What are disability benefits and why are they important?
Disability benefits help protect your paycheck and your standard of living if you become disabled. It provides benefits that replace a portion of your salary if you're out of work due to a qualified illness or injury. Pregnancy is also covered as a disability.
You can use the benefits to help pay for food, housing or any of your usual expenses -- things you might have to cut back on or pay for with savings if you are unable to earn a paycheck.
What is an elimination period?
An elimination period is a period beginning when a member becomes eligible to receive payments and ending when payments start to be paid. Also known as Deductible Period or Waiting Period.
Do I pay for the STD plan?
Your employer determines the portion of benefit expense employees will be liable for. Contact your benefits administrator for more details about your specific plan.
How do I qualify for STD benefits?
Short Term Disability benefits are paid if you:
- Become disabled according to the plan's definition of disability while covered under the plan.
- Remain disabled during and after the elimination period.
When should I file a claim?
You should file an STD claim as soon as you or your doctor think your disability will last at least as long as the elimination period. You do not have to wait until the entire elimination period has passed to file a claim.
How do I apply for STD benefits?
Please ask your benefits administrator to provide instructions for filing a claim with us.
Are my STD benefits taxable?
Generally, STD benefits have taxes withheld. For more information about your specific situation, you may wish to consult with your tax advisor.
Are there any other factors that may affect the benefit payment I receive?
Benefits and the income you're eligible to receive from other income sources will be used as an offset when calculating your STD plan benefit. This does not include individual disability insurance policies or your savings program. Some sources of other income are:
- Social Security disability benefits payable to you or your dependents
- Social Security retirement benefits
- Workers' Compensation, occupational disease laws or other similar legislated disability benefits
- No-fault wage replacement benefits
- Other group disability benefits
- Any federal, state or local disability, retirement or unemployment programs
- Payments provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Disability payments from insurance or other sources that result from an act or omission of another person who caused your disability
- Elected retirement benefits or eligible full retirement benefits (at the later of age 62 or normal retirement date).
It is your responsibility to communicate your disability income sources to us.
If you are partially disabled and working, your benefit payments will be subject to the plan's description of how earnings affect the STD benefits.
What happens to my coverage if my employment is terminated?
Your coverage ends. STD cannot be converted to an individual policy. If employment ends during a period of disability, STD benefits continue as long as you remain otherwise eligible under the plan.
What if I can't return to work?
STD benefits continue for disabled employees subject to the plan's requirements for disability and to the maximum benefit period. If you still can't return to work at the end of your STD benefit period, you may be eligible for Long Term Disability benefits.
If I return to work after receiving STD benefits and then go out again for the same diagnosis, is it a continuous claim or a new claim?
You will not have to re-satisfy the elimination period if you recover from a period of disability and the same (or related) disability recurs within the successive period outlined in the plan. If you recover from your disability, return to work and a new disability occurs, this disability will be treated separately, and a new elimination period would be required before STD benefits could begin again.
What disabilities are not covered?
Your disability will not be covered if it does not meet the definition of disability in your plan. In addition, under certain circumstances, some disabilities that otherwise would meet the definition of disability may not be covered by your plan. The list of circumstances may vary based on your employer's specific plan, but your disability is typically not covered if it:
- Is due to any act of war (declared or undeclared)
- Results from committing or attempting to commit a criminal act
- Results from driving an automobile while intoxicated. ("Intoxicated" means the blood alcohol level of the driver of the automobile meets or exceeds the level at which intoxication would be presumed under state law.)
- Is due to insurrection, rebellion or participation in a riot or civil commotion.
- Is due to intentionally self-inflicted injury (while sane or insane)
- Is not a non-occupational disease or injury; except for sole-proprietors or partners who cannot be covered by workers' compensation law.
A person will not be deemed disabled and benefits will not be payable while the person is confined in a penal or correctional institution for conviction of a criminal or other public offense.