Should I consider enrolling in the voluntary short-term disability (STD) plan?
Ask yourself, in the event of a short term illness/disability, would you prefer to have a potential STD benefit to draw income, use accrued PTO/sick leave, or can afford to be without pay? Do you have personal savings or other income sources to support yourself?
How do I know which coverage(s) I am currently enrolled for?
If you would like to confirm which coverage you are already enrolled for, you may call MGIS, Duke's plan record keeping administrator, at 1-800-969-6447 x 139. You may also email MGIS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I enroll for coverage?
You can find an enrollment form here. If you are enrolling more than 30 days after your initial eligibility date, then you will need to submit the Personal Health Application with your enrollment form.
Can I enroll for coverage now if I am currently out of work due to a disabling condition?
You may attempt to enroll; however, any coverage for which you are approved will not become effective until you are actively at work for one full day. Please see FAQs regarding "Pre-existing Conditions" before submitting your enrollment form.
Does the voluntary short-term disability (STD) plan cover job-related disabilities?
No. The voluntary STD plan only pays benefits for disabilities that are non-occupational (off-the-job). Job-related disabilities are covered by Workers' Compensation.
Are benefit payments taxable?
No. Benefit payments for which you have paid the premium with post-tax dollars are not subject to federal, state, or FICA taxes.
Does the voluntary short-term disability (STD) or voluntary long-term disability (LTD) plan cover pre-existing conditions?
A pre-existing condition is one for which you were diagnosed or received care during the 365 day period preceding the date your plan goes into effect (look-back period) will not be covered until you have received no further treatment for that particular condition for 365 consecutive days from the date coverage begins (treatment-free period); or you have been continuously insured under the plan for 365 days (insured period).
Under the STD plan, if approved for benefits, the disability administrator will pay 2 weeks of benefits even if your condition is determined to be a pre-existing condition. Under the LTD plan, the disability administrator will not pay benefits for a pre-existing condition that causes you to become disabled within the first 12 months of your being insured under the LTD plan. Once your disability coverage begins, there is no limitation on submitting a claim for a different, unrelated disability.
Is pregnancy covered?
Yes, if you are covered under the voluntary STD plan. Maternity claims are approved for 6 weeks from the date of delivery, regardless of whether the delivery is a C-section or normal delivery. The STD plan has a standard 6-week benefit period for pregnancy, where four weeks are non-payable due to the 4-week (28 day) elimination period; STD benefits will be paid for the remaining 2 weeks. An STD claim may be approved for longer than 6 weeks if your physician provides medical documentation that substantiates your inability to work.
Please note: If you do not elect STD coverage when first eligible, you are considered a late entrant and subject to medical underwriting. Your enrollment application could be declined. You are allowed to appeal a denial or reapply for coverage if/when your condition changes.
If the employee wants to receive income from both programs, then the approved voluntary short-term benefit would pay first directly after the 4 week (28 day) waiting period for 2 weeks of benefit (normal delivery benefit). Then, the employee can request the 6 consecutive weeks of paid parental leave from Duke after the end of the voluntary STD claim and payments. Per HR policy, the 6 weeks of paid parental leave must be paid consecutively and cannot be split apart. If approved, both benefits should not be received at the same time; otherwise, the paid parental benefit will reduce the voluntary STD benefit. Please be advised that an approved voluntary STD benefit cannot be deferred to a later payment date while on leave of absence (FMLA). The employee is responsible for coordinating the timing and release of the paid parental leave benefit with their department and/or payroll clerk. Also, the voluntary disability administrator, Hartford, should be contacted by the employee directly to confirm approved STD benefit start and end dates as well as duration of benefit payments. Hartford's phone number is 888-277-4767; please provide the Duke group number (#043211) when calling.
Are there any other exclusions?
Yes. Benefits are not payable for disabilities resulting from commission or attempt to commit a felony, or to which a contributing cause was your being engaged in an illegal occupation; war or act of war (declared or not); or military service for any country engaged in war or other armed conflict; or by an intentionally self-inflicted injury.
Can I collect voluntary short-term disability (STD) or voluntary long-term disability (LTD) benefits for days I elect to use sick time or paid time off (PTO)?
No. Although the plan is flexible and gives you the option of using any accrued sick time or PTO before benefits are paid, STD benefits are offset for any days you elect to use sick time or PTO after the 28-day waiting period. Benefits are reduced by the amount of other income benefits you receive while disabled, such as sick/vacation leave, paid time off, parental pay, or Kiel. For example, if an employee was paid $200 in PTO (or sick and vacation time) after the 28-day waiting period, then the voluntary disability carrier would reduce, or offset, the approved short-term disability benefit by the $200 PTO paid as "other income". If the short-term disability benefit payable was $500, then it would be reduced by $200 due to the PTO paid, thus resulting in a $300 STD benefit.
I was approved for Voluntary Disability benefits from Hartford. Will benefit deductions be taken from that check?
No, you will need to make arrangements with the vendors directly for premiums other than health, dental, Basic Life insurance, or Personal Accident insurance. During an unpaid leave of absence, the Human Resource Information Center (919-684-5600) should be contacted for arrangements about the Basic Life insurance, or Personal Accident insurance premiums. As for health and dental insurance, you should be COBRA notified.
Will the health premium remain the same for an employee receiving Voluntary Disability benefits?
In order for the employee to continue to qualify for the employer contribution towards the health premium, the employee must be on an approved FMLA. Otherwise, the total health premium under COBRA would be due.
What should I do prior to my STD benefits expiring?
For benefit eligible employees with 3 years of full-time, continuous service, you may also be eligible for Duke Disability coverage. Please contact the HRIC at 919-684-5600 and ask to speak to the Disability Analyst.
If you have less than 3 years of full-time, continuous service, you may be eligible for benefits under the voluntary Long Term Disability (LTD) plan, if you are enrolled for that coverage, subject to all terms and conditions of the LTD plan. Please contact the HRIC at 919-684-5600 and ask to speak to the Disability Analyst.
For a voluntary long term disability claim, please file your claim within 60 days after your date of disability to allow for proper processing.
I am enrolled in the voluntary LTD plan and I have just met my 3 years of full-time employment with Duke, how do I get the voluntary LTD deduction stopped from my check?
MGIS, the record keeping and billing administrator, is responsible for monitoring the 3-year mark of our employees. MGIS will stop the LTD deduction the first of the month following the 3- year anniversary of the full-time employee.
Can I enroll in the voluntary long-term disability (LTD) plan in order to increase my basic disability coverage above the 60% that I get with the Duke plan?
No, an employee interested in increasing their disability coverage to more than 60% will need to seek sources outside of Duke.
Can I continue my coverage if I terminate from Duke?
Short Term disability insurance is not portable. When employment is terminated, the STD coverage ceases. LTD insurance is portable, given certain requirements are met. In addition, the LTD portable policy has different policy provisions and costs associated with it.
Can I continue coverage while on a leave of absence?
Leave of Absence: If you are on a documented leave of absence, other than Family and Medical Leave, coverage may be continued for 12 month(s) after the month in which your leave of absence commenced. If the leave terminates prior to the agreed upon date, this continuation will cease immediately.
Family and Medical Leave: If you are granted a leave of absence, in writing, according to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or other applicable state or local law, coverage may be continued for up to 12 weeks, or 26 weeks if you qualify for Family Military Leave, or longer if required by other applicable law, following the date your leave commenced. If the leave terminates prior to the agreed upon date, this continuation will cease immediately.
What other income benefits may reduce the amount of my voluntary short-term disability (STD) or voluntary long-term disability (LTD) Benefit?
Your STD and/or LTD benefit amount will be reduced by other income benefits you receive or are eligible to receive from: sick leave, vacation pay, PTO, parental leave and the Kiel Memorial Vacation/PTO Donation Program.
In addition to the specific work absence benefits provided by Duke, your STD benefit amount will also be reduced by Social Security Disability Income or similar plans (such as the Civil Service Retirement System, Railroad Retirement Act, the Jones Act, Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan); the Veteran's Administration or other foreign or domestic governmental agency for the same disability; Workers' Compensation or occupational disease laws, or similar laws; group, association, union or other organizational coverage; employer-related individual policies; governmental law or program that provides disability or unemployment benefits as a result of your job with your employer, disability coverage under your employer's retirement plan; and damages or settlements for income loss.
Your Long Term Disability benefit amount will be reduced by other income benefits you (or possibly your family) receive or are eligible to receive. Examples of such "other income benefits" are income from Social Security Disability Insurance, the Civil Service Retirement System, Railroad Retirement Act, the Jones Act, Canada Pension Plan, the Veteran's Administration, Workers' Compensation or occupational disease laws; group, association, union or other organizational coverage; employer-related individual policies; any disability or unemployment benefits; and damages or settlements for income loss.
For Long Term Disability benefits amounts, retirement benefits are another example of "other income benefits" if the retirement plan is wholly or partially funded by employer contributions, unless you were receiving them prior to becoming disabled, or you immediately transfer the payment to other plan qualified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for the funding of a future retirement.
Your Long Term Disability benefit payments will not be reduced by retirement benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance or similar plans, or by any portion of retirement benefits that you (or your family depending on your plan) receive that are funded by your after-tax contributions if you were receiving them prior to becoming disabled.
Your Long Term Disability benefit payments will not be reduced by your savings or investments, IRAs or Keoghs, profit-sharing, personal disability policies or Social Security Increases.