Short-Term Disability for a Pregnancy

In this article...
  • Learn how short-term disability after pregnancy can help you manage finances, supplement your savings and clear your mind to focus on your growing family.

Bringing a child into the world is a miraculous event, and the adjustments new moms must make after delivery are life-changing. Having short-term disability after pregnancy eases the household’s financial burden, allowing families to focus on their newest member. 

What Is Short-Term Disability Insurance?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data, about 40% of workers in the private sector had access to short-term disability insurance. Short-term disability (STD) insurance, most commonly offered through an employer but also available for individuals, pays a set percentage of your income (usually between 60%–100%) in the event you become disabled for a short period of time. The maximum number of weeks or months you can collect benefits varies by plan and is an important factor to consider when shopping for STD insurance. 

Premium payments are often deducted from payroll as a pre-tax expense, which helps reduce your annual taxable income. Beneficiaries can use short-term disability to supplement other types of insurance, such as an accident or critical illness insurance policy, provided the condition falls within plan guidelines. Learn how short-term disability can protect your income independence following pregnancy.

What Conditions Are Covered by Short-Term Disability Insurance?

A valuable safeguard for any employee or individual, STD insurance covers a variety of conditions that may result in an inability to work for a short period of time, usually six months or less. Beneficiaries must be evaluated by a licensed medical professional who attests that the individual is unable to work. Common situations in which short-term disability may apply include: 

  • Accidents (off-the-job)
  • Acute illnesses
  • Recovery from surgery

Short-Term Disability and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know 

If you’re already pregnant and not enrolled in a short-term disability insurance plan, you may want to discuss your options with a licensed insurance agent or your human resources department. Like any other insurance, a claim must be filed to receive benefits, which will include important information about your current health and ability to work. Many plans will not approve a claim for STD benefits if you enroll after you’ve become pregnant because the pregnancy would be a preexisting (or existing prior to your enrollment) condition. 

It’s also important to note that while a policy has a benefit limit, such as six months for example, women who have uncomplicated labor often do not qualify for the maximum duration. This is because the key to accessing your STD benefits is proving your inability to work based on your medical condition. Short-term disability pregnancy benefits are usually exhausted by 12 weeks. 

Is Short-Term Disability the Same As Maternity Leave? 

Short-term disability and maternity leave are not the same, although they may run concurrently. A form of insurance that provides compensation up to 100% of your income during a qualifying condition, short-term disability typically has a date-based benefit limit, such as 12 weeks from the date of delivery, for which it will pay out benefits. 

A broader term, maternity leave refers to the policies and benefits associated with your employer’s benefits package (or your own, if you're self-employed). Women anticipating delivery and recovery need to become familiar with all benefits applicable to both their organization and the state in which they reside. 

Maternity leave may include access to short-term disability benefits along with company-paid leave, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and state-subsidized leave where applicable. For example, California offers State Disability Insurance that may provide benefits before and after birth. 

Unpaid Leave: Pregnancy, Bonding Benefits & FMLA

Expecting moms do their best to save and prepare for their little one’s arrival. Short-term disability following pregnancy extends your financial wellness by postponing the need to use savings until after STD benefits are exhausted. This means you are better prepared to take additional time, which is potentially unpaid, to recover mentally and physically. 

Family bonding policies through an employer are sometimes paid at the employer’s expense but are more commonly an unpaid benefit that gives employees extra time to redefine their family structure and settle into new routines. 

Protections under FMLA ensure that your job, or a similar role if your job is eliminated while on leave, is secure. FMLA provides up to 3 months of unpaid leave provided you have worked a minimum number of hours in a 12-month span. Spouses or partners may also qualify to take FMLA after the birth of a baby or the addition of a new family member via adoption. 

Short-Term Disability Benefits Mothers

Many pregnant women may benefit from short-term disability to alleviate income disruptions that occur while unable to work. Guaranteed income while recovering from pregnancy, usually in the form of direct deposits, provides peace of mind and convenience. Combined with other forms of leave, STD benefits help moms focus on recovery, bond with family, and get adjusted to their new normal.