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, scheduled to work 30 or more hours per week.

Effective Date of Coverage

STD coverage begins immediately upon employment or qualified change of employment status (i.e. transferring from part-time to a full-time, benefits-eligible position).

How It Works

STD benefits replace 100% of  your income 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 receiving these benefits, you must first satisfy a 15 workday 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.

To initiate the claims process, employees should contact Matrix Absence Management directly at 1-866-533-3438. To stay on top of your STD claims process, download the Employee Disability Checklist.

Matrix Absence Management

Matrix Absence Management, a Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, provides both short and long term disability benefits for staff employees. You may file your STD or LTD claim directly with Matrix at 1-866-533-3438 or online at www.matrixefiling.com. You may initiate your claim up to 30 days prior to your date of disability. Have your doctor's contact information on hand to expedite the intake process.

Stay on top of your claims process and paperwork by downloading the Employee Disability Checklist

Matrix will guide you through the intake process and send a packet of additional forms to be completed by you and your doctor (request the packet to be sent via email for the fastest turn around). These forms should be returned directly to your Matrix claims examiner, please do not send any Short Term Diability paperwork to the Office of Faculty & Staff Benefits. Matrix will review your claim and notify you of approval and expected disability period. If approved, Matrix notifies our office and you will be paid according to the regular University pay schedule once your waiting period is satisfied. It is imparartive that you return all required documentation to Matrix as quickly as possible in order for your claim to be reviewed and payments to be processed in a timely manner. 

How Does The Fifteen Working Day Elimination Period Work?

This means that you must be disabled for at least fifteen continuous working days (3 weeks) before you Short Term Disability benefits kick in. During the fifteen-day elimination period you must use any accrued paid or sick leave . If you do not have enough paid leave accrued, the remainder of the waiting period will be unpaid. You must submit a time off request in GMS for this time. 

When Short Term Disability Benefits End 

You will be expected to return to work after your disability period ends. Should you exhaust the Short Term 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 Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. 

Salary Continuance

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

Who's Eligible

Full-time faculty and AAPs hired to work at 75% FTE are eligible for salary continuance. 

How It Works

Salary Continuance benefits replace 100% of your income 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. There is no waiting period for benefits under this plan. 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.

Short term disability claims for faculty and AAPs are handled through the Department Heads or Deans in the area in which you work. The Office of Faculty & Staff Benefits is not involved in the administration of these benefits. Contact the department listed below for your campus for general policies and procedures. 

  • Law Center - Personnel and Payroll Officer, Melvinia Towns
  • Main Campus - Office of the Provost (Main Campus Faculty Records and Appointments) for information regarding application and procedures.
  • University Services & Medical Center - Human Resources Generalist for your department 

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 usual. 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. 

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 Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company.  To initiate a LTD claim, contact the Office of Faculty & Staff Benefits.  

 Long Term Disability

Long Term Disability (LTD)  benefits begin after you are unable to work, due to an illness or injury, for 90 calendar days.

Who is Eligible? 

Faculty, Staff and AAPs, including those represented by Allied Union and SEIU 1199, scheduled to work 30 or more hours per week or 75% FTE.

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.

How it Works

The benefit begins after a 3 month waiting period and are coordinated with Salary Continuance or Short Term Disability and any salary, wages, earnings or other plan benefits. The plan provides a benefit of 60% of base pay (tax-free) up to a maximum paid benefit of $15,000 per month ($300,000 per year) for faculty, AAP, and staff or $5,000 per month for SEIU members. The benefit will continue until the first of the following:

  • You are no longer disabled;
  • You reach social security retirement age; or
  • After receiving benefits for five years.

There are some exceptions to these rules. Benefits are paid beyond five years only if you continue to be 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, however, your benefits may continue past age 65, depending on the age you become disabled.  

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.

Ancillary Death Benefit

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?

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 employer. 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 Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. 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.

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 and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), the University will continue to make a 5% contribution 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, Colonial HealthCare will send you a monthly invoice for this insurance coverage and will pay your premiums directly to them. 

Individuals on Long Term Disability are not entitled to Tuition Benefits for themselves, but can use TAP for their children only if the child(ren) was 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