November 29, 1999
Blue-collar employees in medium and large private establishments are more likely to be eligible to receive short-term disability benefits than other employees, but are much less likely to receive long-term disability benefits.
In 1997, 58 percent of full-time blue-collar workers in medium and large private establishments were covered by a short-term disability benefit. Coverage rates were somewhat lower for other workers: 54 percent of professional and technical employees and 52 percent of clerical and sales employees were covered by a short-term disability benefit.
While over half of blue-collar workers were eligible to receive short-term disability benefits, just over a quarter—28 percent— could receive long-term disability benefits. In contrast, 62 percent of professional and technical employees were eligible for long-term disability benefits, as were 52 percent of clerical and sales employees.
Short-term disability benefits provide for salary replacement, most often partial, for a 6- to 12-month period. Long-term disability benefits provide a monthly cash amount to eligible employees who, due to nonwork-related illness or injury, are unable to work for an extended period of time; most participants have a waiting period of 3 or 6 months, or until sick leave and short-term disability benefits end, before benefit payments begin.