Why You Shouldn’t Submit Your Paid Family Leave Claim Forms Before Your Leave Starts
It may be tempting to get all your paperwork for Paid Family Leave submitted early and out of the way, especially when preparing for a big, life changing event like the birth of a new baby. But, there are some pretty important reasons why you shouldn’t submit your claims forms too early.
While you have to notify your employer at least 30 days in advance (more on that later), your insurance carrier doesn’t need to know in advance at all. You might think that by submitting your forms ahead of time, it saves you time and will help you get paid quicker once you are out on leave, but it actually has the opposite effect! Here’s why:
Your insurance carrier can’t give you a determination on your claim until your leave actually starts - even if you provide everything necessary and your forms are filled out perfectly. There are many factors that go into making a determination on your claim, and it’s possible that some of these factors could change if you submit your forms too early. A few of these important factors are:
- your wages (PFL benefits are based on your wages 8 weeks prior to the date your leave begins)
- the actual date your leave starts
- the duration of leave, and whether you take it weekly or daily
- whether you are using full days of Sick/Vacation/PTO during the requested leave period
- your employment status at your same job (including whether you have worked the necessary length of time to be eligible for benefits - 26 weeks or 175 days).
“Life happens” and plans may change. So, the more time you have in between when your claim form is submitted and when your leave actually starts, the greater the likeliness that things may not go as anticipated.
For example, let’s say Elly is preparing for the birth of her new baby who is due on June 1. She knows she is going to take Paid Family Leave after the baby is born, so she fills out all her necessary PFL paperwork and submits it to her carrier in March. After receiving her claim, Elly’s carrier then sends her a letter letting her know that it’s too early to submit her claim, and to please fill out a new form with updated information and submit that new form once her leave actually starts. She’s now spending more time, doing double work by filling out the forms and sending them in twice, plus the added back-and-forth between Elly and her carrier may even delay her benefit payment.
Another thing to keep in mind is, Bonding Leave cannot begin until after the baby is already born. We all know babies are rarely born right on their due dates, thus changing the date on which the Paid Family Leave would actually start. This being an additional reason why it would be counterproductive to send your forms in too early.