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Scared about losing STD/LTD benefits
Sep 21, 1999

I am currently on a disability leave from my employer, with STD and LTD insurance coverage -- the LTD takes effect after 365 days of STD runs out. My original leave was extended from three months to eight months, and now it appears I need to extend the leave again, probably indefinitely (I've applied for SSA disability but I'm at least a month away from hearing from them). After the first extension my employer sent me a letter advising that after the FMLA period runs out, they will "make a reasonable" effort to return me to a comparable position and any further leave beyond the first extention will be evaluated. Do I risk losing my job and STD and LTD benefits if I continue my disability leave? I'm very scared because I don't feel I can return to work but am worried about losing my coverage when I most need it. Thanks.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Your company only has to keep your job available for you during the FMLA period. Once the FMLA period expires, the company can hire a replacement for you. However, even if you are replaced and don't recover to return to work, if you are currently receiving STD benefits, they will continue for the remainder of the 365 days as long as you remain disabled. In addition, since you are in the qualifying period for LTD, you will be able to get LTD once the 365 days of STD runs out (which according to your question is the elimination period for eligibility for LTD under your LTD plan) as long as you satisfy the definition of "disabled" under your LTD plan. The Benefits Department or HR at your company should be able to explain how this would work for you. I suggest that you call them.

Lynn Franzoi



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