Disability Insurance

Short-Term Disability Insurance Plans

  • All California employees, except student employees, are required to participate in a state disability plan.
  • USF employees are automatically enrolled in USF’s Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) Plan and contribute through a required payroll tax.
  • Employees may elect to participate in the CA State Disability Insurance plan (SDI) if preferred. See below for plan comparisons.
  • Non-California employees, please contact leaves@usfca.edu to determine if your state offers benefits.

USF's Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) Plan

The VDI plan pays benefits if you are unable to work due to:

  • Illness or injury, non-work related
  • Maternity or Paternal leave
  • Care for an ill family member.

Short-Term Disability:

  • For your own medical condition.
  • Medical certification is required.
  • 7-day wait period before benefits begin to pay.
  • Pays appx 60% of your current earnings, up to a maximum of $1,620 per week in 2024.

Paid Family Leave:

  • To care for a family member or bond with a new child.
  • Medical certification is required.
  • PFL pays appx 60% of your current earnings up to a maximum of $1,620 per week in 2024.
  • There is no waiting period for PFL benefits.

Requesting Short-Term Disability Leave

Tristar is the university's leave of absence administration partner.

  1. Notify your supervisor of your leave dates.
  2. Review Tristar's Leave Request Reporting Instructions.
  3. Contact Tristar at 1-844-702-2352 or online.
  4. Email leaves@usfca.edu.

Returning from Short-Term Disability Leave

No later than two business days PRIOR to returning from leave for your own medical condition, you must submit to Tristar medical documentation certifying that you are eligible to return to work, with or without restrictions. An ‘Authorization to Return to Work’ form was sent to you in your initial leave packet. This form or sufficient medical certification must be submitted to Tristar. You CANNOT return to work until medical certification is received by Tristar.

Plan Comparisons

USF Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) CA State Disability Insurance (SDI)
Administered by USF via TRISTAR Administered by the State of California
Payroll deduction of .8% of salary
(max $1,225.31 per year)
Payroll deduction of 1.1% of salary (no max on contribution)
Pays 60% of salary up to a maximum of $1,620 per week Pays 60% of salary up to a maximum of $1,620 per week
Benefit rate based on current earnings Benefit rate based on earnings over the past 18 months
Benefit duration up to 52 weeks Benefit duration up to 52 weeks

For more information, refer to the voluntary disability documents posted on the benefits compliance information web page.


Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Plan

Eligible faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in the LTD plan from their date of hire.  The plan is paid for by USF and provided by New York Life.

Waiting Period After being disabled for 90 days, an LTD claim will be filed on your behalf.
Plan Pays 60% of your basic monthly earnings to a maximum of $20,000/month
When Benefits End

The earlier of the following:

  • You are no longer disabled
  • You reach the maximum benefit
  • You reach Social Security Normal Retirement Age (SSNRA)
Definition of Disability

If, solely because of Injury or Sickness, you are:

  • Unable to perform the material duties of your Regular Occupation; and
  • Unable to earn 80% or more of your Indexed Earnings from working in your Regular Occupation

After Disability Benefits have been payable for 24 months: If, solely because of Injury or Sickness, you are:

  • Unable to perform the material duties of any occupation for which you are, or may reasonably become, qualified based on education, training, or experience; and
  • Unable to earn 60% or more of your Indexed Earnings
Summary of Benefits New York Life Summary of Benefits