Current Provider: UNUM


The university provides eligible faculty and staff employees (at no cost) a Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan. The benefit provides income protection of 60% of stated regular base salary (up to $160,000 annually/maximum benefit $8,000 per month) during an extended medical leave resulting from a serious illness or injury. Employees do not need to enroll. The insurance company pays this benefit directly to the employee.


Regular full-time and part-time faculty and staff may file a new claim for LTD the first of the month following completion of 6 consecutive months of benefits-eligible employment.

Full-time faculty are defined as a regular or visiting faculty member who works 100% of the required full-time workload. Part-time faculty are defined as a regular or visiting faculty member who works 50% or more but less than 100% of the required full-time workload.

Regular full-time staff employees are defined as benefits-eligible employees who regularly work either 37.5 or 40 hours per week and regular part-time employees are defined as benefits-eligible employees who regularly work at least 20 hours per week but less than 37.5 hours per week.

Employees are eligible to file a claim when they are unable to perform the duties associated with their own occupation for a 180-day elimination period.

This description does not apply to Postdoctoral appointees and Clinical Fellows. Postdoctoral appointees and Clinical Fellows may be eligible for a separate LTD plan.

Description of Benefit

Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits of 60% of stated regular base salary (maximum benefit of $8,000 per month) begin after 180 days of disability.

The insurance company (Unum) is responsible for approval or denial of LTD claims. An employee is considered disabled when Unum determines that:

  • They are limited from performing the material and substantial duties of their regular occupation due to their sickness or injury; and
  • They have a 20% or more loss in indexed monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury; and
  • They are under the regular care of a physician.

The loss of a professional or occupational license or certification does not, in itself, constitute disability.

Unum may require an examination by a physician, other medical practitioner and/or vocational expert of their choice. Unum will pay for this examination. Unum can require an examination as often as it is reasonable to do so. Unum may also require a covered employee to be interviewed by an authorized Unum Representative.

Benefits may be reduced by other sources of income and disability earnings and are subject to maximum periods of payment depending on your age at disability. See the SPD on the Plan Documents page for further details.

Filing A Claim

If an employee has an open Short-Term Medical Disability (STMD) claim and is unable to return to work after 180 days of disability, an LTD claim will be transitioned to the Unum LTD team for review.

Employees can contact Unum at 866-371-5723 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm CST.

Employees must provide required documentation to the insurance company.

Please contact the WashU benefits team at 314-935-2332 or via email at after 3 months of medical leave to receive an application if the leave is expected to continue beyond 6 months.


Following LTD approval:

  • Benefits eligibility continues and employees remain financially responsible for the cost of benefits (which are billed monthly) while on LTD. If health benefit premium contributions are not paid timely, health benefits coverage may be terminated.
  • If an employee was contributing to the Retirement Savings Plan immediately prior to becoming disabled, the University’s contribution to the 403(b) will be paid directly to the Retirement Savings Plan account by the insurance company. The amount of the contribution is based on the contribution formula in effect at the time of the disability claim approval. The amount of the contribution is calculated on the regular base rate of compensation paid immediately before becoming disabled.
  • Holidays do not extend the leave period or augment pay.
  • Sick and vacation do not continue to accrue. Employees are not eligible to utilize sick leave while on LTD.

Eligibility for coverage ceases on last day worked. Unum will provide coverage for a payable claim which occurs while an eligible employee is covered under the plan.

See the summary plan description for more information.

If anything herein is in conflict with the Plan Document, the Plan Document supersedes.

The University reserves the right to modify this plan in whole or part at any time.