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What to do if you're

Applying for disability

When illness or injury prevent 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.

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

Talk with your department chair or supervisor and your local Benefits representative.

Or, if your injury or illness is work-related, report this to the Workers’ Compensation office at your location.

Review Your Guide to UC Disability Benefits to make decisions about which, if any, benefits you're eligible to continue.

Then contact your local Payroll or Benefits representative to arrange to pay the premiums.

File your claim(s) for Basic, Voluntary Short-Term or Voluntary Long-Term Disability with the carrier, Lincoln Financial (formerly known as Liberty Mutual)

  • You can file your claim online at mylincolnportal.com, 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.

File a claim for California State Disability Insurance (CA-SDI) if you’ve worked for UC less than 18 months and were previously employed in California.

UC doesn’t participate in CA-SDI, but you may be eligible via your former employer.

Once your disability benefits are approved, keep in mind:

  • Expect to receive checks every two weeks once your Basic, Voluntary Short-Term or Voluntary Long-Term Disability claim is approved. 
  • Be sure to provide information to the carrier about your medical, legal or financial situation, as requested.
  • Let UC know if your address changes.
  • If your health plan covers only a certain service area, and you’ll be away from that service area for more than two months during your leave, contact your Benefits representative about transferring to a plan in your new location.

As you recover, consider transitioning back to work part-time or in a less demanding position.

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.

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

  • If you're eligible for UCRP disability benefits, a representative will send you the required application forms.
  • Return the forms ASAP; your disability date is based on when your application is received.
  • If you apply within 120 days of leaving UC employment, you’ll preserve your right to continue your retiree health coverage, so long as your coverage is continuous.
  • If you receive UCRP Disability and have a CAP balance, you’re required to take a distribution or roll over the CAP funds. It’s best to choose the rollover; otherwise the disability carrier will reduce your monthly benefit by the amount of the distribution. You also have the option to suspend your 403(b) loan repayments, if you have any.

If your disability leave ends and you can't return to your previous work, consider these options:

  • If you’re eligible to retire, you can compare your potential retirement income with your disability income; your Benefits representative or the Retirement Administration Service Center can give you the figures you’ll need. Depending on your age, UCRP service credit and other factors, you could receive more monthly income and higher UC medical and dental contributions under UCRP disability than if you retire.
  • Talk to your campus disability management specialist to explore other job opportunities.

Sign up for COBRA or individual continuation policies for your benefits (if you wish to), if your disability leave expires or you don’t return to work.