25 April 2019

New York Disability Celebrates 70 Years!

New York Disability Celebrates 70 Years!

70 years ago this April, in 1949, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey signed the Mailler-Condon Bill which became Article 9 of the Workers’ Compensation Law.  This Article governs the Disability Benefits Law (DBL) in New York – making it mandatory for all private employers to provide statutory short-term disability insurance for their employees.  So, in honor of DBL’s 70th anniversary we are kicking off our series on statutory short-term disability benefits!  Sign-up for email updates to get notified when there’s a new post.

Today’s article will focus on the history of New York Disability and statutory short-term disability in general.  Stay tuned for more posts with DBL FAQs on eligibility, details about benefits, premiums, and more!

What is New York Disability?

Disability Benefits Law, or DBL for short, is NY state-mandated short-term disability insurance.  It provides insurance benefits for covered employees who can’t work due to an illness, pregnancy/birth of a baby, or a non-occupational injury.  Additionally, as of January 2018, DBL also includes a mandatory rider for Paid Family Leave (PFL).

The Paid Family Leave Rider provides job protection and partially paid-time off to bond with a new baby, care for a seriously ill family member, or military exigencies.  You can learn more about NY Paid Family Leave here.

How is NY Disability different from Workers’ Comp?

Although DBL, the statutory NY short-term disability insurance is governed by the Worker’s Compensation Law, it only covers off-the-job injuries and illnesses (including pregnancy/birth).  Worker’s Comp on the other hand, applies to injuries that happen on the job, and illnesses that are caused by the job.

What states have mandatory short-term disability insurance programs?

Currently, only five other U.S. states and territories, besides NY, have mandatory short-term disability insurance programs in place: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.

It’s important to note that while in New York we call it DBL (Disability Benefits Law), these short-term disability benefits go by other names depending on the state:

  • California – California State Disability Insurance (SDI)
  • Hawaii and Rhode Island – Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)
  • New Jersey – Temporary Disability Benefits Law (TDB), but many times in this state we also see the benefits referred to as TDI
  • Puerto Rico – Temporary Non-Occupational Disability Insurance (SINOT, which stands for Seguro por Incompacidad Occupational Temporal)

And, while NY DBL has been around for 70 years, it actually was the 4th state to enact this type of law.

Can you guess who lead the way?

Rhode Island - they were the first to pass their version of the law in 1942!  Followed by:

  • California – 1946
  • New Jersey – 1948
  • New York – 1949
  • Puerto Rico – 1968
  • Hawaii - 1969

How much does the New York Disability benefit pay?

The maximum benefit for statutory disability policies in New York is $170 per week.  This was last adjusted in 1989, and benefits haven’t increased in New York since then.

  • It’s calculated as follows:
  • Covered employees receive 50% of their average weekly wage, capped at $170 per week.
  • The average weekly wage is based on their last 8 weeks of employment, not counting the week in which the disability began – if its inclusion would lower the benefit.
  • DBL benefits are payable for a maximum of 26 weeks of disability during any 52-week period.
  • There is a 7-day waiting period in which no benefits are paid.  This just means DBL benefits begin on the 8th day of consecutive disability.

Will New York increase the Disability benefit to more than $170 per week?

As of right now there are no known plans to increase the cap on statutory New York Disability benefits.  However, many insurance carriers provide enriched DBL benefit options to employers.  At ShelterPoint, we offer options up to 5 times the statutory amount, so benefits can be increased significantly. You can learn more about that here.

Where can I get more information on New York Disability?

Download the ABCs of DBL here!  It’s full of FAQs broken out into two sections – one for employers and one for employees.  And, check back here for updates.  As your DBL Experts, we will be putting together deep dives into many specific topics related to New York Disability Benefits Law over the coming weeks.  Sign-up now, and never miss a post!



Information in this article is not intended as an offer of coverage. It is for illustrative purposes only, providing a general overview of featured benefit highlights provided under the respective policies. It is not a contract.

ShelterPoint Life only provides statutory coverages in the states of NY and NJ and DOES NOT provide statutory coverages in CA, HI, RI, and Puerto Rico.

NY DBL and NJ TDI are underwritten by: ShelterPoint Life Insurance Company (principal office in Garden City, NY). Policy Form# SPL DBL1114 and TDB-P-NJ.  NY DBL policies are governed by Article 9 of Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Law (New York State Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefits Law). In the event of conflicting information with the policy, the policy will take precedence over what is shown in this material. Please refer to the policy for terms under which it may be continued or canceled. Conditions, covered services, exclusions, limitations, and terms of coverage apply as pursuant to Article 9 of WCB Law.

The TDB law (Temporary Disability Benefits law (P.L.1948, c.110 (C:43-21-25 et seq.) governs this private plan and its interpretation and administration. All coverage extends up to TDB Law limits reflected in this policy. Please refer to the policy and TDB law for coverage details, a complete listing of covered services, provisions, conditions, exclusions, and terms under which the policy may be continued or canceled. In the event of conflicting information with the policy and applicable TDB Law, the policy and TDB Law will take precedence over what is shown in this material.   ShelterPoint is a registered Service Mark. All images licensed through iStockphoto. Not available in all jurisdictions.

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