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  • Susan Wiener

CHANGES TO NEW YORK DISABILITY BENEFITS LAW ON THE HORIZON


disability insurance

NYS DBL benefits have not increased since 1989, holding steady at a mere $170 per week for 26 weeks.   The maximum weekly benefit in New York is not adjusted annually for inflation, like so many benefits are.

 

In 2024 dollars, NY workers should receive at least $430 per week if the maximum benefit amount goes up with employee wages and the cost of living.   Hardly enough to cover groceries for a family of four in most parts of New York.   In NYC, groceries for a single person cost an average of $122 per week, according to an article published by Bankrate.com on the cost of living in NYC.

 

New York’s DBL rates fall far short of those of neighboring states, including NJ. Workers in New Jersey can receive 85% of their average weekly wage, up to $1,055 per week, for TDI benefits.

 

Details of the Proposed Bill

 

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a bill that could pass in 2024 and will substantially increase DBL benefits for the first time in decades.

 

Under the new bill, benefits would increase incrementally through 2029. Beginning in 2025, workers would receive 67% of their average weekly wage, not to exceed 67% of the state’s average weekly wage. For workers earning less than 67% of the AWW, they would receive benefits equal to 90% of the average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the AWW.

 

If the legislation passes, employers will need less to enrich DBL coverage.   The benefits would align with worker's compensation insurance and paid family leave.  Until the legislation passes, New York workers with a serious, short-term medical condition do not receive the funds they need to stay afloat.   Short-term disability options remain critical in NY for workers who must battle a serious medical condition while financially providing for themselves or their families.    

 

This problem, according to local news sources, predominantly affects women in the workplace.   Statistics from the carriers revealed that women file nearly 70% of NYS disability claims.   Despite PFL benefits being available for either parent in the three months following childbirth, 30% of DBL claims are pregnancy-related.

 

Additional time off work before or after childbirth may be needed to help protect the health of the pregnant parent and the unborn child or to help them recover following the birth.    PFL and DBL cannot be taken concurrently, but consecutive claims can be filed, essentially stretching the allowable time off work to allow new parents time to adapt to life with an infant.

 

STD, DBL, AND LTD:   WHERE CAN YOU FILL GAPS?

 

In addition to being socially and morally important, enriched DBL and STD (short-term disability) also remain incredibly relevant.

 

By privatizing and enriching DBL, clients will likely see cost savings alongside a more robust benefits package.    You can take that savings, and the employer can boost employee benefits with additional insurance, including long-term disability,

 

The employer can also offer voluntary worksite benefits, which cater to an even broader range of employee needs, at no additional cost to the business owner.

 

In today’s competitive business environment, providing various benefits to accommodate employees in every stage of life can help companies attract and retain top talent.    Let Susan Wiener Enterprises LLC guide you through New York’s latest legislation and provide the best options for short-term disability coverage. You can call Susan at 631-385-9602 through the contact form on our website.

 

 

**Thoughts and legislation discovery from the DBL Center LTD….wholesaler & General Agent we are associated with.

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