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Common Questions

What is the difference between Short Term Disability Benefit and Long Term Disability Insurance?

The Short Term Disability Benefit replaces lost income should a cleric or lay employee become medically disabled for more than 30 days. If necessary, benefits continue for up to 52 weeks. Active participants in the Clergy Pension Plan are automatically enrolled in this coverage through The Church Pension Fund. Your organization may also provide Short Term Disability as a benefit to lay employees, or they may purchase it on their own.

Long Term Disability Insurance benefits begin after the insured individual is disabled for 12 months, and continue until he or she is able to work again, or generally until he or she reaches age 65. Your organization may provide this coverage as a benefit to clergy and/or lay employees, or they may purchase it on their own.

Short Term Disability Benefit

Who is eligible for short term disability coverage?

Active clergy who are participants in the Clergy Pension Plan and lay employees who work for pay at least 20 hours a week.

How soon does short term disability coverage begin when a clergy member or lay employee starts a new position, resumes work after a break in service or following ordination or reception?

Coverage begins on the clergy member’s first day of work. If your organization provides this coverage as a benefit to lay employees, their coverage also begins on their first day of work. Lay employees who purchase their own Short Term Disability Benefit are covered on the day they enroll.

If a lay employee is enrolled after 31 days of employment, an Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form must be submitted and reviewed by Liberty Mutual* and enrollment is not guaranteed.

*Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston

What is the enrollment process for Short Term Disability?

If you are providing Short Term Disability as a benefit to lay employees, enroll your organization in employer-paid plan by submitting the Employer Enrollment Form for employer-paid disability plans to CPG.  

If a lay employee is purchasing short term disability benefits, submit the Enrollment Data Collection Form to CPG.

Active clergy are automatically enrolled.

What is the elimination period for Short Term Disability?

The elimination period is the length of time of continuous disability that must be satisfied before benefits can begin. For Short Term Disability, the elimination period is 30 days.

How much is the Short Term Disability Benefit?

As the employer, your organization will receive 70% of the clergy member's regular compensation (up to $1,000 per week) to cover the cost of hiring a temporary worker. Your church organization is required to pay disabled clergy their full compensation while receiving short term disability benefits.

Lay employees with Short-Term Disability Benefit receive 70% of their salary (up to $1,000 per week) directly from their insurance provider. However, if your organization decides to pay disabled lay employees their full compensation, their disability benefit will be paid to your organization.

Who receives the Short Term Disability Benefit?

The employing organization receives the Short Term Disability Benefit for clergy. In most cases, lay employees receive short term disability benefits directly.

How long can short term disability benefits be received?

Short term disability benefits can be received for up to 52 weeks.

Why would short term disability coverage be terminated?

Short Term Disability coverage is terminated if and when:

  • Pension assessments become at least six months in arrears for covered clergy;
  • Employment is terminated and clergy pension assessments are no longer being paid;
  • The employee starts receiving retirement benefits;
  • The employee is no longer disabled; or
  • The insurance plan is terminated.

Long Term Disability Insurance

Who is eligible for Long Term Disability Insurance?

All active clergy and lay employees who work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for Long Term Disability.

How soon is a clergy member or lay employee covered by Long Term Disability Insurance after beginning a new position, after a break in service or following ordination or reception?

If your organization provides Long Term Disability Insurance as a benefit, employees are eligible for coverage on their first active day of work. If the employee pays a portion or his entire monthly premium, he is covered:

  • On the date the employee applies for insurance, if he or she applies within 31 days of his first active day of work; or
  • The date Liberty Mutual*, the disability claims administrator, approves the employee's application, if he or she applies more than 31 days after of the first day of work.

* Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston

What is the enrollment process for Long Term Disability Insurance?

Employer-Provided Plan:
If you provide Long Term Disability Insurance as a benefit of employment, all eligible employees must be enrolled with the coverage within 31 days of their date of hire or the date the plan was adopted by the employee. If you enroll after 31 days, your organization will be responsible for back premiums.

Voluntary Plan:
When a new employee decides to purchase Long Term Disability Insurance individually, be sure to enroll him or her within 31 days of their date of hire. After 31 days, an Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form is required, and acceptance is not guaranteed.

What is the elimination period for Long Term Disability Insurance?

The elimination period is the length of time of continuous disability that must be satisfied before benefits can begin. For long term disability, the elimination period is 360 days.

Who receives the long term disability benefits?

Long term disability benefits are paid directly to the employee.

How long do long term disability benefits continue?

As long as the employee remains disabled, long term disability benefits will continue depending on the employee's age at the time his disability began. If he is:

  • Under age 60: he may receive benefits until he reaches age 65
  • Age 60 – 64: he may receive benefits for up to 5 years
  • Age 65 – 69: he may receive benefits until he reaches age 70 (benefits may continue for up to one year if he is 69 ½ when his disability first occurs)
  • Age 70 or older: he may receive benefits for one year

Why would Long Term Disability coverage be terminated?

Long Term Disability coverage is terminated if and when:

  • The policy or plan is canceled,
  • The employee covered becomes ineligible for the policy,
  • Premiums are not paid on the employee's behalf, or
  • The employment is terminated.

The termination does not apply for a leave of absence or a termination with coverage.

When should a clergy member consider Disability Retirement?

Disability Retirement should be considered if the disability is total and continuing to the point that the employee expects to never be able to resume working.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment

Who is eligible for Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage?

Active clergy who are younger than age 70 and enrolled in Group Life Insurance may receive Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage.

 

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