Short Term Disability & FMLA Can Work Together

It can be difficult understanding the differences between a Short-Term Disability (STD) plan and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If you’re injured on the job, you need to know what each will mean to you and your family.

Think of the FMLA as a job-security policy.

As long as your employer maintains a complement of 50 employees or more, every U.S. worker has the right to these benefits.

Employees who are injured on the job, have given birth, have adopted a child, or who are caring for a family member who is disabled are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid – that being the keyword – leave from the job. You can return to your original job without penalty.

Those 12 weeks can be used all at once or over the course of a year, and verified medical information is required.

Bear in mind that you can only use FMLA if you have been employed with a company for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that time. Some employers may require that you give 30 days’ notice.

If you’re concerned about not having a paycheck coming in and need to be paid for your time off due to an injury, STD is your friend. You can receive STD benefits from your company insurance, or you can purchase a separate private policy.

STD is not a federal requirement, but it may be something you need, especially if you work at a high-risk job. Depending on the type of plan you purchase, STD will reimburse you for the partial or full amount of income lost due to your time off.

However this won’t apply when you’re looking after a family member, as FMLA may. It also doesn’t guarantee your job.

The best advice is to invest in a sound STD policy, but know when the FMLA can complement or replace it.

Act Now to Buy Health Insurance for the Coming Year

Before you rush to purchase or renew your health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the ACA website, why not consider talking to an independent insurance agent?

Your local health insurance agent can help you choose a plan that fits your needs with access to the doctors you rely on. And all at no additional cost to you. With an independent agent, you pay no more than you would on the ACA website.

Your agent offers many benefits over going it alone: He or she is your local authority on various health plans, and by knowing your unique situation, can identify the plan that’s right for you.

All private plans cover essential health benefits like hospitalization, pregnancy and prescription drugs, and some may include additional coverages.

ACA open enrollment began November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. You must purchase health insurance to avoid a penalty of up to two percent of your income or up to $325 annually. If you or your children qualify for Medicaid or CHIP under Federal guidelines, you can apply any time.

If you miss the February 15 deadline, but you experience certain life events such as marriage, divorce, or losing a job, you still may be eligible for a Special Enrollment period.

Don’t rush to buy online only to find that your favorite doctor doesn’t accept that plan: Begin the new year with the advice of a reliable insurance agent who can help you navigate this complex decision. For your peace of mind.