Statutory Disability Insurance FAQ

What is Statutory Disability Insurance (DBL)?

New York State disability benefits insurance provides temporary cash benefits paid to an eligible wage earner to replace, in part, wages lost when he/she is disabled by an off-the-job illness or injury, and for disabilities arising from pregnancy.

Who is required to provide statutory disability benefits insurance? Who is not required to be covered?

Employers who hire one or more employees on each of 30 days in any calendar year in New York State are required to provide statutory disability benefits insurance for their employees (after the 30th day of such employment) unless they are considered exempt.

Exemptions (who is not required to be covered) include:

  • Sole proprietors, partners and members of limited liability companies (though their employees must be covered)
  • A minor child of an employer
  • Government, railroad, maritime or farm workers
  • Ministers, priests, rabbis, members of religious orders, sextons, Christian Science readers

See the full list of who is and who is not a covered employer under DBL on the Workers’ Compensation Board website here.

Call the Retail Council at (800) 442-3589 today to get your free DBL quote.

How does an employer get disability benefits insurance?

Members of the Retail Council can take advantage of among the lowest quarterly-billed rates available on statutory disability insurance through our program. Call (800) 442-3589 and ask to speak with an Insurance Services representative for DBL rates and a free quote. Visit our disability insurance page for more info. Employers can also obtain disability benefits insurance from the New York State Insurance Fund or from private carriers. They may also apply to be self-insured through the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Who pays for disability benefits insurance?

Employers may pay the entire disability benefits insurance premium or they may choose to share the cost with the employee. New York State law allows employers to deduct half of one percent of an employee’s wage, up to a maximum of $ .60 per week to offset the cost of providing disability benefits insurance.

What are the penalties for not providing disability benefits insurance?

Failure to provide disability benefits insurance is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 or imprisonment for up to one year or both.

The Workers’ Compensation Board can impose a penalty of half of one percent of the employer’s payroll during the period of noncompliance plus an additional sum of $500 for each period of noncompliance.

A second violation of the law within five years may result in a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,250. A third violation within five years may result in a fine of up to $2,500.

What disability benefits are paid to the employee? How long can the employee receive cash benefits?

Cash benefits are 50 percent of the claimant’s average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum amount allowed, currently $170 per week.

Benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks of disability during 52 consecutive weeks. The benefits kick in on the eighth consecutive day of disability.

Can an employer request the disabled employee to be examined by his or her designated physician for proof of disability?

Yes. The disabled employee (claimant) must submit himself/herself to regular exams by the employer’s designated physician, if requested by the employer or the employee may jeopardize his/her benefits. However, the exams must be at reasonable times, cannot be more than once a week and the employee is not responsible for payment of the exam.

What is required of an employer once an employee is disabled from a non-occupational illness or injury?

An employer must supply a worker who has been disabled for more than seven days with a Statement of Rights under the Disability Benefits Law (form DB-271S), within five days of finding out the employee is disabled.


Visit the Retail Council’s Statutory Disability Insurance Page to see how we can help lower your DBL expenses!


(Additional sources: www.WCB.NY.GOV,