Why is Short Term Disability Important for a Federal Employee? - United Benefits

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Why is short-term disability so important for a federal employee?

Most everyone has heard that it is a good idea to have a short-term disability policy to provide income if they were to miss work for an extended period of time whether it’s due to an illness, accident, or maternity.  But why is this so important for a federal employee? To first know why you must understand the benefits you possess through the government.

Did you know that the government does not offer a short-term disability program? Federal employees are instead provided the Annual Leave and Sick Leave Program which is paid time off that you can earn each pay period you complete. Each leave program accrues differently and serves a different purpose.

What Can I Use Annual Leave For?

  • Vacations
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Personal business
  • Emergencies
  • May be able to use for sickness, but it will require your agency’s approval


How Does My Annual Leave Accrue?


Employee Type

1-2 years of service 3-14 years of service 15 or more years of service
Full-time employees 4 hours per pay period 6 hours per pay period. (10 hours in last pay period) 8 hours per pay period
Part-time employees 1 hour per 20 hours in pay status

One important thing to know is that the annual leave is a “Use or Lose” program. You may only carry over 30 days into the next year, forfeiting any unused leave above that.

What Can I Use Sick Leave For?

  • Personal medical needs with unlimited use of hours
  • General family care and bereavement each leave year, limited to 13 days
  • Care of family members with a serious health condition each leave year, limited to 12 weeks
  • Adoption-related purposes

How Does My Sick Leave Accrue?

 Full-time employees 4 hours per pay period
Part-time employees 1 hour per 20 hours in pay status


  • There is no limitation to the amount that can be accumulated.
  • It takes one year to accrue 13 days (104 hours).
  • At the discretion of the agency, sick leave may be advanced up to 30 days (240 hours).
  • It takes 2 years and 4 months (60 pay periods) to pay back the leave balance, with no new accrual.

As we learn more about how long it takes to accumulate a significant amount of sick leave and how quickly it can all be used, it becomes clear to see that it is an inadequate program.  If your doctor were to take you out of work for an extended period of time, your paycheck would stop but, unfortunately, your household bills and other costs of living would continue. Therefore, it becomes very important to protect your paycheck with a short-term disability plan.

At United Benefits we have short-term disability plans specifically designed for federal employees. So how does it work?

  • Guaranteed to issue, no one turned down
  • Covers accident, sickness and maternity
  • 24 hours on/off the job (pays 50% if receiving worker’s comp)
  • Benefit starts after the 14th calendar day of being off work
  • Benefit pays up to one year
  • Pre-existing conditions covered after one year
  • Pays in addition to sick leave
  • Tax-free benefit paid directly to you

Get in Touch

Use the form below to get in touch with a United Benefits Specialist to learn more about short-term disability and find the best plan for your and your family.

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