N.Y.: Gov. Hochul proposes to increase short-term disability benefits

February 14, 2024

Since 1989, New Yorkers in need of temporary disability leave, including individuals with pregnancy and childbirth-related conditions, have been limited to a maximum benefit amount of $170 per week. This figure—unadjusted for over three decades—has diminished in its value significantly. The $170 weekly cap set in 1989 in today’s terms would be equivalent to just about $69, making the current benefit less than half as valuable.

Addressing this disparity, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed in PPGG, Part N of her FY 2025 Executive Budget, a gradual increase in the maximum short-term disability benefit over the next five years. The plan suggests adjusting the current flat rate of $170 to two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage, capped at two-thirds of the state average weekly wage by 2029.

The proposed schedule for this increase starts in 2025, with benefits escalating annually from 50% of an employee’s average weekly wage with a $400 cap, progressing to 67% by 2029, alongside adjustments to benefits for weeks 12 through 26 and setting a minimum benefit amount.

Lastly, the PPGG, Part N would cap the employee contribution to short-term disability benefits beginning in 2025 to not exceed one-half of 1% of the employee’s wages. The contribution would be capped at 40% of the average of the combination of all contributions to disability benefits from employees and employers in the prior year.

The inclusion of PPGG, Part N in the FY 2025 Executive Budget marks a pivotal step toward rectifying the antiquated and insufficient infrastructure for short-term disability in New York state. By adjusting disability benefits to reflect current wages and living costs, while also maintaining reasonable limits on employee contributions, New York is poised to provide stronger and fairer support for workers facing temporary disabilities.

This budget proposal not only acknowledges the critical need for updated disability benefits, but also demonstrates a commitment to the well-being and financial security of all New Yorkers, paving the way for a more inclusive and supportive approach to worker protection in the state.

PIA Northeast will continue to monitor this proposal throughout the FY 2025 Executive Budget process, and keep members informed of any updates.

Theophilus Alexander
PIA Northeast | + posts

Theophilus W. Alexander joined PIA Northeast as a government & industry affairs specialist for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2023. Prior to joining PIA, Theo had served in both houses of the New York State Legislature. Previously, he worked as a legislative analyst for Hon. New York State Sen. Samra G. Brouk, D-55, and he served at the New York State Assembly, as a policy analyst with New York Assembly Program & Counsel. Theo received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.

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