Philadelphia Employee Lawyer Explains How Family and Medical Leave Act Works for Employees Who Are Suffering From an Injury or Illness
|FMLA - Job Security - No Money|
The Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to make sure that employees who are forced to take time off from work due to a health crisis will not suffer the loss of their employment. The FMLA is all about JOB SECURITY.
Your Employer Decides if You Are Entitled to FMLA Leave
If you need FMLA Leave, you make an application through your employer's HR Department. You will be required to have your physician complete medical certification. The company then reviews that paperwork, and decides whether to approve your request for FMLA Leave.
You May Be Required to Use Up Your Vacation and Personal Days if You Go Out on Family Leave
As noted above, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides a right to unpaid leave with a right to get your job back when you are ready to return. However, your employer is permitted to require that you "take" any vacation days, personal days or sick days at the outset of your leave (doing so does not extend the length of your leave, it just results in you getting paid for the number of vacation, personal and sick days you have accrued).
Click Here for a detailed description of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Describes How Short-Term Disability Benefits Are Available to Employees Out on FMLA Leave
|STD Insurance - Money Not Job Security|
The Insurance Company That Issued the Disability Policy to Your Employer Determines if You Are Entitled to Short-Term Disability Benefits
Short-Term Disability insurance policies are issued by insurance companies such as Hartford, State Farm, Cigna, Prudential, etc. These insurance companies are not employers of the employees who require benefits. It follows, then that your employer does not decide if you are entitled to STD Benefits; rather, the insurance company does.
If You Are Deemed Eligible for FMLA Leave by Your Employer, You Will Usually be Granted Disability Benefits by the Disability Insurance Company
If you are qualified for FMLA leave due to your own injury or illness, you will in most cases (most, but not all) be approved for STD Benefits while you are out on family leave.
You Will Not Be Entitled to Disability Benefits for a Work-Related Injury
If you are hurt at work and cannot do your job, you will be entitled to FMLA Leave. Further, you can apply for workers' compensation benefits to subsidize your loss of income.
One cannot get short-term disability benefits for work-related injuries.
John Gallagher's June 21, 2014 Video Discussing Interplay Between FMLA Leave and Short-Term Disability Benefits
You may find this video helpful in understanding how FMLA and disability work together; it also focuses on stress-related conditions triggering the need for FMLA Leave and, by extension, disability benefits.
Can You Get Short-Term Disability Benefits if Your Are Out of Work Due to Stress?
As noted above, if you are granted FMLA Leave by your employer, you will usually be eligible for Short-Term Disability insurance payments. However, that is not because your employer "works together" with its disability insurance carrier. Rather, it simply makes sense that if you have an illness or injury serious enough to justify FMLA Leave in your employer's eyes, then a reasonable insurance company will likely see things the same way.
However, this syllogism is not true if you are out of work due to work-related stress. While your employer will often grant FMLA Leave under such circumstances (in part for the perceived good of all involved) disability carriers are often not so generous.
If the insurance company believes your stress is solely work-related, it may deny your disability claim on the grounds that you claim for loss of income, arising as it does from an injury suffered at work, must be filed with the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier.
So, while you be entitled to FMLA Leave if the cause of your absence is job-related stress, you will likely be denied STD Benefits in such instances.
In my experience, which is limited (I do not handle workers' compensation cases), workers comp carriers generally frown on paying benefits on stress claims.
Do I Qualify for Short-Term Disability if I Have a History of Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Mental Health Problems or Anxiety? Philadelphia Disability Attorney
In my experience, one needs to prove a somewhat lengthy history of psychological infirmity that was simply "brought to the surface" by work-issues to have a strong claim for short-term disability benefits when the medical condition is related to mental health issues.
Even then, these claims are among the most challenging. Sad to say, disability carriers have a hard time understanding (or at least often claim to) how an employee who could work last week could not this week.
I find the insurance carriers' views in this regard egregiously ignorant, woefully outdated and outrageous; modern science has proved, and any educated person knows, that mental health issues are unpredictable and can be triggered by any number of things. Nevertheless, that is too often the reality for those seeking disability benefits in mental health matters.
How to Appeal a Denial of Your Claim for Disability Benefits for When Mental Illness, Depression or Anxiety are Basis for Claim
In such cases, a strong appeal from an initial denial of the claim is essential. Certain legal requirements must be satisfied to put maximum heat on the carrier.
NOTE: If you are making a mental health disability claim, it helps to have your doctor point out the physical manifestations of your condition, i.e. sleeplessness, stomach upset, migraines, etc.
NOTE: Due to the complexities of stress-related FMLA and disability claims, it is not a bad idea to consult counsel before seeking leave if it is the company's "hostile work environment" that has driven you to consider exercising your FMLA rights.
One Can Get Disability Benefits Even if Fired From Job
|You Can Get UC Benefits if Out|
on Sick Leave Without Pay
Can I Get Unemployment Benefits if I am Out on Sick Leave?
In many situations, the answer is: Yes. Click Here to learn more.
Philadelphia FMLA and Short-Term Disability Lawyer
|John A. Gallagher, Esquire - |
Helping Employees Since 1991
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave…
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues…
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