Understanding Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability is, by the government’s definition, a mental or physical condition that renders one unable to do their job for any period that is less than a year. Unfortunately, many employees aren’t offered programs that cover such situations. If you do have disability options, then be thankful that these exist for you to fall back on.

Leave Transfer Program

If you must take an extended leave without pay, fellow employees may ease your financial burden by donating their annual leave to you. You would be paid at your usual hourly rate of pay until the donated leave ends, or until the medical emergency ends.

Workers Compensation

You may be eligible for workers compensation if your disability was due to a disease or personal injury occurring while performing your job. Workers compensation payments begin when your leave runs out.

Paid Leave

Every pay period, employees earn both annual and sick leave. You can use your accumulated sick leave if you have short-term disability. If the sick leave runs out, you can use any accrued annual leave that you have saved up. Your current supervisor may have the authority to advance both your annual and sick leave in the case that both your accumulated sick and annual leave has run out. The maximum amount of advanced sick leave that you can receive is 104 hours, and even less when you work part-time.

Leave Without Pay

If you have depleted your sick and annual leave, and the advanced ones granted by your supervisor, or your supervisor doesn’t have the authority to grant any advanced leaves, he or she might be able to grant you periods of leave without pay. Your supervisor might even be able to do that before you exhaust your annual or sick leave. This is if the agency policy allows it.

Disability Retirement

You could file for disability retirement if you have at least 18 months of service under FERS and, most importantly, if your disability is expected to last a year or longer. By definition, CSRS employees already have the five years of service needed to qualify for disability retirement.

While these alternatives are not necessarily well-designed in the event of short-term disability, at least these options are available.

Disability Retirement

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