Long-Term & Short-Term Disability Attorney in San Jose, California
When life throws a curveball in the form of an illness or injury that prevents you from working, it's comforting to know that there are safety nets in place. In the state of California, these safeguards come in the form of short-term and long-term disability insurance. These vital programs provide partial wage replacement if you're unable to work due to non-work-related health issues. While the state offers a robust short-term disability program, it falls short when it comes to long-term disability benefits. That's where private disability insurance policies step in, offering both short-term and long-term disability benefits.
Filing disability insurance claims is a complex process, filled with intricate details and legal jargon. But you're not alone. Law Offices of Joel P. Waelty is here to help. Based in San Jose, California, this reputable law firm serves clients throughout the Silicon Valley—extending as far south as Monterey and as far north as Oakland.
Attorney Joel Waelty brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in federal and state laws governing LTD policies. He's dedicated to ensuring your rights are upheld throughout the claims process, whether you're filing a claim, appealing a denial, or pursuing a lump-sum buyout. With his guidance, you can confidently traverse the path of disability insurance claims, knowing you're in capable hands.
Understanding Short-Term Disability Insurance in California
In the event of a non-work-related injury or illness that temporarily hinders you from working, California's short-term disability insurance (SDI) program serves as a lifeline. The state-mandated program provides 60-70% of your wages, ensuring you have financial support during your recovery period.
All employees in California are required to contribute towards the SDI program through payroll deductions. If you find yourself unable to work due to a disability, you can collect weekly benefits until you're ready to return to work or the benefits expire. To be eligible for these benefits, you should have received at least $300 in wages during your "base period," and a doctor must certify that you're unable to work.
Your disability doesn't have to prevent you from doing any type of work; you just have to be unable to perform your usual job duties. For instance, if you're pregnant, you can generally receive SDI two to four weeks before your due date and for four weeks after giving birth (or six weeks for a C-section). Even recovery from elective surgeries is covered, as long as your doctor certifies that you're disabled.
Exploring Long-Term Disability Insurance Options
While California's short-term disability program provides essential support for temporary disabilities, it's crucial to explore other options for long-term disability benefits since the state doesn't offer a specific long-term disability program. Long-term disability insurance (LTD) becomes particularly beneficial if a severe illness or injury prevents you from working for an extended period.
Although only about 35% of American workers currently have access to employer-sponsored long-term disability insurance coverage, it's a valuable resource for those who do. LTD benefits typically kick in when sick leave and short-term disability benefits are exhausted, providing individuals with approximately 60% of their regular pay.
The Role of Private Disability Insurance Policies
Private disability insurance policies can be obtained either through an employer, professional group, or association. These policies offer both short-term and long-term disability benefits, providing financial support during periods of disability.
However, it's vital to understand the specifics of these policies. Every policy will have its own eligibility criteria, waiting periods, coverage duration, and cost. It's essential to thoroughly read through your policy and understand what it covers, how long the benefits last, and how much it costs before you find yourself needing to use it.
Interaction With Other Disability Programs
In addition to private disability insurance, individuals in California may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. However, qualifying for these programs can often be complicated, requiring a careful navigation of complex eligibility requirements.
If you're already receiving SDI benefits, any sick pay, PTO, or holiday pay that you receive will be subtracted from your SDI benefit amount. However, receiving paid vacation benefits will not affect your SDI payment. If you apply for and are approved for SSDI benefits, the state may deduct your disability benefits from your SDI payment.
Appealing Denials and Protecting Your Rights
There may be instances where your disability insurance claim is denied or your benefits are reduced or canceled after initial approval. This could happen due to various reasons such as incomplete documentation, disputes over medical evidence, or disagreements on the severity of the disability. In such cases, it's crucial to seek immediate legal assistance to understand your rights and explore options for appealing the decision or resolving the issue. The guidance and knowledge of a qualified attorney can help increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Long-Term & Short-Term Disability Attorney Serving San Jose, California
Law Offices of Joel P. Waelty, based in San Jose, California, has extensive experience in handling disability insurance cases. Attorney Joel Waelty can help you assemble the necessary documentation and testimony to substantiate an appeal. If required, he can also initiate a lawsuit, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process. With the right guidance and support, you can ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.