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SHORT TERM DISABILITY
May 8, 2013

I'M SEVERELY DEPRESSED AND EXPERIENCING A GREAT DEAL OF NEUROPATHY IN MY HANDS AND FEET - I WORK AND STAND AND LIFT HEAVY BOXES UP TO 80LBS A DAY - CONSIDERING MY POSITIVE HIV STATUS - WILL MY COMPANY BASED SHORT TERM DISABILITY BE CONSIDERED A PAYABLE DISABILITY FOR UP TO 8 WEEKS OFF?

Response from Mr. Chambers

You ask what your company's short term disability benefits provide. Unfortunately, short term disability (STD) plans can vary widely in what they cover, how much and for how long.

Generally, they provide benefits for anywhere from 8 weeks to 52 weeks. If your HIV condition prevents you from doing your job either physically and/or mentally AND that is well documented in your medical record, you should be eligible for some STD benefits. Because of your underlying physical condition (HIV), depression related to that should not be considered a mental and nervous condition since it is a symptom of your physical condition.

You should get a copy of your Summary Plan Description to see how it defines disability and what are the benefits.

Also, if you live in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island, those states mandate that employers provide STD and that coverage usually matches the benefits required by law.

Finally, remember that if your employer has more than 15 employees and you have been there twelve months, you will also be eligible for Family and Medical Leave benefits. It doesn't pay any income, but it continues your benefits and saves your position for up to twelve weeks. Good luck, Jacques



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