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Are You Eligible For New Jersey Short-Term Disability Benefits?

If you’ve been hurt and can’t work, you may be eligible for New Jersey short term disability benefits. Unlike most states, New Jersey has its own temporary disability insurance (TDI) program. This will help you maintain your income while you’re recovering from your injuries or illness. However, this isn’t a form of worker’s comp (which the state also offers).

How can you take advantage of this benefit when you need it? At Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, P.C., we can help answer your questions about New Jersey short-term disability benefits.

TDI vs. Worker’s Comp

New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program is a basic right of all workers. Funded by employer contributions and employee salary deductions, it exists to cover non-work-related reasons you may not be able to work, including pregnancy. Don’t mistake it for worker’s compensation (WC); that form of New Jersey short term disability benefits specifically covers injuries and sicknesses sustained at or related to work.

That said, you may be eligible for TDI coverage if the state denies you WC benefits or they naturally come to an end.

How To Get TDI’s New Jersey Short Term Disability Benefits

To get TDI, you have to apply through the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. You can do this through snail mail, but it’s easier to do it online. Follow the rules for filling out the form on this page. Remember, as it says at the top of the page, you can only file if pregnancy or an injury not caused by your job prevents you from working.

So for example, if you’re eight months pregnant with twins and your doctor prescribes bed rest until the babies are born, you’re eligible for TDI. If someone drops a heavy tool on your foot at work, you have to turn to worker’s comp for your disability benefits.

Applying for TDI online is much faster and easier than applying by mail, and you can return to the site to check the state of your application. If you know you will be incapacitated (such as by a scheduled surgery) you can even apply up to 14 days in advance.

Determining Eligibility

To be eligible for New Jersey short term disability benefits under TDI, you must have:

  • Worked in New Jersey for 20 calendar weeks per benefit year.
  • Made at least $169 a week during that time.
  • Earned at least $8,500 in the year before you file the claim, no matter how many weeks you worked.
  • Been working for a covered employer within two weeks of becoming disabled.

You can get benefits by completing Form DS-1 online, or by filling out and mailing a paper version to the Trenton Disability Insurance Office. Be sure to complete all three parts of the form! You have to fill out one, your doctor the second, and your most recent employer gets the third. The deadline for claims is 30 days after you become disabled. You can file an extension form if needed to explain why it took longer, but it is best to act quickly to avoid late filing.

What Do Short Term Disability Benefits Cover?

Currently, maximum TDI benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage in the eight weeks prior to the disability, to a maximum of $637 per week, or one-seventh that amount per day. You can get up to 26 weeks of benefits per year. TDI covers normal pregnancies for four weeks before and six weeks after birth, though the state can extend the benefits if the birth was by C-section, other complications occurred, or another disability arose during that period.

What You Need to Make Your Claim

Before you sit down to fill out your DS-1, especially online, have this information at hand:

  • The contact information (name, address, phone number) of any health care provider who treated you within 10 days of the first day you couldn’t work.
  • The dates of any hospital stay or emergency care.
  • Employer contact information for the past year, the addresses you worked, and how long you worked at each. When filling out the DS-1, you’ll need to know the dates of any paid time off received after becoming disabled.
  • The date you recovered and returned to work if you already have, or an estimate for when you will.

To Learn More About New Jersey Short Term Disability Benefits

If you’ve been denied TDI, received less than you deserved, or have had any other problems, call 201-781-5645 contact Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, P.C., for a free consultation. We may be able to help you with your disability payment issues. It’s bad enough you’ve been hurt. Don’t fall into financial ruin because you were denied the New Jersey short term disability benefits you paid for.