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Laid off while out of disability Tennessee

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  • Laid off while out of disability Tennessee

    This is a recap of another post. Changed my username because before, it was my email address.

    My initial post:
    Laid off while on disability - TN Tennessee

    Hi,
    I was recently laid off as part of a company wide layoff. I know this is legal and have no issues with this. What concerns me is I had long term disability insurance at this company that guaranteed 66% of my salary. When I asked about this on our phone conversation where they told me, they said that only applied if I was "employed".

    I do understand that but I am currently out of disability so figure the benefit of the long term should continue to apply.

    They are being generous, by letting my laid off date, be my "return to work" date, if that is in February like it is planned. I know they aren't being generous out of the good nature of their hearts but feel they are letting me "stay on" for a month hoping to avoid any issues. They did say if my "return to work" was not in February, they would have to re-evaluate the decision to keep me on.

    I don't know who to turn to and ask questions. I could understand if I was disabled during the continuance of my insurance which is 3 months from the date of termination, but I was out of disability for months prior to this layoff.

    I don't feel I can get straight answers from the company. I got a letter just last week saying I was now on their "disability plan" and that job status would not change until 12 months after I went out, which would be 10/30/2009. I understand this letter was written prior to the layoff annoucements.

    I'm in TN...any suggestions would be most appreciated! I'm a single mom livign paycheck to paycheck. This was my 3rd back surgery and the only reason I am concerned is that it is still very painful to sit and I did computing, so sitting was my job! I have degenerative disc disease and if I'm to go our on disability, having this insurance is a way to tide you over until you are offically approved by Social Security. I'm just trying to cover all my bases. Help!


    A reply from cbg:
    Were you currently out on disability at the time of the layoff? Or were you anticipating going out in future? It makes a difference.

    Followup by me:
    I have been out on disability since 10/30/2008.

    I did get signed in and read my long term disability book last night and it does say I have that allowance after being out of work for 6 months. If thats the case, I would have to still be employed until May? Or would the fact I had it when I was employed make it still available to me?


    Another reply by cbg:
    Given that you are already collecting benefits, whether they will continue after your employment ends is a matter of the disability policy, not of the law. The law in your state (or most states) does not address this directly.

    I have not read your policy so I can't say what it requires. What I can tell you is that in 30 years of administering employer-sponsored benefits, I have never seen and only once heard of a policy where benefits ended with your employment.

    Had you not already been collecting benefits, your employment status would have had more of an effect. If your disability began after your employment ended it would be unlikely that you would be able to collect. Under the circumstances, though, the odds are in your favor.

    And now, my current question:
    cbg, who I would I ask those questions too? I called my corporate benefit manager and they told me I'd have to go to my plant representative. I've sent an email, no reply yet. I would really like to pursue it as I don't want to go back too soon and cause issues with my back. Also, it's a catch 22, I can work and I feel I will have to have my next surgery sooner, or not work, and perhaps eliminate another back surgery altogether.

  • #2
    If your corporate benefits manager is telling you to go to your plant representative, then that's who you should go to.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by cbg View Post
      If your corporate benefits manager is telling you to go to your plant representative, then that's who you should go to.
      My reply from our HR VP, via email is that she thought she answered all my questions on the phone call the other day, which was to say she said my disability benefits end with my employment.

      In what way would you ask the question? I'm get tongued-tied when trying to think of how to ask it directly.

      "How come since I'm utilizing the benefit of disability at this point, and if the doctor continues to not release me to work, how come that benefit won't continue?"

      Comment


      • #4
        How about this?

        Under the law, she is required to provide you with a copy of the plan document on request.

        Why don't you ask for a copy of the plan document and see for yourself what it says? That way, you'll have something in front of you that you can refer to when you talk to her.

        Or, alternately, you can contact the insurance carrier and ask them.

        If you get a copy of the plan document, and you want to post the section on eligibility here, we can help. The only thing is, a paragraph taken out of context can be misleading, so you'd have to post the ENTIRE section on eligiblity.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          I was able to download a PDF copy of our Long Term Disability manual from our company benefit website. One issue might be I am not considered "long term" yet:

          SCHEDULE OF BENEFITS
          Policy Effective Date: January 1, 2003
          Policy Anniversary Date: January 1
          Revised and Reissued Date: January 1, 2005
          Policy Number: LK-960060
          Eligible Class Definition: All active, Full-time salaried Employees of the Employer.
          Eligibility Waiting Period
          If you were hired on or before
          the Policy Effective Date: No Waiting Period
          If you were hired after
          the Policy Effective Date: No Waiting Period
          Benefit Waiting Period The later of 180 days or the expiration of salary continuation
          Disability Benefit The lesser of 66.67% of your monthly Covered Earnings rounded to
          the nearest dollar or your Maximum Disability Benefit, reduced by
          any Other Income Benefits.
          "Other Income Benefits" means any benefits listed in the Other Income Benefits provision that you receive on
          your own behalf.
          Maximum Disability Benefit $20,000 per month
          Minimum Disability Benefit The lesser of $100 or 10% of your Monthly Benefit prior to any
          reductions for Other Income Benefits.
          Maximum Benefit Period
          Age When Disability Begins Maximum Benefit Period
          Age 62 or under Your 65th birthday or the date the 42nd Monthly Benefit is payable, if later.
          Age 63 The date the 36th Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 64 The date the 30th Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 65 The date the 24th Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 66 The date the 21st Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 67 The date the 18th Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 68 The date the 15th Monthly Benefit is payable.
          Age 69 or older The date the 12th Monthly Benefit is payable.


          WHO IS ELIGIBLE
          If you qualify under the Class Definition shown in the Schedule of Benefits you are eligible for coverage
          under the Policy on the Policy Effective Date, or the day after you complete the Eligibility Waiting Period, if
          later. The Eligibility Waiting Period is the period of time you must be in Active Service to be eligible for
          coverage. Your Eligibility Waiting Period will be extended by the number of days you are not in Active
          Service.

          Except as noted in the Reinstatement Provision, if you terminate your coverage and later wish to reapply, or if
          you are a former Employee who is rehired, you must satisfy a new Eligibility Waiting Period. You are not
          required to satisfy a new Eligibility Waiting Period if your insurance ends because you no longer qualify
          under your Class Definition, but you continue to be employed, and within one year you qualify again.
          TL-004710

          WHEN COVERAGE BEGINS
          You will be insured on the date you become eligible, if you are not required to contribute to the cost of this
          insurance.
          If you are not in Active Service on the date your insurance would otherwise be effective, it will be effective
          on the date you return to any occupation for your Employer on a Full-time basis.
          TL-004712

          WHEN COVERAGE ENDS
          Your insurance ends on the earliest of the dates below.
          1. The date you are eligible for coverage under a plan intended to replace this coverage.
          2. The date the Policy is terminated.
          3. The date you no longer qualify under your Class Definition.
          4. The day after the period for which premiums are paid.
          5. The date you are no longer in Active Service.
          TL-004714

          WHEN COVERAGE CONTINUES
          Your Disability Insurance will continue if your Active Service ends because of a Disability for which benefits under the Policy are or may become payable. Your premiums will be waived while Disability Benefits are payable. If you do not return to Active Service, this insurance ends when your Disability ends or when benefits are no longer payable, whichever occurs first.
          TL-004716

          DESCRIPTION OF BENEFITS
          WHAT IS COVERED
          Disability Benefits
          If you become Disabled, as we define the term in the Definitions section, while you are covered under the Policy, we will pay you Disability Benefits. After you are Disabled, you must satisfy the Benefit Waiting Period and be under the Appropriate Care of a Physician. Also, we ask you to provide us with satisfactory proof of your Disability, at your expense, before benefits will be paid.
          We will require continued proof of your Disability for benefits to continue.

          Comment


          • #6
            I find this interesting, but what if I'm in the period that is considered "Short Term Disability"?

            Your Disability Insurance will continue if your Active Service ends because of a Disability for which benefits
            under the Policy are or may become payable. Your premiums will be waived while Disability Benefits are
            payable. If you do not return to Active Service, this insurance ends when your Disability ends or when
            benefits are no longer payable, whichever occurs first.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it's the Active Service question that's coming up here. It's HIGHLY unusual for you to have to be considered Active for benefits to be payable, but it's not illegal.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cbg View Post
                I think it's the Active Service question that's coming up here. It's HIGHLY unusual for you to have to be considered Active for benefits to be payable, but it's not illegal.
                If my Active Service ends, this insurance ends when your disability ends...am I not out of Active Service now on disability?

                Comment


                • #9
                  You policy says your coverage can end the date you are no longer in Active Service. I know it also says: Your Disability Insurance will continue if your Active Service ends because of a Disability for which benefits under the Policy are or may become payable.

                  However, your Active Service did not end because of a disability for which benefits under the policy are or maybe become payable. Your Active Service ended due to a layoff.
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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