The Disability Income Plan of North Carolina (DIP-NC) is a benefit provided at no cost to eligible employees who participate in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP). Benefits are available to eligible employees who become continuously unable to perform the duties of his/her usual occupation due to a mental or physical incapacity while actively employed. DIP-NC consists of short-term and long-term disability benefits.
Who’s Eligible for DIP-NC?
DIP-NC is available at no cost to eligible employees working at least 3/4 time (.75 FTE) for 9 months or greater per year with at least one year of contributing service in either the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), earned within 36 months prior to the disability.
What Is Short-Term Disability?
Short-Term Disability is the first phase of DIP-NC benefits. Following the 60-day waiting period, short-term disability benefits are payable at an amount of 50% of the employee’s base monthly salary plus applicable longevity percentage, at a maximum benefit of $3,000, on a monthly basis. Benefits are payable for up to 12 months, beginning the first day following the end of the waiting period. If you continue to be unable to work, you may apply for Extended Short-Term Disability benefits, which are payable for up to an additional 12 months.
What Is Long-Term Disability?
Long-Term Disability benefits are payable following the Short-Term Disability benefit period, if you are deemed to be unable to perform the usual functions of your job for an undetermined period of time. Eligibility for Long-Term Disability benefits occurs after you have contributed to the Retirement System for 5 years (vested). Following the 60-day waiting period and 12-month Short-Term Disability period, if approved, you are eligible to receive 65% of the base monthly salary plus applicable longevity percentage, based on a maximum of $3,900 on a monthly basis. Long-Term Disability benefits are payable until you are eligible for an unreduced retirement benefit. Periodic certifications of the disability may be required. After the first 36 months of Long-Term Disability, benefits are reduced by an amount equal to the primary Social Security disability benefit entitlement.
Am I Paid During the 60-Day Waiting Period?
During the 60-day waiting period, most employees elect to use sick, annual and/or bonus time. If you do not have enough personal leave time to cover the 60-day waiting period, you may be eligible to apply for the Voluntary Shared Leave Program.
How Does DIP-NC Work With Family and Medical Leave?
While DIP-NC and Family Medical Leave are two separate programs, they coordinate. Most employees who apply for DIP-NC benefits also apply for Family and Medical Leave (FML). While covered by Family and Medical Leave, NC State will continue to pay for a full-time employee’s health insurance coverage, just as if the employee were working. This is especially important if you have also applied for DIP-NC but do not have enough leave time to cover the 60-day waiting period. Without the support of Family Medical Leave, an employee who is not paid during the 60-day waiting period would have to pay the full cost of his/her health insurance premium.
What Happens to My Benefits?
The amount of creditable service an employee has at the time of applying for DIP-NC benefits determines the course of action for health insurance and other benefits. Employees with more than one year but less than 5 years of creditable service are eligible for University-paid health insurance for the duration of Family Medical Leave; thereafter, the employee must pay for the cost of health insurance plus applicable dependent premiums. An employee with more than 5 years of creditable service is eligible for state-paid health insurance benefits for the duration of DIP-NC; however, he/she must pay for dependent coverage.
While you are receiving DIP-NC benefits, benefit premiums premiums generally deducted from payroll on a post-tax basis may be deducted from monthly DIP-NC payments. Premiums normally deducted on a pre-tax basis, including dependent health insurance premiums must be paid by personal check, each month.
How Do I Apply For DIP-NC Benefits?
The application process for DIP-NC benefits is done through the University Benefits Office. If you believe you qualify for benefits and will be out of work due to an extended illness, schedule a meeting with the University Leave Administrator as quickly as possible. Spouses and/or significant others are welcome to attend.
Are There Other Disability Plans?
What about the time period when an employee isn’t eligible yet for DIP-NC benefits? The University offers several employee-paid supplemental long-term disability plans.
Supplemental long-term disability benefit plans are available through payroll deduction and serve two purposes.
- They provide 66 2/3 % salary replacement during the first year of participation in the Retirement System.
- They supplement DIP-NC benefits by bringing the total salary replacement up to 66 2/3 %. It is figured that a healthy working individual takes home approximately 2/3 of his/her pay after taxes and deductions are taken.