With any new job comes paperwork and lots of decisions about your benefits package. One of the most important benefit decisions is what type of health care coverage you need. Another is if you need disability insurance or not. I went through this process about two years ago and thought very little of my option to have short term disability.
Who Needs Short Term Disability Coverage?
When I was first setting up my new job benefits, I easily decided what health care coverage I wanted but was pretty indifferent as to the short and long term disability coverage. I am in my 20’s and pretty healthy. What could possibly happen with my health that I need more job/income protection than my PTO would cover? My thought process was that those who had existing chronic health problems were really the only ones who needed it. I was wrong. I am REALLY glad my other half convinced me that it would be safer to just go ahead and get it.
Why I Ended Up Needing The Short Term Disability
After becoming an RN, I discovered that I inherited my grandpa’s horrible feet. Bad feet and having 40+ years left of a career that you need good feet for was a bit of a problem. Turns out I had to have surgery. This wasn’t a simple little procedure either. I had to be complete non-weight bearing (meaning no walking or pressure on my right foot) for an entire six weeks! I then had to take another four weeks to gradually build up tolerance for walking on that foot again.
What My Short Term Disability Offered Me
Thank goodness I chose this option because instead of having to take ten weeks off unpaid or use up a years worth of PTO, I was able to get 60% of my base pay on my regular pay schedule. I also had the option for signing up for an additional 20% as a supplement. The supplement only cost me about $5 per paycheck, which is way beyond worth it! So for those ten weeks I got 80% of my base pay! This was so incredibly helpful, because I was able to recover without the stress of if I could afford to pay my bills or not. I also did not have to dip into my emergency savings or use all of my precious PTO!
So before you dismiss the idea of needing Short or Long Term Disability, what would you do if you suddenly weren’t able to work for several weeks or months?