Disability Insurance

Short-Term Disability (STD) 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 but can elect State Disability Insurance (SDI) if preferred. The differences between these plans are outlined below.

Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) Plan

This income protection plan pays a benefit if you are unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury, as well as maternity/paternity claims. All VDI participants are eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits too.

If you work in California, you are automatically enrolled in the VDI plan starting on your date of hire. Faculty and staff contribute through a required payroll tax. To be eligible for short-term disability benefits, medical certification is required and there is a 7-day waiting period before benefits begin. The plan pays approximately 60% of your current earnings, up to a maximum of $1,300 per week in 2020 .

NOTE: Per Gov. Gavin Newsom's Executive Order on March 12, 2020, the seven (7) day waiting period for short term disability benefits for people diagnosed with COVID-19 is waived.

To be eligible for PFL, medical certification is required. The plan pays approximately 60% of your current earnings up to a maximum of $1,300 per week for 2020. There is no waiting period for PFL benefits and the maximum PFL benefits paid in a 12-month period is six times the weekly benefit amount. Beginning July 1, 2020, PFL benefits will extend from six to eight weeks.

Faculty and staff have the option to enroll in the State Disability (SDI) plan if preferred.

Please see below for plan comparisons.

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 .80% of salary
(max $983.27 per year)
Payroll deduction of 1% of salary
(max $1,229.09 per year)
Pays ~60% of salary up to a maximum of $1,300 per week Pays ~60% of salary up to a maximum of $1,300 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.


Requesting Short-Term Disability Leave

After notifying your supervisor of your leave of absence request, you can report the request to Tristar at 1-844-702-2352 or www.ess-absencetracker.com.

Returning from Short-Term Disability Leave

Prior to your return to work, after your leave of absence due to your own serious medical condition, USF requires that you present a Return to Work medical certification confirming your fitness for duty. Medical certification should be received no later than 5 days before your scheduled return to work date.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Plan

From their date of hire, eligible faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in an LTD plan, which is paid for by USF and provided by CIGNA.

Waiting Period 90 days from the date of hire for benefits qualification
Plan Pays 60% of your basic monthly earnings to a maximum of $12,000/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:
1. Unable to perform the material duties of your Regular Occupation; and
2. 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:
1. 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
2. Unable to earn 60% or more of your Indexed Earnings