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Short-Term Disability for Mental Health

Caring for your mental health is an important part of wellness. Having a short-term disability insurance plan in place can help cover you if an injury or illness puts you out of work for a brief period. Not all short-term disability plans cover mental illness, but they can assist you if something else happens and you require a temporary break.

In some cases, you may be able to receive benefits from short-term disability for mental health. This depends upon the company and the plan you choose. Aflac does not currently offer short-term support for mental illness, but we are working on a solution that helps support consumers looking for mental health coverage.

The specific mental illnesses eligible for short-term disability coverage vary vastly from company to company, but clinical depression is one of the conditions that could be more likely to receive coverage. This is because clinical depression can become debilitating and make it difficult to perform basic life tasks like getting up and doing daily work or even just taking a shower.1

Anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also impact one’s ability to work and may allow them to qualify for benefits.2 Coverage largely depends on each company and the benefits available.

While these mental illnesses may not be covered by short-term disability plans, you still have options. Sometimes, a period of rest and professional help may be needed before returning to work. Aflac is currently working on ways to help support mental health challenges.

How Does Short-term Disability Insurance Work?

Short-term disability insurance is designed to help you recover if you sustain an illness or injury that temporarily puts you out of work.3

Every short-term disability plan works differently, but Aflac Short-Term Disability Insurance is available through employers. Essentially, your employer may offer several plans and the premium can be deducted from your paycheck if you opt to apply for coverage.

Then, if a covered short-term disability strikes, you can take time off work to recover and receive cash benefits to help replace your income. These cash benefits can be used to help pay for medical bills or everyday expenses like groceries or rent.

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Short-Term Disability Insurance Coverage

Short-term disability coverage varies from plan to plan. In general, you can receive benefits for a covered medical condition that negatively affects your ability to work for a short period. Short-term disability has more to do with the time you are unable to work, but there are a few stipulations around what isn’t covered.

For example, it’s uncommon for a short-term disability insurance plan to cover the loss of an occupational license, an inability to work due to a war, an injury during a riot or protest, self-harm or for any time spent in prison or jail.4 It’s also uncommon for short-term disability insurance to pay benefits for any pre-existing conditions.5

Does Short-Term Disability Cover Mental Health?

It’s not unusual to question if you can use short-term disability coverage for mental health conditions. If severe enough, depression could qualify as a short-term disability at some companies.6 Depression may be a qualifying condition if a doctor gives a formal evaluation, and the patient meets specific criteria.6

How short-term disability and mental illness work together largely depends on the plan you choose to pursue.

Short-term disability is helpful for momentary injuries and illnesses, but there are other supplemental insurance plans that can help prepare you for other events. Here are a few options you can apply for ahead of time to help protect you from the unexpected:

Aflac Short-Term Disability Insurance

Ask your employer about Aflac Short-Term Disability insurance. This product is available through worksite payroll deduction only. Short-term disability insurance with benefits for mental health conditions can be very helpful. Since there are stipulations around pre-existing conditions, it’s important to chat with an agent as soon as possible to learn more about plans and ways you can best provide care for yourself.

Gathering information about your situation is a wonderful first step. Let us help you find the right support and see if short-term disability insurance is the best option to help meet your needs. It’s helpful to remember that you have options.

Still have questions?

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