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College-wide Policies

Long-Term Disability

Responsible office
Finance & Administration
Responsible party
Director of Human Resources
Last revision
April 2016
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Last review
April 2016
Additional references
None

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

The long-term disability (LTD) plan is administered by the insurance carrier and requires mandatory participation of full-time and part-time faculty and staff after one year of service.  Employees who are at least age 65 by July 1st may opt out of the LTD benefit at Open Enrollment.  If an employee opts-out of LTD, they will not be able to re-enroll at a later date.  If a new employee was insured within three months of hire under a previous employer’s group LTD insurance policy that offered a benefit of five years or more of disability, the employee may participate in Colorado College’s LTD plan upon hire.  Faculty on special senior status, early retirement, or phased retirement are not eligible to participate in the LTD plan.

The Human Resources Department is responsible for administrative oversight and for providing overall guidance of the LTD policy/benefits to the employee and supervisor, and assisting the employee in completing the LTD application documents within the waiting period and submitting completed documents to the insurance carrier. 

Upon the insurance carrier’s approval of an employee’s application for LTD and the conclusion of the applicable waiting period, the plan provides a monthly income benefit equaling up to 60 percent of the employee’s monthly salary at the onset of the disability.  Income benefits will continue to be paid each month during continuous disability (see timeline chart in group disability booklet). 

An annual benefit increase provides an adjustment to the monthly income benefit.   The first increase will take effect 36 months after the date the insurance carrier’s benefits are first payable.  The increase will reflect the percentage change in the U.S. Consumer Price Index but will never be greater than 3 percent. 

Certain conditions must be met for the life insurance benefits to be continued.  The insurance carrier also may waive life insurance premiums for basic life, optional and dependent life insurance plans selected by the employee before the onset of disability, and such policies will remain in effect during the period of continued total disability.  The Accidental Death & Dismemberment plan does not continue during LTD.   (See group life insurance booklet)

Waiting period for LTD benefits 

LTD benefits start on the first day after completion of the waiting period, which is the longer of:

  1. 180 days (six months) of continuous disability from the date of the disability; or
  2. Exhaustion of the period the employee is eligible and approved to receive pay under the college’s supplemental sick-leave plan, medical-leave program or faculty-continuation agreement. 

Option 2 above will be applicable to full-time employees who work less than a 12-month schedule.  For example, if a nine-month full-time employee becomes disabled in the summer when he/she is not normally scheduled to work for the college, the waiting period will be lengthened to include those weeks or months the employee is normally off work.  In such circumstances, if the college provides the employee up to six months’ paid medical leave, as approved by the president, or supplemental sick leave based on service or additional salary under a faculty salary continuation agreement, the waiting period will be met upon exhaustion of available paid leave. 

Example:  An exempt staff or faculty member is on a nine-month appointment. The disability occurs in March and the college grants six months’ paid medical leave.  The paid medical leave would be for April, May, September, October, November, and December (summer not counted because the employee is not scheduled to work).  The LTD effective date, if approved, will start in January. 

Compensation provisions

Faculty and exempt staff may request up to six months’ paid medical leave subject to approval by the president or designee, to coincide with the waiting period.  In extraordinary circumstances, tenured faculty may request salary continuation beyond the six-month period, but the salary continuation will cease no later than one year after the date of the onset of the disability.  Non-exempt staff may request up to six months of paid supplemental sick leave (amount of leave available depends on years of service) in addition to use of accrued sick and vacation. 

Medical leave, benefits and employment status upon award of LTD

Upon approval of LTD, health insurance plans paid by the college cease and the employee’s status is determined in the following manner: 

Non-exempt and exempt staff, and untenured faculty

Tenured faculty

The date of termination coincides with the LTD effective date.  Limited exceptions may be made in the case of employees with lengthy terms of service at the college or where the disability is expected to end and the employee will be able to return to work within a reasonably short period of time from the LTD effective date.  If the employee is not eligible for retirement, COBRA insurance provisions are offered for 18 months.  The terminating employee is offered only the insurance plans selected while in active employment (medical, dental, vision, EAP and life conversions) for continued coverage.  If the employee is eligible for retirement, the terminating employee may continue to participate in the group health plan as a retiree. 

On the LTD effective date, tenured faculty are placed in a leave without pay status (LWOP) and notice is given to the faculty member that tenured status will end if he/she is unable to return to work within one year from the LTD approval date.  Such action is necessary to allow the college and department to hire a tenure-line replacement.  Limited exceptions may be granted by the president in the case of faculty with lengthy terms of service at the college or where the disability is expected to end and the faculty member will be able to return to work within a reasonably short period of time after the expiration of the LWOP period.  If the faculty member does not return in one year, COBRA and retirement benefits will be offered in the same manner as to non-tenured employees (see above).  Health benefit coverage will remain the same during the one-year LWOP period, with the college and employee covering the same percentage as before LWOP began.

Procedures

Long-term disability requires an application to The Standard Insurance Company.  The Standard determines disability for purposes of the LTD plan.

Employees who anticipate the need for LTD coverage should work with Human Resources to obtain and submit the application as soon as the need is determined.