Officers - Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance

The University's Salary Continuation Plan and Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Plan can replace all or some of your income if you become ill or injured and cannot work. You are automatically covered under the Salary Continuation Plan and the Basic LTD Insurance Plan at no cost. You may buy additional coverage under the Optional LTD Plan. The University recommends you consider this coverage. LTD plans are insured and administered by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. As part of this transition, Cigna has changed its name to New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. The transition does not impact your current coverage or access.

You have the option to buy additional disability insurance to supplement your coverage with Voluntary Benefits.

Disability Coverage

Salary Continuation Plan*

Duration: For first six months
Cost: $0
Full-time Officers receive 100% of regular compensation for up to six months of disability during any rolling 12-month period. To receive disability benefits, you must be able to provide proof of your disability and must be under a physician’s care consistent with your medical condition.

Basic Long-Term Disability

Duration: After six months
Cost: $0
Basic LTD begins after you have been disabled for six months. You must apply to receive long-term disability benefits. For the first six months of LTD, your benefit payment is 66 2/3 % of your Annual Benefits Salary** and it is reduced to 60% thereafter.

  • Coverage applies to a maximum Annual Benefits Salary** of $100,000
  • The maximum monthly benefit is $5,000
  • There is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)
  • Contributions to the Officers’ Retirement Plan continue as defined by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions, the long-term disability provider

Optional Long-Term Disability

Duration: After six months 
Cost: $0.216 per $100 of your monthly covered Annual Benefits Salary.**

The same benefit provisions as for the Basic LTD apply, with the following enhancements:

  • Coverage applies to a maximum Annual Benefits Salary** of $300,000, 
  • The maximum monthly benefit is $15,000, and 
  • Contributions to the Officers’ Retirement Plan beginning 12 months after the start of long-term disability.

* Faculty should review their appointment letters for specific information related to salary continuation payments.
** Annual Benefits Salary is calculated as of July 1 each year and is the greater of (a) your base salary or (b) your prior 12 months’ compensation from the University as of June 30 each year, including certain approved additional and private practice compensation, and excluding any housing allowance.

The LTD benefits are reduced by other disability income you receive, such as Social Security or Workers’ Compensation. Any payments made to your dependents because of your disability will also reduce your LTD benefit amount.

Here’s an example of how Basic LTD benefit payments are calculated:

After your first six months on Basic LTD benefits, the percentage reimbursement of your Annual Benefits Salary is reduced to 60%:

Basic LTD Covered Earnings             $60,000
Basic LTD % of Salary Benefit 60%      x 0.60
Your Basic LTD Benefit                       = $36,000 annually or $3,000 per month

The Basic LTD benefit payment is fully taxable because Columbia pays the premium.


If you remain disabled (as defined by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions), you will continue to receive LTD benefits for a maximum benefit period based on your age on the date you become disabled. Benefits continue as long as you remain totally disabled throughout the Maximum Benefit Period as defined by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. These benefits are taxable.

Maximum Benefit Period

Statistically, your chance of becoming disabled is greater than your chance of dying during most of your working years. Consider electing Optional LTD coverage to provide additional income protection in the event of disability.

The Optional LTD Plan pays 66 ² ⁄ ³% of the first $300,000 of your Annual Benefits Salary for the first six months, and 60% thereafter, up to $15,000 per month.

There are important benefits from Optional LTD, including:

  • An annual 3% cost-of-living increase in the disability benefits payment
  • Contributions to the Officers’ Retirement Plan begin 12 months from the start of long-term disability
  • The Officers’ Retirement Plan contributions may increase based on a 3% annual cost-of-living adjustment

You can elect Optional LTD when you are hired or during annual Benefits Open Enrollment. You pay for this coverage with after-tax dollars, so your Optional LTD benefits are only partially taxable if you become disabled.

Keep in Mind: If you did not select Optional LTD coverage when you first became eligible, you’ll need to be approved for coverage by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions after submitting Evidence of Insurability. Your coverage, as well as your payroll contributions, will not begin until New York Life Group Benefit Solutions has approved your application.

Important Notice

New Hire Opportunity

As a new hire, take advantage of the one-time opportunity to enroll in Optional LTD without providing Evidence of Insurability.