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DISABILITY COVERAGE

M/C Income Protection Plan

Eligible M/C employees who have creditable State service prior to January 1, 1986 and are appointed to an M/C position on or after that date have 30 days from the date of appointment to elect disability coverage under the M/C Income Protection Plan (IPP) or to participate fully in the State's sick leave accrual program. Eligible M/C employees who do not have creditable State service prior to January 1, 1986 and are appointed to an M/C position on or after that date are automatically covered by the IPP. M/C employees who selected a disability coverage option (either the IPP or full sick-leave benefits) during the open enrollment period in 1985 and employees who select an option subsequent to that period are covered by that option as long as they are in eligible M/C status. The selection is one-time only and may not be changed at a later date.

The M/C Income Protection Plan consists of short- and long-term disability insurance, which, in combination with sick leave benefits, provides partial income continuation in the event an employee becomes unable to work due to personal illness or injury.

Disabled employees must first exhaust sick leave accruals or wait 14 calendar days, if greater, before short-term disability (STD) benefits are payable. Use of other leave credits prior to receiving STD benefits is optional. STD then provides 50 percent of base salary up to $961.54 per week for up to six months from the onset of disability. After six months of disability, long-term disability (LTD) benefits are payable at 60 percent of base salary up to $5,000 per month until the disability ceases, but not beyond age 65 or death. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company currently underwrites both the STD and LTD plans.

Additional information is available from personnel offices, the Employee Benefits Division of the Department of Civil Service, or the Governor's Office of Employee Relations. (See Directory.) Disability coverage is also addressed in the discussion of sick leave in the Attendance and Leave section of this handbook.

Disability Retirement Benefit

The New York State Employees' Retirement System (ERS) provides a disability retirement benefit for employees who become physically or mentally unable to perform their duties as a result of an accident or some other cause. The benefit is based on the type of disability the employee incurs and the tier of the Employees' Retirement System of which the employee is a member. These benefits are pensions that are provided to employees who are not yet eligible for normal retirement benefits. Additional information is available from the Employees' Retirement System. (See Directory.)

Ordinary Disability Benefit

An employee who is a member of the Employees' Retirement System and has at least ten years of service may be eligible for an ordinary disability retirement benefit if it has been determined that the employee is disabled and should begin retirement. The employee (or an authorized representative) must apply for the benefit within 90 days of leaving the payroll or the conclusion of a medical leave of absence. The employee may also be eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. Tier 3 members may be eligible for a retirement benefit after only five years of service; however, benefits under this provision are reduced by a percentage of Social Security benefits and any payable Workers' Compensation benefits.

Accidental Disability Benefit

In the case of disability resulting from an on-the-job accident, an employee who is a member of the Employees' Retirement System may receive a disability pension regardless of length of service if the disabling accident is not a result of the employee's negligence. The employee must file timely written notice of the accident with the New York State Comptroller or with the employing agency. (Notice to the Workers' Compensation Board fulfills this requirement.) In Tiers 1 and 2 and for certain provisions under Tier 3, any accidental disability benefits received through Workers' Compensation are deducted from the ERS disability benefit.

Social Security Disability Benefits

An employee may be eligible for monthly Social Security disability benefits if it is determined that he or she is, or is expected to be, mentally or physically disabled for a minimum of 12 months and has worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to be fully insured. The amount of this benefit may be affected by other government payments and disability benefits. For additional information, call any Social Security office or contact the New York State Employee's Retirement System.

Workers' Compensation Benefits

Workers' Compensation is insurance, paid by New York State as an employer, that provides wage replacement benefits and medical care for employees who become disabled due to a work related injury or illness. Employees are covered for all costs associated with necessary medical care as is required by the nature of their injury or the process of recovery. Employees may also be eligible for wage replacement benefits. For injuries sustained prior to July 1, 2010, wage replacement benefits will be equal to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage up to an established maximum. Wage replacement benefits for injuries sustained on or after July 1, 2010 will be up to two-thirds of the State Average Weekly Wage. No wage replacement benefits are paid for the first seven days of disability unless the disability extends beyond 14 days. In that event, the employee may be due wage replacement benefits retroactive to the first day off the job of injury. However, necessary medical care is provided for as long as the disability exists. The Attendance and Leave section of this handbook contains more information on Workers' Compensation Leave benefits.

It is essential that an employee report any job-related accident immediately to his or her supervisor and to the personnel office, where forms are available to apply for Workers' Compensation benefits.

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Updated: September 13, 2010