Long-Term Disability Insurance
- How to File a Long-Term Disability Claim
- Receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits
- Employment Status While on Long-Term Disability
- Returning to Work
- Making Changes to Long-Term Disability Coverage
Long-term disability insurance (LTDi) is administered by Unum and is a core benefit for faculty and staff that pays 60 percent of your annual base benefits rate, up to a maximum monthly benefit of $33,000, if you ever become disabled and are unable to work for six months or longer. The LTDi benefit also includes a 10% monthly contribution to your retirement account if you are a participant in the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan.
Automatic enrollment in LTDi occurs on the first of the month after your one-year anniversary for faculty and staff and immediately for house staff, so no enrollment is necessary. You may be able to waive the one-year wait if you had group LTDi coverage within 30 days prior to coming to work at Vanderbilt. Complete and submit the Long-Term Disability Certification of Prior Coverage Form within 90 days of your hire date to waive the one-year wait. If approved, full long‐term disability coverage must be effective on your hire date. Any missed LTDi premiums will be collected from future paychecks.
Vanderbilt pays for basic LTDi which covers the first $24,000 of your annual base pay. You pay for full coverage between $24,000 and your annual base pay. You can waive full coverage at any time (above the $24,000 that Vanderbilt pays) by completing and submitting the Full Long-term Disability Plan Waiver .
How to File a Long-Term Disability Claim
If you expect to be out of work for six months or more you should begin the LTDi application process within 30 days after the disability begins or as soon as possible so that a claim decision can be made in a timely manner. Generally, the application process may take two to three months. There is a six-month period between the onset of the condition constituting a disability and when benefits are payable1. However, the LTDi application should be submitted within 12 months of the onset of the disability for consideration for this benefit.
Effective 1/1/2013, The Hartford is being replaced by Unum as Vanderbilt's long-term disability insurance carrier. To determine if you should file your disability claim with Unum or The Hartford look to see what date you first saw your treating physician for your illness/accident.
- If your physician advised you needed to stop working and this date was in December 2012 or earlier, please file your claim with The Hartford.
- If your physician advised you need to stop working and the date was January 2013 or after, please file your claim with Unum.
- If you are already approved for short-term disability insurance by The Hartford, if approved, your LTD claim will be handled by The Hartford as well.
To file a claim with The Hartford, call 800.445.9057 or go to www.thehartfordatwork.com. You will need to reference the Vanderbilt contract number GL-675024 and you will be required to provide information from your doctor's office.
To file a claim with Unum, call 800-836-6900. You may need to reference the Vanderbilt contract number 224888 and you will be required to provide information from your doctor's office. Please refer to Unum's Telephonic Brochure for more information.
A claim will be set up on your behalf and a questionnaire will be sent to the Office of Benefits Administration for completion, with the assistance of your department. When the disability carrier is in receipt of the completed application, they will notify you and the Office of Benefits Administration if your claim is approved as eligible for LTDi benefits.
Receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits
What is Provided:
Long-term disability insurance provides two standard payment benefits. Those benefits include:
- an income payment of a percentage of covered monthly earnings exclusive of overtime pay, bonuses and other types of extra compensation, and
- a contribution of 10% of retirement eligible salary to your Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan account(s).
When Benefits Begin:
Benefits begin on the first day following six (6) consecutive months of total disability as defined by the plan and determined by Unum. LTDi payments continue for as long as the disability lasts or up to age 65, whichever occurs first. If disability occurs after age 60, the maximum period of LTDi payments is based upon the following schedule:
|Age When Disabled||Benefits Payable|
|Prior to Age 60||To Age 65, but not less than 5 years|
|Age 60 – 64||5 years|
|Age 65 - 69||To Age 70, but not less than 1 year|
|Age 70 and over||1 year|
Unum Defines Disability When:
- you are limited from performing the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation due to your sickness or injury; and
- you have a 20% or more loss in your indexed monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury; and
- during the waiting period, you are unable to perform any of the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation.
Use of Leave Accumulations
During the six-month period, you must use all accrued leave available, sick, vacation and personal, before going into an unpaid status. In cases of a delayed application for LTDi benefits, the approval may happen after the six-month waiting period ends. Because of this, part of the LTDi payment may be made retroactively given the following considerations:
- If the LTDi payment is approved and leave accumulations have been used, no LTDi payments will be made for the period covered by the sick time.
- If no leave time was available following the six-month leave of absence, the approved LTDi payment will be paid once the six-month elimination period has been satisfied.
- If the LTDi company denies the claim and you have not been out beyond six months (maximum leave available under our policy), and remains under the care of a physician, you can continue the leave for the balance of the six months.
- If the LTDi company denies the claim and you have been out beyond six months, you may be either returned to work or terminated.
NOTE: If an application has been submitted to The Hartford or Unum for LTDi payments, but the approval takes longer than six months, the staff member who has leave time available may continue to remain in a paid status until one of two things occurs: approval/denial is given for the benefit or accruals are exhausted. This is an exception to the use of Sick Time accruals and the maximum leave time available under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Tennessee Maternity Leave Act (TMLA) policy.
Employment Status While on Long-Term Disability
Once disability benefits are approved, a Personnel Action Form will be completed, placing you on Leave of Absence due to Long-term Disability.
During the time you are paid Long-term Disability benefits, you are considered to be in an active, 'unpaid, status' with Vanderbilt. Unpaid status with Vanderbilt will result in having to pay other benefit premiums (such as health, dental, or life insurance) through direct billing if the unpaid status is in place for longer than one pay period. For information about direct billing contact the Benefit Billing Office by calling 615.322.3278 or emailing email@example.com.
Returning to Work
If you return to work as an active, full-time employee for 6 month(s) or more, any recurrence of a disability will be treated as a new disability. A new disability is subject to a new Elimination Period and a new Maximum Duration of Benefits. Please notify the Office of Benefits Administration when you anticipate returning to work at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.322.8977.
You may return to work so long as you have been released by your physician and there is an available position in your department. Long-term disability benefits are a protection of your income. Please refer to your department for the status of a vacant position.
Making Changes to LTDi Coverage
You can waive full coverage at any time (above the $24,000 that Vanderbilt pays) by completing and submitting the Full Long-term Disability Plan Waiver .
If you have waived Full Long-term Disability and wish to reenroll at a later date, you must submit Evidence of Insurability satisfactory to Unum.
What is Evidence of Insurability?
If you are required to submit Evidence of Insurability, you must:
- complete and sign a health and medical history form provided by Unum;
- submit to a medical examination, if requested;
- provide any additional information and attending physicians' statements that Unum may require; and
- furnish all such evidence at Your own expense.
Unum will then determine if you are insurable under the plan.
This information is not meant to replace the Summary Plan Descriptions, which are the governing documents for Vanderbilt benefits. For complete details on the long-term disability insurance benefit, refer to the Long-Term Disability Summary Plan Description .
Long-term disability insurance is a fully insured benefit and is administered by Unum.
1 Consistent with the Long-Term Disability Plan Document, the decision for approval of the benefit is made by the Third Party disability insurance company.