The federal government does not have a short-term disability program, but short-term disability benefits are offered by some employers and private health insurance plans, according to Disability.gov. In some states, this coverage is mandatory. To apply, contact a company's human resources department or a health insurance provider.
Short-term disability benefits are typically provided by health insurance plans. The states that require employers to cover temporary disabilities for their workers include California, New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island and New Jersey, explains Susan Nathan and Dr. Michael Bihari for About.com. Outside of these states, some health insurance plans acquired privately or through an employer or union also cover temporary disability. In general, these programs provide benefits for workers affected by nonwork-related injuries or illnesses and typically pay between 50 percent to 70 percent of normal weekly wages. Most policies cover short-term disabilities for nine to 52 weeks and require doctor's evidence. Applications for these benefits can be made by contacting an insurance agent or human resources department.
The Social Security Administration, the federal agency that provides disability benefits and services, does not pay temporary disability benefits. According to Disability.gov, some states have government programs that make cash payments to people who cannot work temporarily due to illness or injury. For more information on these programs, contact the department of labor for the state. All states have workers' compensation programs for work-related injuries or illnesses. These programs are administered on a state-by-state basis and may be public or private, with varying requirements and benefits. To apply for workers' compensation, contact the state's department of labor or workers' compensation division.