Well, California State Disability for sure. I can’t speak verbatim for the other states since I’ve only been disabled in this state, but at the bottom of this I’ve listed the resources for filing for disability in each state. That should get you started off on the right foot at least.
Here’s what I can say about my experience and good questions for you to ask of yours.
What you need to know about State Disability:
- You should file the day after your last day of work (for example, if your last day of work was Friday then go online and sign up for disability on Saturday. You can file on Monday too, just be sure to note Saturday as your start date for disability.
- Anytime you can file on line, you should. It’s clean, less paper to lose and it’s faster.
- State disability is temporary (approx 12 months) and pays up to 60% of your average (recent) earnings.
- There’s a 2 week waiting period, meaning the first check you get from them won’t include any payment for the first two weeks you were out of work (No good reason I could get from them and yes, bummer).
- It takes them about 4-6 weeks for them to get you set up in their system and process the first check.
- Initially you may get a check in the mail, but most states are going paperless. Cali for example sends you an ATM/Visa card from Bank of America and auto deposits your payment into it every 2 weeks for 14 days worth of benefits.
- They will randomly send out forms you have to fill out confirming you are still disabled. If you don’t fill them out and send them back in on time (they usually give you about 10 days) then you won’t receive your next payment (or any other) until you do send it in, so be sure to open up any mail that comes from them and read it right away. Don’t assume it’s just a receipt for your recent payment, trust me~
- Always send your filled-in forms with a delivery confirmation receipt (stuff gets lost in the shuffle, I know, it happened to me). It is soooo worth the couple bucks for the peace of mind. Unless of course you can sweet talk someone at your state disability office to give you the fax number to send all this stuff into. Much faster response to it and instant receipt confirmation~
- Your benefits will last approximately one year to the date you first applied. Pay attention to this, because they don’t forewarn you. You’ll just get a letter in the mail one day noting final payment as you’ve “exhausted” your benefits.
If you are stage IV or your doc has made it clear your treatment could take up to a year or more then be sure to apply for Permanent (Federal) Disability just after you get all your State Disability set up. It takes several months to setup and many people are turned down on the first try to plan ahead for it.
You also may be able to collect both state and federal benefits at the same time (I did not know this then, would’ve helped a great deal with the growing pile of medical bills). I know it is the case in California and a good question for your office when you file.
Any other q’s, feel free to post them below. Good luck~