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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    laid off while on short-term disability question

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? MN

    I was notified that I was to be laid off due to financial cut backs at my work. I had previously filed a job accomodation request for a disability that the company never did rule on prior to terminating my position. My employer did have a couple of months to render the decision following their receiving the information from my health care providers. I should mention that I have subsequently obtained a copy of the forms that the doctor sent to the company for the accommodation request. I believe (as best I can understand not being an insurance specialist) that those forms indicated quite strongly that I was in fact too disabled to actually keep working at the position I held.

    I had been ill for some time and was just trying my best to remain employed in spite of my illness. When I was notified that I had only until the end of the month to work and then would be terminated, I went ahead and allowed my doctor to put me on short-term disability. I have applied for Social Security, however I neglected to apply for FMLA. In any case, the company went ahead and terminated me as planned. I have health insurance until the end of this month (March 2009).

    I have a couple of questions:
    1. If I elect to pay for Cobra insurance following my employer paid health
    care expiring, would that mean my short-term disability would still be active?

    2. The paper work that the company sent me indicating my coverage when I was terminates has nothing in it referring to either the short-term or long-term disability. I phoned and asked why they took the long-term disability off of the paperwork for insurance I was paying for. I was told that they terminated it effective on the date they terminated my employment.

    OK, so if that is true, why am I still receiving short-term disability? Is that something I am going to need to turn around and pay back to the company?

    As I have been ill for some time, I have known that the day would likely come in which I might have to take disability. That said, I have always made certain that I have long-term disabiltiy coverage. I am wondering how the short-term (company paid) disability was allowed until the end of March along with the medical insurance, yet the long-term was terminated.

    Does short-term disabiltiy insurance fall under the medical insurance category and the long-term doesn't? Could that be why short-term is still active and the long-term was terminated?

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    First of all, just to be sure you understand, it is a myth that collecting either short or long term disability benefits offers any job protection. Only FMLA provides job protection, and FMLA only provides protection from being termed BECAUSE you took FMLA. Even FMLA does not protect you from a termination for reasons that would have happened anyway. You can quite legally be termed while "on disabilty" of any length.

    Your short term disability benefits are in no way related to your employment. In 30 years of administering employer-sponsored benefits, I have never seen and only once heard of an STD policy (or an LTD one, for that matter) where benefits ended when employment did. In all likelihood, your STD benefits will continue regardless of your employment status and regardless of your health insurance continuation or lack thereof, until either you no longer fit the definition of disabled under the policy or until you have collected for the maximum number of weeks allowed. Once a claim has been accepted, it is rare to the point of being almost unheard of that your STD benefits are in any way connected to either your employment status or your health insurance status. (It is rare to the point of being unheard of that your STD benefits are related to your health insurance status in any case.)

    It is still possible that you will be able to collect LTD benefits even if the policy has been cancelled. Many times, particularly if the STD and LTD policies are with the same carrier, you only have to be covered on the date on which you became ill/were injured for the LTD policy to be available for you. However, only someone who has read your LTD policy can say for certain. It happens enough so that it would be WELL worth your while to apply, even after what you were told.

    Last edited by cbg; 03-03-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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