to Apply for Maternity Disability
- 1). Research your employer's insurance and disability coverage information by contacting its human resources department. If disability is part of your employer's plan, confirm that maternity disability is included. Coverage varies by state and company. Most short-term plans provide up to 70 percent of income for three to six months.
- 2). Determine if you have worked long enough with the company to acquire benefits. Some companies have a preliminary waiting period for new hires before benefits begin.
- 3). Assess the need for supplemental maternity disability coverage if employer does carry disability coverage. Some companies offer group disability, which covers up to 60 percent of salary, but is considered taxable income, thus reducing take-home pay. To extend coverage to all or 100 percent, a supplemental policy can be acquired that pays nontaxable income.
- 4). Acquire an individual policy prior to the pregnancy if your employer doesn't provide disability. Most insurance companies consider pregnancy a "pre-existing condition" and will deny coverage if applying when already pregnant.
- 5). Meet with an insurance agent to discuss policies and options. Study the details of different plans before making your selection. Plans may include a time limit or require that numerous conditions be met regarding your illness before coverage is ensured. For example, if you had 20 weeks of bed rest due to cervical incompetence during a previous pregnancy, research a plan that provides long-term coverage.
- 6). Select a maternity disability policy and wait approximately three to six weeks for approval and confirmation of coverage.
- 7). Forward any required paperwork and policy information to your employer to ensure benefits are honored. Once pregnant, keep your employer informed with doctor's notes detailing your pregnancy-related condition.
- 8). Keep track of how long you have been on disability during/after your pregnancy in order to prepare financially for additional time you may be out after coverage ends.
- 9). Know your rights. As dictated by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1964, an employer must treat you the same as any other disabled worker, which includes keeping your job open while you're on leave and altering responsibilities to accommodate your pregnancy-related condition. Also, temporary disability benefits offered to other employees must also be offered to those with pregnancy-related disabilities.