Short term disability is not a service provided by law. It is, instead, optional insurance that your employer may or may not pay for. To get Social Security Disability payments, you must have a documented disability that is expected to last for a year or more or end in death. Since short term disability insurance is intended to cover the gap between the time your sick leave runs out and your long term Social Security Disability kicks in, usually at the six month mark, it is not covered under Social Security.
While many employers offer short term disability insurance as an option for employees to buy, very few companies or organizations provide this insurance as a general employer-paid benefit. Those that do are usually companies working within the framework of a collective bargaining unit that has negotiated short term disability as part of the contract.
If an employee does not have short term disability coverage, they can use Family Medical Leave Act to keep their job safe up until they use up all their FMLA. Family Medical Leave Act does not pay for absences. It just allows the employee to keep her job while recovering or caring for a sick family member.
Only five states, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware, have mandatory disability programs for their residents.
Short term disability, if available, is designed to cover illnesses or conditions that require the employee to be away longer than their accrued sick leave, but to be expected to return to work in a reasonable amount of time. Short term disability may cover a portion of the employee's wages, seldom 100 percent, for up to 26 weeks. This will, of course, vary by plan. Generally, a business will have some eligibility requirements that must be met before an employee can use short term leave. These might include working a minimum number of hours per week or a minimum number of months of employment.