How it works
The Long-Term Disability Plan can provide financial protection for employees and their families in the event of a long-term disability.
The Benefits Plan defines disability as being unable to perform regular work duties because of sickness or injury, and, after 24 consecutive months of that disability, being unable to perform any type of work that fits the employee’s education, training, or experience. Lincoln Financial Group, the Board’s business partner for plan administration, must certify all disabilities.
When benefits begin
Once the member applies for benefits, if the disability is approved, payments begin after the member is disabled for 90 consecutive days, or when any severance payments from the employer end, whichever is later.
The Long-Term Disability Plan has a 12-month pre-existing exclusion. This means if the member becomes disabled during the first 12 months that coverage is effective and the disability is due to a condition that was diagnosed or treated (including taking any medication) during the 12 months immediately before coverage started, no long-term disability benefits will be payable.
Amount of benefits
Generally, the monthly disability benefit equals 60 percent of the member’s effective salary up to the IRS maximum ($285,000 in 2020) when he or she becomes disabled.
Disability benefits will be reduced by disability payments received from other sources, such as workers’ compensation and Social Security.
The minimum monthly benefit the member will receive from the plan is $50. Because the employer pays the full cost of coverage, any Long-Term Disability Plan benefits received are taxable when paid to the member.
Ongoing review process
Generally, Lincoln Financial Group reviews disability benefits every three to six months during the first 24 months of the disability and will ask for documents that verify continued disability. In some cases, Lincoln Financial Group may arrange for the member to see an independent medical evaluator (at no expense to the member) to certify that he or she continues to be disabled.
To continue receiving benefits, the member must undergo required evaluations, follow prescribed medical treatment, participate in case reviews and vocational rehabilitation, and provide requested documentation.
When benefits end
Disability benefits end when the member is no longer disabled (as determined by Lincoln Financial Group), or if the member does not comply with plan requirements, reaches the maximum disability eligibility age, or returns to work.
Applying for benefits
A member may apply for Long-Term Disability Plan benefits if unable to work for more than 90 consecutive days while recovering from an illness or injury as long as a physician certifies the disability.
If the member is receiving Temporary Disability Plan benefits through Lincoln Financial Group, a representative from Lincoln will begin the application process for long-term disability benefits as the member approaches the 90th day of disability.
Employers may offer this benefit to employees working at least 20 hours per week who are not in the Death and Disability Plan (which includes a long-term disability benefit).
For the Long-Term Disability Plan, the cost is $0.35 per $100 of monthly salary. The employer pays the full cost of the Long-Term Disability Plan; the employee may not contribute. Because the cost is paid by the employer, benefits are taxable to the employee.
The employer enrolls the employee in the plan; the employee does not need to take any action.