Going on temporary disability is the same as, for example, when someone is working and needs surgery and they need to be out of work for a while to recouperate. I am not sure if all the states have the same rules, but in new jersey, if I remember correctly, one is entitled to receive up to 3 months (12 weeks) of temporary disability. And an employer is not allowed to fire you for being out on disability, they have to keep the same position or similar position open for you upon return to work. You end up getting a little more than you would in unemployment. Disability in NJ pays about 2/3 of your weekly income. The only thing is, which is probably the case in most states, it takes almost a month to get your first check. I think you have to be "disabled" for at least 14 days, then it takes another week or 2 before you get a check. But again, I am not sure if it works the same in every state.
I don't know if it's part of the Family Leave Law or if it was my company's policy, but when I first started with the joint pain and was diagnosed, my HR Manager said that I could also take the leave time in hours. Instead of stopping work altogether I just worked half days. That way, even though I was in pain, I was able keep on top of things at my job, keep my medical appointments and also go home after the four hours and get much needed rest to cope.
Just thought I'd pass that on.