Forms, Policies, & Guides

514 - Long-Term Disability

Subject: Long-Term Disability

Section: U514

Date: August 2, 2011


Purpose:

To provide guidance regarding Long Term Disability (LTD) status, eligibility, departmental staffing, and cost considerations.

Policy:

LTD benefits are not available until three months after the onset of disability. Therefore, between the onset of disability and the determination of whether the application for LTD is approved, a disabled employee must use accrued sick, vacation, and personal holiday time as well as short-term disability (STD)[see U513 Short-Term Disability], and if necessary, go on an unpaid medical leave of absence to bridge benefits and/or pay until the insurance company approves or denies the application.

LTD is a form of insurance that provides income replacement to qualified individuals in the event of long term disability. It is not a leave of absence or provide job protection. The University treats an individual who is receiving long-term disability income payments from the insurance company as an active employee for benefit plan purposes only, as provided below.

Guidelines:

1.  The Long-Term Disability Summary Plan Description (SPD) provides information about the University’s LTD program, including rules about eligibility and enrollment, benefit options, limitations on benefits, and specific coverage. Copies of the SPD are available online or at the Benefits Office.

2.  An individual receiving LTD disability income payments is treated as an active employee for benefit plan purposes only as follows and subject to change from time to time:

  • Medical, Dental and Vision. Coverage for medical, dental and vision insurance that is in effect immediately before the LTD effective date may be continued at the employee rate as long as the individual is on LTD. The individual is responsible for paying the individual’s portion of insurance premiums and will be billed directly for his/her share of the premium for continued benefit coverage. When premium rates change, the new rate must be paid. During the annual Open Enrollment period, an individual on LTD may change medical, dental and vision plans and/or add or drop dependents.
  • Life Insurance. Certain life insurance benefits may be continued for up to twenty-four (24) months after the first day of absence/disability by payment of the applicable premium unless subject to any waiver of premium provision in the insurance contract. While on LTD, coverage may not be increased, but may be decreased at any time.
  • Participation in CRP or ERIP continues while on LTD (subject to plan documents and law). If an individual on LTD was a participant in CRP or ERIP at the time of disability and receipt of benefits under the LTD plan, the University will fund the individual’s required contribution as well as continue to fund the University’s contribution.
  • Education Assistance Benefits. An individual on LTD remains eligible for education benefits to which he/she was eligible at the onset of disability as provided in the Educational Assistance Plan.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts and the Supplemental Retirement Program.An individual on LTD cannot make pre-tax contributions to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or to a Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP).

3.  While on LTD, the individual’s portion of premiums for health, dental, vision and life insurance will be billed directly. Failure to pay premiums as required will result in termination of benefits coverage.  An individual on LTD does not pay a premium for LTD coverage once he/she is receiving benefits under the LTD plan.

4. If an individual on LTD becomes employed outside the University (including self-employment), the individual must immediately notify the University. The individual’s employment with the University for benefits purposes will end, and the individual will no longer be eligible to continue any University benefit, except as required by applicable law.

5.  If an individual is released to return to work after a period of disability and collecting LTD he/she may apply for vacant positions on the University’s online employment site, UChicago Jobs.  The University does not hold the position of an individual while on LTD, subject to applicable law, and the individual is not entitled to reinstatement to his/her position when no longer eligible for LTD.  During any period of LTD the individual remains employed for the sole purpose of benefit continuation as provided for in this policy and related plan documents, which are subject to change from time to time. 

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.