Life & Work Events

Disability - Staff Employees

To Apply for Short-Term Disability (STD):

1. Contact the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs in Benefits as soon as you know the nature of your illness.

2. Contact your departmental administrator or the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs to complete a Request for Short Term Disability.

  • Complete the employee section of the form.
  • Ask your physician to complete the "Physician's Statement" section of the form. He or she must document the date of your expected return to work. STD benefits cannot begin if your doctor does not indicate specific dates.

3. Return the completed Request for Short Term Disability form and Short Term Disability Information Sheet to the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs at leaveadministration@uchicago.edu.  You and your department will get a letter informing you that your STD leave has been approved.

4. Following the first day of absence, there is a waiting period of fourteen (14) calendar days before STD payments begin. If you do not have accrued sick leave to use during the waiting period, then accrued personal holidays and vacation must be used as provided under University policy or collective bargaining agreement, if applicable. Otherwise, the waiting period is unpaid. You may reserve a total of five (5) days of vacation and personal holiday to use at another time.

5. You may receive STD payments beginning fourteen (14) days after the first day of absence and the exhaustion of sick leave, whichever is longer, through the thirteenth week of disability, i.e. a maximum of eleven (11) weeks of STD paid benefits. The following are examples:

  • An employee is approved for 6 weeks STD leave for a new disability and has 10 weeks accrued sick leave. The employee will use 6 weeks of sick leave and will not receive STD payments because the employee has enough sick leave accruals to cover the duration of the absence.
  • An employee is approved for 13 weeks of STD leave for her own disability and has 3 days accrued sick leave. The employee must use 3 days of accrued sick leave and other accrued paid time off during the fourteen day waiting period and thereafter will receive 11 weeks of STD payments.
Special Rule for members of Local 73 and Local 743:

Local 73: Members receive up to 13 weeks of STD. They do not have to exhaust their accrued sick time, outside of the two-week waiting period. Their department will hold their jobs during the 13 weeks they are on STD.

Local 743: Short-Term Disability can last up to 26 weeks, minus any sick time you've accrued.

To Apply for Long-Term Disability (LTD):

1. Contact the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs as soon as possible during your Short-Term Disability if your physician determines that you will not be able to return to work for longer than 90 days.

2. Request a Long-Term Disability application from the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs.  The University has contracted with Sun Life as the carrier for Long-Term Disability benefits.

3. Complete the Sun Life application, have your doctor complete the physician's section, and submit the application to the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs. A representative from Sun will contact you and work with you throughout the approval process, which can take 30 - 45 days. Sun Life determines your eligibility  for LTD benefits.

4. If Sun Life approves your application, you will receive a letter detailing your monthly benefit. Your LTD benefits will begin after three months of continuous disability. Sun Life may also offer assistance in applying for Social Security Disability income, if warranted.

Special Rule for Members of Local 743:

Union Staff Employees in Local 743 are eligible for LTD benefits after three months. Short-Term Disability benefits can continue through the 26-week annual allotment; however, no Short-Term Disability benefits will be paid if the member is receiving LTD benefits even if the 26-week period has not expired.

To Return from Short Term or Long Term Disability Leave:

Submit a physician's statement releasing you to return to work to:

  • Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs in Benefits and to your department if you are returning from STD.
  • Sun Life and the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs if you are returning from LTD.