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Long-Term Disability Leave Procedures

Section 517

Should a serious illness or injury prevent you from working on a partial or total basis for an extended period of time, you may be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits, paid by the college’s LTD insurance carrier. If eligible, LTD benefits begin after the first six months of disability.

For specific details about the LTD benefit, see the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and other plan documents, which provide full details of the LTD benefits.  If there is any discrepancy or conflict between the plan documents and the information provided here, the plan documents will govern.

Eligibility

If you are employed in a regular or limited-term position of half time or more, you are covered under the college's LTD insurance plan.  If you work less than half time or hold a temporary position, you are not eligible for LTD insurance coverage.

Employees apply for LTD benefits directly through the college’s insurance company. If the insurance company determines that you are eligible to receive benefits under the college's LTD insurance plan, you are considered to be on partial or total LTD leave. LTD leave begins on the date you are eligible to begin receiving LTD income benefits.

Benefits While Receiving LTD

LTD income benefits are paid by the insurance company, and the college makes no supplemental salary payments (except in the case of partial disability where an employee may continue to work part-time). You may use sick, vacation, and/or personal time up to six months prior to applying for LTD leave. Once on an approved LTD leave, you are no longer eligible to use accrued paid time off. If you have not accumulated enough paid time to cover the entire six-month period between the date you are disabled and the date you are eligible for LTD income benefits, you may apply for extended sick leave under the Sick Leave Bank (where applicable).  You may also be eligible for paid leave under Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MA PFML).

While receiving LTD benefits, you are not eligible to accrue vacation, personal time or sick leave, and you will not receive compensation for holidays, bereavement leave, jury duty leave, or any other paid leave. If you receive LTD benefits for a partial disability, you may be eligible to accrue paid time off in proportion to the number of hours you actually work.

While on LTD leave for partial or total disability, you are entitled to employee benefits as follows. You remain subject to the specific terms of each insurance contract.

Health, Dental, Life, and LTD Insurance Plans

You may be eligible to participate in the college's group health, dental, life, and LTD insurance plans for up to two years from the beginning of an LTD approval, so long as you are deemed disabled by the LTD Carrier, and subject to the terms of each benefit plan. Your life and LTD insurance will continue at the salary level in effect at the time the LTD leave began. 

The college will continue to pay the employer’s share of the premiums toward your coverage and you will be billed for your share. You must pay your share of the premiums within 30 days of the billing date to ensure continued coverage.  

After two years you may qualify for Medicare benefits or you may elect to participate in the health and dental plans under COBRA. You also have the option to convert to non-group life and LTD insurance policies.

Tuition Assistance Program

You continue to be eligible for tuition benefits for up to two years from the beginning of an LTD leave.

Retirement Plan

If you were participating in the college's retirement plan at the beginning of your LTD leave, you may continue to participate for up to two years. The college will continue to contribute to your retirement contracts at the rate in effect at the time your disability occurred or at the time you go off paid sick leave, whichever is later.

Application Procedures

If you are partially or totally disabled for 30 days and it appears that you will continue to be disabled for more than six months, you should contact the Office of Human Resources for information about how to apply for LTD.  Employees must apply for LTD directly through the college’s insurance company. 

It is important for supervisors and department heads to maintain contact with a disabled employee, both to monitor the disabled employee’s progress and likelihood of returning to work and to provide them with support and a continuous connection to the college. If you are approved for LTD, you should maintain contact with your supervisor to discuss your situation and inform them of your progress.

Return to Work Certification

If you are cleared to return to work (either full-time or part-time), you should ask your provider to complete thePhysician's Approval to Return to Work form. You must submit this completed form to the Office of Human Resources.

To ensure your ability to resume the duties of your job, the college may require an examination by a college-designated physician before your return to work.