Disability: Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits

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Disability

A disabling illness or injury can result in severe financial concerns for you and your family.  Georgetown automatically enrolls those who are eligible in short term and long term disability coverage.  These plans are designed to replace a portion of your income if you are unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury. 


Short Term Disability Insurance
Short Term Disability (STD) benefits begin after you are unable to work due to a non-work related injury or illness after you have satisfied any required elimination period.

Who's Eligible
Staff, including those represented by Allied Union and SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East (SEIU), scheduled to work 30 or more hours per week.

Effective Date of Coverage

  • For staff, including those represented by Allied Union, coverage begins immediately upon employment.

  • For staff represented by SEIU, coverage begins after 90 days of continuous active employment or 90 days of continuous active employment after a qualified change of employment status, such as transferring from part-time to a full-time benefits-eligible position.

 

For staff, including those represented by Allied Union, coverage begins immediately upon employment.

 

How It Works
For a step-by-step overview to initiate a STD claim download the GU Employee Disability Checklist.

STD benefits replace 100% of  your income (60%, up to a $6,730 maximum, if you are represented by SEIU) in the event you become unable to work due to an injury, illness, or other medical scenario such as a scheduled surgery or birth of a child.  Before you can begin realizing these benefits you must first satisfy a 15-day elimination period. 

Benefits are coordinated with any salary, wages, earnings or other plan benefits. Benefits continue until the earliest of:

  • The date you are no longer disabled;
  • The date you reach the “recovery limit” for your type of
    disability; or 
  • The date you reach the maximum benefit period of ten weeks (23 weeks for SEIU).

Maternity Claims
If you wish to take additional time off after the birth of your child, you may be able to take paid or unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").   Refer to the University's Family and Medical Leave Policy for more information. IMPORTANT:  You must receive approval from your department head if you are planning to use leave after your STD benefits expire.

If your approved leave will be unpaid and you will be absent for more than 45 days, you will need to pay for your University sponsored medical and dental benefits by personal check. Contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits at benefitshelp@georgetown.edu or at 202-687-2500 to make arrangements.

Please note that having a child constitutes a "qualifying change of family status", and entitles you to make changes to your medical insurance, dental insurance, and flexible spending plan outside of the open enrollment period.  If you would like to add your newborn child to your insurance, you must do so within 90 days of the child's date of birth.  Additionally, you may wish to make changes to other benefit plans that do not have open enrollment restrictions. 

Matrix Absence Management
Matrix Absence Management, a Reliance Standard Life company, provides disability benefits to Georgetown faculty (LTD) and staff (STD and LTD). You may file your STD or LTD claim directly with Matrix at 1-866-533-3438 or online at www.matrixefiling.com.

How Does The Fifteen Working Day Elimination Period Work?
This means that you must be disabled for at least fifteen continuous working days before STD benefits will be paid. During the fifteen-day elimination period you must use your paid leave or sick leave bank. If you do not have enough leave, you will not be paid for the period after your leave is exhausted, and the remainder of the elimination period will be unpaid.

When Short Term Disability Benefits End 
You will be expected to return to work after your disability period ends. Should you exhaust the Disability Leave period and your physician determines that you are unable to return to work due to disability, you may elect to file for Long Term Disability ("LTD") benefits. LTD benefits are administered through Matrix Absence Management.

 


Salary Continuance
Salary continuance is short term disability leave that is fully paid for, and administered, by your department. 

Who's Eligible
Full-time faculty and AAPs are eligible for salary continuance.

How It Works
Faculty members and AAPs are covered under the Plan on the first day of work. There is no waiting period. Eligible employees automatically become participants in the Plan.

Short term disability claims for faculty and AAPs are handled through the Department Heads or Deans in the area in which you work.

  • Law Center -- You should apply through the Personnel and Payroll Officer.
  • Main Campus -- You should contact the Office of the Provost (Main Campus Faculty Records and Appointments) for information regarding application and procedures.
  • Medical Center --You should apply through the Medical Center Personnel.

Each area of the University administers the plan in a slightly different manner. Generally speaking, however, you will be asked to provide corroborating documentation of your disability to the department.

Your salary will continue during your disability as if you were not disabled. All your deductions (taxes, retirement plan contributions, insurance premium payments, etc) will continue as normal. The Disability Leave period can last for up to three months.

This plan provides you with 100% of your salary. Benefits can continue until

  • The date you are no longer disabled;
  • The date you reach the “recovery limit” for your type of
    disability; or
  • The date you reach the maximum benefit period of three months.

Maternity Claims
If you wish to take additional time off after the birth of your child, you may be able to take paid or unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). Refer to the University's Family and Medical Leave Policy for more information. IMPORTANT: You must receive approval from your department head if you are planning to use leave after your STD benefits expire.

If your approved leave will be unpaid and you will be absent for more than 45 days, you will need to pay for your University sponsored medical and dental benefits by personal check. Contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits at benefitshelp@georgetown.edu or at 202-687-2500 to make arrangements.

Please note that having a child constitutes a "qualifying change of family status", and entitles you to make changes to your medical insurance, dental insurance, and flexible spending plan outside of the open enrollment period.  If you would like to add your newborn child to your insurance, you must do so within 90 days of the child's date of birth. Additionally, you may wish to make changes to other benefit plans that do not have open enrollment restrictions.  

When Salary Continuance Ends
You will be expected to return to work after your disability period ends. Should you exhaust the Disability Leave period and your physician determines that you are unable to return to work due to disability, you may elect to file for Long Term Disability ("LTD") benefits.  LTD benefits are administered through Matrix Absence Management.  To initiate a LTD claim, refer to the GU Employee Disability Checklist.  


 
Long Term Disability

Long Term Disability (LTD)  benefits begin after you are unable to work, due to an illness or injury, for:

  • 180 calendar days if you are an employee represented by SEIU
  • 90 calendar days for other eligible employees


Who is Eligible?
You are eligible to participate in this Plan if you are:

  • A staff employee, including members of the Allied International Union and SEIU, hired to work 30 hours per week or more; or
  • an academic employee hired to work 75% time or more.

Please note that if you are eligible to participate in this plan, and were hired on or after September 1, 1990, you are required to do so. All new employees hired on or after this date cannot "opt out" of participation in this Plan. Additionally, all employees who elected to participate on September 1, 1990 cannot opt out at this time.

Do I Need To Enroll?
If you are a staff member covered by Short Term Disability Insurance, there is no enrollment process on your part for this plan. Enrollment is automatic.

If you are a faculty member or AAP who has been out on salary continuance, you will need to initiate your LTD claim with Matrix Absence Management.  Please refer to the GU Employee Disability Checklist for step-by-step instructions.


What Level Of Benefit Does This Plan Provide?
The plan provides a benefit of 60% of base pay to a maximum paid benefit of $15,000 per month ($300,000 per year) for faculty, AAP, and staff (including Allied Union).  Staff represented by SEIU receive 60% of base pay to a maximum of $5,000 per month.  The benefit begins after a 3 month waiting period (6 months for employees represented by SEIU ) and coordinates with Salary Continuance (for Faculty & AAP's) or Short Term Disability (for Staff).

In addition to providing income to disabled participants, the plan provides an ancillary death benefit in certain instances. The Plan will pay your eligible survivor a lump sum benefit equal to three months of your gross disability payment if, on the date of your death, your disability had continued for 180 or more consecutive days and you were receiving (or entitled to receive) payments under the Plan. The Plan specifically reserves the right to reduce the survivor benefit by any overpayment which may exist on your claim on as of your date of death.

Am I Required To Participate In This Plan?
If you were hired before September 1, 1990, participation in this Plan was voluntary. When participation in this plan became mandatory for new employees, existing employees were given an option of joining this plan, and paying the corresponding employee premiums, or remaining in the old plan and not paying employee premiums. You may utilize our online LTD premium calculator to determine your cost.  If you elected to stay in that older plan, and decided against participating in this Plan, you are covered under a separate LTD program.  For more information on the former plan, contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits at 202-687-2500.


Are My LTD Benefits Deducted From My Pay on a Pre or Post Tax Basis?
If I Collect LTD Benefits, Are Those Benefits Taxable?

Your premiums are deducted from your pay on a post-tax basis. This is done so that if you ever make an LTD claim, the benefit will not be taxable. Benefits experts agree that funding the plan with post-tax employee premiums is most advantageous to participants. Please note that in the past, part of the cost was paid by the participant and part was paid by the employee. Therfore, in certain cases the LTD benefit is partially taxable for participants already collecting LTD benefits.

Employees on LTD will be provided with tax reporting forms directly from Matrix Absence Management. These forms will indicate the taxable and non-taxable portion of the LTD benefit.

How Does This Plan's Offset Provisions Work?
LTD benefits are reduced, or offset, by any wages, benefits collectible under Workers' Compensation, Primary Social Security, or any other benefit you receive under any other group disability plan. Therefore, the Plan's objective is to provide you with 60% of your pre-disability income when all sources of your disability income are considered. LTD benefits are also reduced by any early benefit received under a University sponsored retirement plan. However, any retirement account balance you have in your Voluntary Contribution Retirement Plan or your Defined Contribution Retirement Plan are exempt from this rule. Please note that the University cannot force any individual to retire when he or she is collecting LTD benefits.

How Long Will I Receive This Benefit If I Am Disabled?
The benefit will continue until you are no longer disabled (i.e., unable to perform the duties of your occupation), or for five years, whichever occurs first. Benefits are paid beyond five years only if you are unable to engage in any occupation for which you are reasonably trained. LTD benefits will normally cease when you attain the social security retirement age. Your benefits may continue past age 65, depending on the age you become disabled.  All active employees will receive LTD benefits for at least one year. Therefore, all active employees pay LTD premiums, regardless of age.

Please note that the maximum period of payment will tend to decrease as you age (see table below). Although this may seem most obvious for employees who are older than age 60, because these participants are impacted by the maximum payout provisions, it actually is true for all employees. For example, an employee who becomes disabled at 30 will receive benefits for a longer period of time compared to an employee who becomes disabled at 40. Please note that the corresponding employee premium does not change as participants age, even for those participants who are 60 or older. In order to keep the premiums affordable for all employees, we do not use the participant's age as a factor in setting the premium. The only factor affecting the premium is the participant's salary. This premium leveling technique results in more affordable and stable employee premiums.



Pre-existing Condition Exclusions
Benefits are not payable for disabilities resulting from pre-existing conditions that occur during the first year of participation in the plan.


Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA's)
This plan does not provide for COLA's. Therefore, the disability payment a participant receives does not increase, regardless of how long the benefit is paid.

What Other Benefits Will I Receive When I Am Collecting LTD Benefits?
When you are receiving LTD benefits, the University will continue to make contributions on your behalf to the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan if you were enrolled in that Plan prior to becoming disabled. Your employee contributions (3%) cease, of course, because you are no longer being paid from Georgetown. If you were a participant in the Georgetown University Retirement Plan ("GURP") prior to becoming disabled, you will continue to earn vesting and contribution credits during your disability. You cannot make contributions to the Voluntary Contribution Retirement Plan while on disability. You may retain your medical insurance while on LTD, as long as you continue to pay the employee premiums. You cannot add a dependent (spouse or dependent child) once on LTD. Because you will no longer be receiving compensation from the University, the Benefits Office will send you a monthly invoice for this insurance coverage.

Individuals on Long Term Disability are not entitled to Tuition Benefits for themselves, but can use TAP for their children, but only if that child or those children were using TAP benefits at the time the individual became disabled.

Questions?
If you have any questions about this plan, please contact us at benefitshelp@georgetown.edu

Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits · Georgetown University
37th & O St NW, Ground Floor, Healy Hall · Washington, DC 20057-1021
tel. (202) 687-2500 · fax. (202) 687-2389 ·
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