Did you know that in the U.S., only nine states have mandates for paid maternity leave? This means a majority of working women will not receive a paycheck during the weeks and months following delivery; a reality that can leave growing families financially vulnerable. 

Knowing how you’ll protect your income while you focus on welcoming your newest loved one is an important part of family planning. And as you’ll see, when it comes to using insurance to protect your pay, timing is everything! 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) vs. disability insurance

The FMLA is a U.S. labor law that came into effect in 1993. This law requires businesses of a certain size to provide unpaid time off for employees who experience a major illness or injury, the birth or adoption of a child or other qualifying emergency. 

Conversely, disability insurance can provide paid time off in the event of a health crisis, delivery or pregnancy-related complications. 

Remember: FMLA protects your job while disability insurance protects your pay. 

Short term disability insurance

Short term disability is a great option for working women who do not have access to paid maternity leave. With short term disability, normal, uncomplicated delivery is usually considered a disability. With a policy in place, you can expect to receive payments lasting six to eight weeks, each payment providing 40% to 60% of your income.

Generally, the disability period begins the day you deliver, however, if your physician decides you cannot work due to pregnancy-related complications, your payments could begin up to four weeks prior to your due date. 

Long term disability insurance

Unlike short term disability, long term disability insurance will not provide compensation for lost wages for delivery itself. It could, however, provide a source of financial support should you experience long term disabilities resulting from pregnancy (such as complications related to C-section or Postpartum Depression). 

Timing is everything

Pregnancy is generally considered a pre-existing condition. This means that while you can usually get approved for disability insurance coverage while you’re pregnant, you will be denied benefits for the first 12 months that the policy is active. 

To ensure you’ll receive the benefits associated with your disability insurance policy, make sure to secure your policy at least 90 days prior to conception. 

Protection beyond pregnancy

We’ve established short and long term disability insurance as paycheck protection options for the pregnancy and postpartum periods, but what type of insurance protects your loved ones for the long haul (and if the worst were to happen)?  

For anyone raising (or planning on raising) children, a term life insurance policy like Quility Level Term (QLT) is a great choice. QLT offers a completely online application, affordable coverage, variable terms (10-30 years), up to $1M in coverage and customization of your policy through riders. 

While women can secure a term life policy while pregnant, the ideal times are before conception or one to two months post-delivery. This helps the applicant to avoid potentially increased  premiums due to common pregnancy-related conditions like weight gain, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol. 

Your life insurance options during pregnancy
  • Short term disability insurance covers normal delivery and offers partial paycheck reimbursement for between 6-8 weeks. 
  • Long term disability insurance does not cover delivery itself but can provide longer-term paycheck protection in the event of serious pregnancy or delivery-related complications.
  • For benefits to be available when you need them, secure your disability insurance policy at least three months before you intend to conceive. 
  • To protect your family for the years to come, consider a life insurance policy like QLT. It could cost you as little as $18/month—a small price to pay for big peace of mind! 

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Brook van der Linde
Contributing Writer and Content Specialist
Brook van der Linde is a contributing writer and content specialist for Quility. She provides lifestyle articles and insurance information via Quility’s online magazine. Her industry and leadership-focused content can be accessed via LinkedIn.