Ensuring Protection: Exploring the Best Short-Term Disability Insurance for Federal Employees

How to Find the Best Short-Term Disability Insurance for Federal Employees. 

If you are a federal employee, you may think that you are well protected in case of a temporary illness or injury that prevents you from working.

After all, you have access to paid sick leave and disability retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

However, you may be surprised to learn that these benefits may not be enough to cover your expenses and maintain your lifestyle while you recover. That’s why you may want to consider getting a private short-term disability insurance policy to supplement your federal benefits and provide you with peace of mind.

In this post, I will explain what short-term disability insurance is, why federal employees need it, and how to find the best policy for your situation.

We will also provide some contact information, services, and customer reviews of some of the top short-term disability insurance companies for federal employees.

Short-Term Disability Insurance
Photo Courtesy: verywellhealth.com

 

What is Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Short-term disability insurance is a type of insurance that pays you a monthly benefit if you are unable to work due to a covered illness or injury.

The benefit amount is usually a percentage of your pre-disability income, up to a certain limit. The benefit period is the length of time that you can receive the benefit, which typically ranges from three to six months.

The elimination period is the waiting time before the benefit starts, which usually varies from 14 to 30 days.

Short-term disability insurance can help you cover your essential expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, car payments, and medical bills, while you are out of work. It can also help you avoid dipping into your savings or retirement funds, or accumulating debt.

 

Why do Federal Employees Need Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Federal employees may assume that they are adequately covered by their federal benefits in case of a short-term disability. However, there are some limitations and drawbacks to relying solely on these benefits.

First, federal employees are eligible for up to 30 days of paid sick leave per year, which may not be enough to cover a longer period of disability.

Moreover, if you use up all your sick leave, you may have to use your annual leave or unpaid leave, which could affect your vacation plans or income.

Second, federal employees can apply for disability retirement benefits through FERS, which is similar to long-term disability insurance.

disability-insurance
Photo Courtesy: memberbenefits.nysut.org

 

However, to qualify for FERS disability retirement, you must meet the following criteria:
  • You must have at least 18 months of federal civilian service.
  • You must be unable to perform “useful and efficient service” in your current position due to a medical condition or injury.
  • You must apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits before applying for FERS disability retirement.
  • You must apply for FERS disability retirement before separating from service or within one year of separation.

Even if you meet these criteria, you may not receive the full amount of FERS disability retirement benefits. The benefit amount depends on your age, salary, length of service, and SSDI benefits.

For the first year of disability, you will receive 60% of your high-3 average salary, minus 100% of your SSDI benefit. After the first year, you will receive 40% of your high-3 average salary, minus 60% of your SSDI benefit. Additionally, your FERS disability retirement benefits are taxable, unlike private disability insurance benefits.

As you can see, relying on FERS disability retirement alone may not provide you with enough income to replace your lost wages and cover your expenses.

That’s why getting a private short-term disability insurance policy can be a smart move to supplement your federal benefits and protect your income.

How to Choose Short-Term Disability Insurance

 

Top Short-Term Disability Insurers for Federal Employees: Contact, Services & Reviews

To help you find the best short-term disability insurance policy for your situation, we have compiled a list of some of the top insurance companies that offer this type of coverage for federal employees.

We have also provided their contact information, services, and customer reviews, based on our web search results.

Northwestern Mutual

  • Contact information: You can call them at 1-866-950-4644, email them at online@northwesternmutual.com, or visit their website at www.northwesternmutual.com.
  • Services: They offer short-term disability insurance policies with benefit amounts up to $12,000 per month, benefit periods from three to six months, and elimination periods from 14 to 30 days. They also offer non-cancelable, guaranteed renewable, partial disability, residual disability, COLA, and waiver of premium options. They have an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, the highest financial strength rating.
  • Customer reviews: They have a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot, based on 1,181 reviews. Most customers praise their customer service, claims process, and financial advice.

Ameritas Life Insurance

  • Contact information: You can call them at 1-800-745-1112, email them at group@ameritas.com, or visit their website at www.ameritas.com.
  • Services: They offer short-term disability insurance policies with benefit amounts up to $6,000 per month, benefit periods from three to six months, and elimination periods from 14 to 30 days. They also offer guaranteed renewable, partial disability, residual disability, and waiver of premium options. They have an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best, the third-highest financial strength rating.
  • Customer reviews: They have a 4.1 out of 5-star rating on Consumer Affairs, based on 67 reviews. Most customers appreciate their affordable rates, flexible plans, and easy enrollment.

Aflac

  • Contact information: You can call them at 1-800-992-3522, email them at customerservice@aflac.com, or visit their website at www.aflac.com.
  • Services: They offer short-term disability insurance policies with benefit amounts up to $6,000 per month, benefit periods from three to six months, and elimination periods from 14 to 30 days. They also offer guaranteed renewable, partial disability, and waiver of premium options. They have an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best, the second-highest financial strength rating.
  • Customer reviews: They have a 3.9 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot, based on 1,353 reviews. Most customers commend their fast claims, friendly agents, and helpful benefits.

Conclusion

Short-term disability insurance is a valuable protection for federal employees who may face a temporary loss of income due to a covered illness or injury.

It can supplement your federal benefits and provide you with peace of mind.

However, finding the best policy for your situation can be challenging, as you have to consider various factors, such as the benefit amount, benefit period, elimination period, coverage options, and premium.

You also have to compare different insurance companies and policies to find the best value for your money.

 

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