Can I Collect Benefits from Disability Insurance during Pregnancy?
You may be able to collect disability insurance during pregnancy. Your eligibility, however, will likely depend on the disability insurance policy, when you became pregnant, and your stage of pregnancy. For example, some disability insurance policies may exclude pregnancy if you were already pregnant when you applied for the insurance. Others may only cover you if you had the insurance for a specific amount of time before the onset of your pregnancy. Often, disability policies will cover the final four weeks of pregnancy and the first six weeks after childbirth.
Disability insurance is intended to provide benefits in the event that you cannot work because of an illness, condition, or injury. In most cases, a normal, healthy pregnancy does not fit in this category. Some policies, however, do pay disability benefits for women who are in the final month of pregnancy or during the first six weeks after delivery. Additionally, many will provide coverage in the event that your doctor gives a medical reason you cannot work at an earlier stage of pregnancy. For example, an insurance company may pay disability insurance during pregnancy if you are put on bed rest.
Complications caused by pregnancy or childbirth may make you eligible to receive benefits for a longer period of time. For example, you may be eligible to collect benefits for longer if you develop a serious condition in addition to your pregnancy. Recovery from a cesarean section may also be a reason to prolong your benefits in some cases.
That said, there is absolutely no reason to attempt to induce medical issues or pregnancy complications to receive greater benefits from your insurance. Throughout your pregnancy, you should consult with medical professionals, including obstetricians, pregnancy nutritionists, and primary care doctors. Regular visits with them will ensure that you and your child are completely healthy. Additionally, should you have any pregnancy complications, these professionals will help get you prompt medical care and advise you on any post-birth needs.
In order to collect disability insurance during pregnancy, you will typically need a short-term disability policy. Usually, these policies are intended to provide coverage for a year or less of disability. A long-term disability policy, on the other hand, is usually issued for a couple of years or more of disability. As such, these policies do not apply during pregnancy.
To ensure that you can collect disability insurance during pregnancy, you may do well to read the fine print of your insurance contract. If pregnancy is excluded, you may need to purchase a new policy or additional coverage. You may also do well to read your insurance company’s preexisting condition rule. In most cases, insurance companies do not pay benefits if you were pregnant when you applied for the coverage. An insurance company may also deny coverage for a pregnancy that begins within a specific amount of time of signing the insurance contract.
When my wife became pregnant with our second child, she chose to continue working until her sixth month. We had no additional disability insurance coverage at the time. Her doctor noticed a few abnormalities about the baby's development, so he strongly urged her to go on bed rest. That's when we talked to an insurance agent and bought short term disability insurance. She felt much better about taking off work, since she knew she wasn't going to hurt the family finances while she was temporarily unemployed.
I don't have a problem with pregnancy disability insurance claims. I'd much rather see a female employee take time away from work than try to soldier on for the sake of the company. I've heard too many horror stories about pregnant employees who waited too long to take maternity leave, simply because they needed all the income they could earn before delivery. That's no way for a mother-to-be to live. If insurance exists that will cover that lost income, I say go for it.
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