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U.S. Short-Term Disability Insurance Laws

Short-term disability is a health insurance option that is available through many employers' group health insurance plans. Short-term disability will pay a percentage of current salary for a short period if an individual becomes injured, sick or temporarily disabled and is unable to work. In addition to health insurance benefits, there are some states with laws that regulate short-term disability leave from employers.


Most short-term disability plans provide benefits for up to 26 weeks depending on the type of coverage that is provided by employers. States that have their own mandates for short-term disability may have different requirements. Currently, there is no federal law that requires employers to offer short-term disability benefits to their employees.


The state of California has the most generous type of short-term disability benefits. The short-term disability plan in the state provides an employee with 55 percent of his salary with a maximum of $728 per week. There is a one week waiting period before benefits are paid and the benefit period can last up to 52 weeks.

New York and Hawaii

The short-term disability plan for the state of New York requires employers to provide employees with 50 percent of their salary. The benefit period will last for 26 weeks. The short-term disability plan for Hawaii is nearly the same as the one for New York. In Hawaii, employers are required to provide employees 58 percent of their salary for 26 weeks.

New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has a short-term disability plan that requires two-thirds of salary to be paid to an employee by his employer. There is a one week waiting period and the length of the benefit period is 26 weeks. One additional benefit of the plan is that after three weeks of disability an employee will be paid for the waiting period as well.

Rhode Island

The short-term disability for the state of Rhode Island has a one week waiting period and pays benefits for a maximum of 30 weeks. The benefit amount an employer needs to pay is calculated based on a percentage that an employee earns for a base period of time. An employee will be paid for the waiting period after four weeks of disability. Payments will also increase depending on the number of children that are under the age of 18.


Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.