Please review the FAQs below before or during your short-term disability period to ensure you are fully aware of the duration, coverage, and employee/employer responsibilities during this period. If there is anything not addressed below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
How much do I pay for Basic Short Term Disability (STD) insurance?
Nothing, it is FREE to all benefit eligible staff and faculty. You would only pay a premium is you enroll in Optional STD insurance. Housestaff/medical residents are not eligible to participate in either plan.
What is the STD benefit?
The STD benefit is 60% salary replacement. The Basic Plan provided by UAMS covers your annual salary up to $45,000, for a max weekly benefit of $519.00. If your salary is in excess of $45,000 and you have purchased the Optional STD coverage, your salary is covered up to a maximum of $216,000, for a max weekly benefit of $2,492. The Benefit Waiting Period for STD is 14 days OR when your sick leave is exhausted, whichever is greater. For Pregnancy claims ONLY, your Benefit Waiting Period is 14 day or whenever you CHOOSE to use leave if greater. Once STD benefits are payable, they may be paid for up to 12 weeks, as long as you remain medically Disabled as defined in the STD contract and are not receiving any UAMS pay. Pregnancy claims may be treated differently, so please reach out to HR for timeframes and when to start your leave and file for FMLA.
If I would like to purchase Optional STD, how can I do that? And when is it effective?
There are 3 opportunities to purchase STD:
- As a new employee you can enroll within your first month; coverage would take effect the first day of the following month.
- If your annualized salary changes from below $45,000 to over $45,000, you have 31 days to enroll; coverage would take effect the first day of the following month.
- Current employees may enroll during announced open enrollment periods, usually held each fall; coverage would take effect the following January.
Do I have to exhaust my sick and vacation time before I apply for STD?
For all medical disabilities except maternity; yes, you have to exhaust all your leave time. STD benefits are a salary replacement; therefore, you have to be off payroll in order to be eligible for STD benefit payments. One cannot receive UAMS pay and STD benefit payments at the same time. In the case of maternity, women may choose to go on unpaid leave of absence without exhausting their leave. You’ll find more details about using STD benefits for maternity leave on our website.
What if I don’t have any sick or vacation leave, can I still apply for STD?
Yes. If you will be medically disabled for more than 14 days, you may file an STD claim.
Can I apply for STD if I have a pre-existing condition?
Yes. You are always welcome to file an STD claim. If you have not been insured under either the Basic or Optional STD for at least 4 full months before you go out for a Disabling condition, The Standard will investigate whether you were seen or treating for that specific medical condition for the 90 days before your insurance became effective. Once you’ve been insured 4 full months under either plan, the pre-existing provision does not apply.
For example, if you have been insured under the basic STD plan as of your hire date of 1/1/2022, and you enroll in Optional STD as of 1/1/23, and then cease work 5/25/23 due to your medical condition, your condition is not considered pre-existing and no investigation will be done. This is because you’ve been insured for at least 4 months under the Optional STD plan.
In this example, you were covered under the basic STD plan as of 1/1/2022, then enrolled in the Optional STD as of 1/1/23, and ceased work 2/5/2023 due to a Disabling medical condition, The Standard would first investigate whether you were seen or treated for that medical condition for the 90 days prior to 1/1/2023. If you were seen or treated, a pre0existin limitation would apply and benefits would be paid as if you only had basic STD coverage.
What is the Elimination Period?
The elimination, or Benefit Waiting, Period is 14 days or whenever your leave is exhausted, whichever is greater (excluding pregnancy). For pregnancy related claims, the elimination, or Benefit Waiting, Period is 14 days of whenever you CHOOSE to use leave, whichever is greater. If you are off work for less than 14 calendar days for a medical condition, you would not be eligible for STD benefit payments.
What is the maximum amount of time I can receive STD benefits?
12 weeks. That means you must be medically disabled for at least 14 weeks to reach the maximum benefit period which includes the 14 day elimination period plus 12 weeks of benefits equals 14 weeks.
Why would someone NOT apply for STD?
Remember, STD is a salary replacement benefit. There has to be a loss of salary due to medical disability for one to be eligible for benefit payments. If an employee had enough leave time saved up to cover their absence, then they would not need to file a claim because there was no salary loss. If you’re not sure if you would be eligible for benefits, please contact our office.
Am I required to file a STD claim if I am going to be out longer than 14 calendar days?
It depends on your leave balance. If you have adequate leave to cover your entire absence, then no, you would not file an STD claim. The best time to file a claim is when you know you will miss a paycheck.
Do I earn sick and vacation while I am out on STD?
No. You would have to be on an unpaid leave of absence in order to be eligible for STD benefits, and one does not accrue leave in that status.
How does pregnancy and child birth affect STD benefits?
You can do a number of things when you are pregnant and about to stop working. Please keep in mind STD will pay for a very specific time before and after your give birth.
For a normal uncomplicated pregnancy, meaning you are not on medical bedrest or have work restrictions due to your pregnancy, you are considered Disabled up to 2 weeks prior to your planned delivery date. Once you give birth, you are considered Disabled for 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for a c-section delivery.
For a pregnancy with complications or requiring bedrest or other medical issues, as long as it’s supported medically by your physician, we can GENERALLY accept any date your physician has said you need to stop working due to your pregnancy as part of the STD claim. Please note we do need medical documentation of those complications to see if STD benefits would be payable outside of that normal period of impairment for pregnancy (2 weeks prior and 6-8 weeks after delivery). This means your STD claim could potentially start after 14 days and start paying BEFORE you give birth. Please keep in mind there is a 12-week max benefit period regardless of your medical condition. You do not get a new max benefit period once your give birth, as it’s considered the same claim. This means if you are put on bedrest for 3 months prior to your delivery date, you may want to use more of your leave on the front end of your claim before giving birth to make sure you don’t run out of STD benefits after giving birth.
You cannot receive leave pay and STD benefits at the same time. As a pregnant person, you can choose when you’d like to use leave as it pertains to your STD claim. Most people will use leave for the 14-day Benefit Waiting Period, then let STD pay benefits, then use any remaining leave to fill in during their maternity leave. However, you can choose to use leave for any part of STD claim, however that will affect how benefits are paid. Extending your leave time may affect when and if STD benefits are payable as STD benefits pay for a closed period of time surrounding your last days of pregnancy and delivery. Again, as noted above, medical complications may affect when benefits are payable. Please contact HR or The Standard with any specific questions regarding STD claim involving pregnancy.
Am I required to file an STD claim just because I am going out on maternity leave?
No. An ideal situation would be that you have enough leave time saved up to cover your entire maternity leave, such that you don’t have to file an STD claim. By using your leave time you’d receive full pay, versus 60% max salary replacement under STD. You would file a claim only if you think you’re going to miss a paycheck for the time you are medically disabled.
What if I change my mind about filing a claim after I have been out 4 weeks already? Am I too late to file a claim?
You may file an STD claim up to 6 months after you initially ceased work due to your medical condition. It is advisable to file a claim as soon as reasonably possible after you stop working due to your medical condition.
Does my STD start my last day of work or the date I deliver for a pregnancy related claim?
Your STD claim would begin the day your become Disabled. This is typically the day after you cease work due to your medical condition. For pregnancy, that is 2 weeks or longer prior to delivery date depending on your job duties. A good rule of thumb is 2 weeks prior to scheduled delivery. Most people will serve their 14-day Benefit Waiting Period prior to delivery. Every person and every claim are different so please reach out for guidance on specific situations.
If I didn’t file an STD claim, can I use any combination of sick and vacation for the whole 12 weeks I am out under FMLA? Do I have to exhaust my leave time; can I save some to use later? What will happen if I run out of time before I return to work?
If you don’t file an STD claim, then you are required to use your leave time to continue receiving your normal UAMS pay. But once the baby is born, you can choose to save some of your leave to use later and therefore go on unpaid leave of absence without exhausting all your accrued leave.
Why can I not use my sick time once I have been released from the doctor (typically 6 weeks from date of delivery for vaginal birth and 8 weeks for a C-section)?
Sick leave can only be used for your illness or the illness of an immediate family member. Once you are released by your doctor, you are no longer eligible to use sick leave. Here is the wording from the UA Board Policy, which is consistent with state policy: Paid sick leave is not granted as vacation leave and can be used only when: (1) the employee is unable to perform the employee’s regular duties because of sickness or injury or (2) for treatment by or consultation with a licensed health care provider.
Why would someone NOT file an STD claim? Does it depend on how much leave time they have available?
Yes. In an ideal situation, an employee would have saved up adequate leave time to use for the entire maternity leave so that she would continue to receive full pay. In that case, an STD claim would not be filed.
Can I use sick time for bonding even after my STD claim has ended? What if my child or I am sick – can I use sick time then?
Sick time cannot be used once your doctor has released you back to work. If you choose to take additional time to be with your baby past that time, you are not eligible to use sick leave unless you or your child is sick or have a doctor’s appointment. You can only use vacation time for the bonding time.
Where can I find a copy of the sick leave policy?
Visit the UA System website at www.uasys.edu and select Policies, then UA Board of Trustees Policy 420.3.
How do I file a claim?
It’s easy! You would file a claim by phone by calling Standard Insurance Company at 888-641-7194. Provide the policy number, which is 752587.