New York State requires employers to cover employees who are injured away from work by providing disability benefits. On-the-job injuries are covered by the worker’s compensation program. New York State authorizes disability benefits insurance companies to be licensed state-approved providers.

State Disability Benefits

Eligible wage earners, including New York state and city employees, receive temporary weekly cash benefits through the program. These benefits are in place to partially make up for lost wages while away from work. Sometimes, the benefits are paid to unemployed workers when they lose their unemployment insurance benefits because of the illness or injury. Under the state program, the medical care is your responsibility; it is not part of the disability benefit coverage.

There are several limits to the disability program. First, you can only receive benefits for 26 weeks, and will only be paid half of your average weekly salary up to $170 per week. Both of these are the maximum allowable benefit under the state program. The state law also allows employers to collect a weekly amount (max of 60 cents) to help cover the cost of providing benefits.

If you’re already employed, after you apply for these benefits, there is a 7-day waiting period, because people with short-term disabilities lasting 7 days or less are not eligible for the state program. If your disability lasts longer, then benefit payments begin on day 8. Your employer is required to provide you with the detailed explanation of the state program, a document entitled “Statement of Rights under the Disability Benefits Law” within five days of finding out that you have a disabling injury

Employers must provide the benefits through a state-approved carrier. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board administers this program and approves and licenses carriers. The board ensures that benefits providers meet the requirements of the New York State Disability Benefits Law. The board can also authorize employers to self-insure to provide their employees with disability benefits.

New York state also provides disability retirement benefits for eligible New York state and city employees. You must first be approved for disability retirement by the state. This approval is based on your final salary, credits you’ve earned in the retirement system, your age, and the nature of your disability (on-the-job or off-the-job). If you’re eligible for both service and disability retirement benefits, don’t delay filing your applications. If both are approved, you’ll be given a choice of either benefit. If your disability retirement application is denied, and your service date has passed, the state considers you already retired and you get no benefit.