Summary of Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits:
Long-Term Disability (LTD) is an insurance program provided by UNUM, the University’s disability administrator, to provide 60% of regular salary when a personal illness or injury requires continued consecutive absence from work in excess of one hundred eighty (180) calendar days, for a maximum benefit amount of $11,500 per month.
Description of Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits:
LTD benefits are available after a faculty/staff member is unable to work, and absent from work, for more than one hundred eighty (180) continued consecutive days. The minimum monthly benefit is $100 and the maximum monthly benefit amount is $11,500. After receiving approval from UNUM under the STD program for one hundred eighty (180) days, you will be considered for LTD benefits; however, UNUM will require the submission of updated medical information. The length of time available for benefits under the LTD program is dependent upon the age of the faculty/staff member on their first day of disability and the severity of the condition.
Faculty/staff members are considered disabled when UNUM determines that they are limited from performing the material and substantial duties of their regular occupation due to sickness or injury; and they have a 20% or more loss in monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury.
After twenty-four (24) months of payments, a faculty/staff member is considered disabled when UNUM determines that due to the same sickness or injury, they are unable to perform the duties of any gainful occupation for which they are reasonably fitted by education, training or experience.
Faculty/staff members must be under the regular care of a physician in order to be considered disabled. Also, the loss of a professional or occupational license or certification does not, in itself, constitute disability.
Eligibility for LTD Benefits:
All full-time faculty and staff, who qualify, are eligible to receive Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits.
How to Apply for LTD Benefits:
LTD salary continuation is not automatic. The faculty/staff member is responsible for filing an application for LTD, which is subject to approval by UNUM, the University’s disability administrator. LTD benefits are paid directly to approved faculty/staff by UNUM.
LTD benefits are coordinated with Social Security disability and with the retirement benefits under Social Security and employer sponsored plans. The 60% LTD benefit is increased to 70% when combined with Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits from other employer sponsored plans. To qualify for disability benefits from the University, the faculty/staff member is expected to make every good faith effort to obtain disability benefits from Social Security or other applicable employer sponsored plans.
Impact on Salary and Benefits While Receiving LTD Benefits:
At the end of the one hundred eighty (180) day STD period of continued, consecutive absence from work, when a faculty/staff member has been approved by UNUM to receive LTD benefits, all salary and payroll deductions from the University will end.
Continued coverage for medical, dental, health care flexible spending account (FSA) and Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) coverage is available under COBRA. The length of the COBRA period is dependent upon the qualifying reason. Generally, COBRA coverage may be continued for up to eighteen (18) months. If a faculty/staff member under age 65 on the LTD benefit effective date, and is determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to have been disabled, they may qualify to receive up to an additional eleven (11) months of COBRA coverage, for a maximum of twenty-nine (29) months. The first twenty-four (24) months of the COBRA period, providing the faculty/staff member applies for and is qualified for the COBRA disability extension, will be billed at the faculty/staff rate for the coverage and level, for which the faculty/staff member is currently enrolled. However, if the faculty/staff member turns age 65 during the COBRA period, they are required to apply for Medicare coverage. Applications for Medicare must be made at least two (2) months prior to the Medicare effective date. Information regarding COBRA will be mailed directly from CONEXIS, the University’s COBRA administrator. Also, information regarding conversion of the faculty/staff member’s current life insurance coverage will be sent directly from UNUM, the University’s life insurance provider.
If a faculty/staff member is over age 65 on the LTD benefits effective date, and is determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to have been disabled, they may qualify to receive up to an additional eleven (11) months of COBRA coverage, for a maximum of twenty-nine (29) months. The first twenty-four (24) months of the COBRA period, providing the faculty/staff member applies for and is qualified for the COBRA disability extension, will be billed at the faculty/staff rate for the coverage and level, for which the faculty/staff member is currently enrolled. However, they will have an eight (8) month period to elect Medicare coverage from their LTD benefits effective date. If Medicare coverage is not elected within the eight (8) month election period, Medicare may be elected in the future, but will be subject to the late enrollment penalty. In order to avoid this on-going penalty, Medicare coverage must be elected when first eligible for coverage.
Faculty/staff members, who are Medicare eligible, may also wish to consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan at the time in which they enroll in Medicare. Resources for finding supplemental plans may be found at www.medicare.gov.
For any Faculty/Staff member who has completed ten(10) or more years of continuous service, and becomes disabled and is approved for benefits under the University’s long-term disability program, the faculty/staff member, the spouse and eligible dependent children will continue to be eligible for tuition remission.
While you are in an inactive employment status, you will remain an active participant in the 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan; however, no additional employee or employer contributions will be made because you are not being paid by the University. In the Defined Benefit Retirement Plan, you will continue to receive credited service while you are receiving LTD payments. For additional details, see the appropriate retirement plan Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD), on the Human Resources Website under Benefits/Financial Support/Retirement Benefits.
All other benefits, in which you are enrolled, may continue as long as you are in an inactive employment status for up to one (1) year from your first date of disability.
Return to Work:
Faculty/staff may return to work from LTD only after they have obtained clearance from their healthcare provider and a release from the Human Resources office. If you are unable to return to work following twelve (12) weeks of leave, with or without a reasonable accommodation, consistent with applicable law, and subject to the terms of any faculty employment agreement, after consultation with your department head to ascertain the needs of the department, your position may not be held open and may be filled. If the faculty/staff member is unable to return to work within one year from the original date of disability, subject to applicable law, employment will be terminated. Upon release to return to work, the employee may apply for open positions for which they may be qualified, however, openings may not always be available. Faculty positions will be filled in accordance with the terms of faculty member’s employment agreement.
General Disability Provisions and Exclusions:
- The LTD plan is fully insured under a policy with UNUM, a private insurance company.
- UNUM may require a second medical opinion from a healthcare provider of its choosing when necessary to determine the initial approval or continuation of LTD benefits. UNUM, the University’s disability administrator, is the final authority as to the eligibility of the faculty/staff member for LTD benefits.
- Faculty/staff will not be eligible for STD or LTD benefits for any period of disability caused or contributed to or resulting from a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is any injury or sickness for which an employee received medical advice or treatment within three (3) months just prior to the faculty/staff member’s most recent effective date of insurance, and the disability begins in the first twelve (12) months after the effective date of coverage.
- Faculty/staff are not eligible for sick leave, STD or LTD if they have any other employment, unless such employment is approved in writing by Human Resources.
- Disabilities caused by, or contributed to, or resulting from the following are not covered by the sick leave, STD or LTD plans:
- Intentionally self-inflicted injuries
- Active participation in a riot
- Loss of a professional license, occupational license or certification
- Commission of a crime for which you have been convicted
- War, declared or undeclared
- Any period of incarceration while disabled
- Absences covered by Workers’ Compensation payments for occupational injury or illness