|Question: Can I buy short-term disability coverage through my employer?|
That depends on whether your employer offers it. Short-term disability coverage is an important benefit that increasing numbers of employers are providing. In some states, employers are even required to offer such coverage.
If your employer offers short-term disability coverage, you'll first want to find out if you're eligible to participate in the group plan. You may have to satisfy certain eligibility requirements, such as being employed full-time with the company for a specified number of days before you're eligible to enroll in the plan. Also, you'll want to know whether you will have to answer medical questions and meet underwriting standards to qualify. Ask your human resources manager.
Next, you'll want to find out how the disability insurance premiums are paid. Does your employer pay the premiums for you, or must you pay part of each premium through payroll deduction? This may affect your decision to buy, and it will also affect the federal income tax consequences if you ever receive disability benefits.
What if your employer doesn't offer short-term disability coverage? Unfortunately, you usually can't purchase an individual short-term policy. However, you may be able to buy it through an association or group that you belong to. Call and inquire. Long-term disability policies are available in the private insurance market, but they'll be much more costly.