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Long-Term Disability Pregnancy Benefits

  • Published: July 15, 2019

Why do women need to consider long-term disability pregnancy benefits? Because complications from pregnancy are more common than many people realize. As many as 25% of pregnancies result in some type of complication such as the need for a C-section, preeclampsia, or postpartum depression (PPD). In the case of PPD, nearly 15% of women experience depression after childbirth. You’ll need additional time to receive appropriate treatment and to recover.

Pregnancy can also cause dormant illnesses to manifest themselves resulting in unforeseen illnesses. Long-term disability pregnancy benefits could help protect your income in the event you experience serious or lasting complications associated with pregnancy.

Traditional Pregnancy Income Replacement

Typically, time off for maternity leave consists of a combination of personal vacation time, company-provided maternity leave, and short-term disability benefits. Short-term disability insurance policies consider pregnancy (maternity) a disability and benefits are usually paid for six weeks after a vaginal delivery or eight weeks after a C-section.

There is usually a brief waiting period of a few weeks before short-term disability payments begin. If you experience complications which will require a longer recovery period, long-term disability insurance may be the right choice for you.

Family and Medical Leave Act and Disability Benefits

It’s a big step forward that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which includes maternity leave, will protect your job if you’re away from work for up to 12 weeks. However, unlike disability benefits, employers don’t have to pay for leave under FMLA. There are a few states where limited paid leave is available, so check to see if you live in one of them.

How Can You Qualify for Long-Term Disability Pregnancy Benefits?

While pregnancy itself does not qualify you for long-term disability benefits, complications during pregnancy or after childbirth may qualify you for long-term disability insurance coverage. One thing to keep in mind is that long-term disability coverage may require an elimination, or waiting period, of 90 days or more before they consider providing benefits for pregnancy complications.

Considerations When Buying Long-Term Disability Insurance Pregnancy Coverage

The time to purchase disability coverage for pregnancy is before you become pregnant. You can apply for long-term disability insurance up to the third trimester of your pregnancy, but you will only be eligible for benefits for a second pregnancy. Your current pregnancy and any complications will be excluded from your policy.

If you are trying to get pregnant and disclose this information to your insurance company, or if you are receiving infertility treatment that would be included in your medical file, you may be able to purchase a long-term disability policy but it wouldn’t cover complications from pregnancy and childbirth. If your first pregnancy is complication-free, you would likely be eligible for long-term disability coverage for any future pregnancies.

Another caveat, if you suffered a miscarriage or developed preeclampsia or other complication during a previous pregnancy, those conditions would typically be excluded from future long-term disability insurance. If you want the added disability insurance for pregnancy, the time to buy is before you get pregnant.

Pregnancy Disability Policy Options

If you have disability insurance through your employer, read the policy thoroughly and be sure you understand any benefits that are related to pregnancy. And if you have both long and short-term insurance through your employer, read both policies.

If you’re shopping around for a long-term disability policy, there are some specific options you should look for.

  • Own-occupation: This type of policy will provide benefits if you can’t perform the duties of your regular job. Unlike other disability insurance, you would still receive benefits even if you’re able to do some types of work that is not your typical job.
  • Non-cancelable: This option would prevent your insurance company from raising your insurance premium. If your policy doesn’t have this feature, you may want to request it.
  • Residual benefits: If you find a job that pays a lower rate than your previous income, your policy could provide a partial benefit to help you close the income gap.
  • Guaranteed renewability: This prevents your insurance company from canceling your policy at any time as long as you continue to pay the premiums.
  • Mental illness: Due to the possibility of postpartum depression, you should select a policy that covers mental as well as physical illness.

Learn More About Long-Term Pregnancy Disability Benefits

CJ Henry Law Firm PLLC can help you understand your options. To learn more about long-term pregnancy disability benefits, contact us today.

Claudeth Henry

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