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Applying for disability

When illness or injury prevents you from working for a long time, UC’s disability plans can replace part of your salary and give you peace of mind and time for treatment, rest and recovery. Here’s an outline of how to apply for benefits and what to expect during your disability period.

See your doctor.

Your doctor needs to certify your disability date and you must be under a doctor’s continuous care to receive disability income.

Talk with your supervisor and leave coordinator.

If your injury or illness is work-related, you’ll also need to report this to the Workers’ Compensation office at your location.

Understand your benefits options.

Review Your Guide to UC Disability Benefits to make decisions about which, if any, benefits you’re eligible to continue. Then contact UCPath to arrange to pay the premiums.

Keep your address up to date with UC if you move during your leave. If you’ll be in a new location for more than two months, make sure you’re still within your health plan’s service area (if it has one). Contact UCPath if you need to transfer to a plan in your new location.

If your disability leave expires or you don’t return to work, look into options for continuing your coverage, such as through COBRA.

File your disability insurance claim(s).

UC doesn’t participate in California State Disability Insurance (CA-SDI), but you may be eligible via your former employer.

UC’s basic and voluntary short and long-term disability insurance is administered by Lincoln financial. To file a claim for benefits:

  • Go to mylincolnportal.com and use the code: UNIVERSITY or call Lincoln directly at 800-713-7384 and a case manager will take your claim over the phone.
  • Be sure to provide Lincoln Financial with a signed medical authorization form so your doctor can release your medical records.
  • Check with your doctor to be sure the records have been forwarded; they need to be received within 30 days of filing your claim.

Once your disability benefits are approved, you can expect to receive checks every two weeks. Be sure to provide information to the carrier about your medical, legal or financial situation, as requested.

Consider a gradual transition.

If you can’t yet go back to your normal full-time job but are well enough to do some work, you could be approved for the Stay at Work/Return to Work provisions of UC’s disability plans. You could combine partial disability benefits with partial UC salary — earning more than you would from disability alone — and retain many of your UC-sponsored benefits.

Explore your options.

If you’re not able to return to work within 12 months and you are a UCRP member of the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP), talk with the Retirement Administration Service Center about your situation.

If you’re receiving UCRP disability, you’ll be notified three to six months before your UC retirement benefit would equal your disability benefit. At that time, you may prefer to retire rather than continue to receive disability income. If you have not reached your maximum age factor, you may be eligible for higher retirement income if you wait.

For more information, please see the From Disability to Retirement Fact Sheet, at ucal.us/disabilitytoretire or contact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center.

If your disability leave ends and you can’t return to your previous work, you can also talk to your campus disability management specialist to explore other job opportunities.