University of Southern California

USC Benefits

Disability

Disability insurance is designed to replace income when you are medically certified as unable to work due to an injury or medical condition.

New employees are automatically enrolled in the USC basic disability plan, which mirrors the California state disability plan—both of which are short-term plans that provide coverage for up to 52 weeks (after a 7-day waiting period). (You can decline enrollment in the USC plan and enroll in the state disability plan instead, if you wish. Contact the Disability Office at disability@usc.edu.) Either way, your coverage begins the first day of employment, as mandated by state law.

After 12 months of active full-time employment, you are also eligible for the USC supplemental disability plan. The supplemental plan replaces more of your income for up to 52 weeks. In addition, for all employees enrolled in supplemental disability, USC pays for long-term disability, which extends coverage beyond the initial 52 weeks.

Note that although it won't take effect until after your first 12 months, you must enroll in supplemental disability before your 1-year anniversary or you will have to wait until open enrollment to apply. If you enroll after that anniversary, there are coverage limitations for pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy).

You pay a premium for both the basic and supplemental plans, which is taken through payroll reduction. The state determines the annual rate. USC determines the annual basic and supplemental rate. All rates are subject to change at any time.

You can change your disability plan during open enrollment.

Disability plan Cost per pay period (pretax) Pays Duration
USC Basic 1% of gross pay to a yearly maximum of $1,016.36 70% of gross pay to a weekly maximum of $1369 Maximum of 52 weeks
USC Supplemental 0.3% of gross pay 100% of weekly gross pay One week for each year of employment up to a maximum of 10 weeks
80% of weekly gross pay Remainder of 52 weeks
USC Long Term No additional cost for employees enrolled in supplemental plan 70% of monthly gross pay Until age 65
Age at onset of disability Maximum duration of benefits
61 or youngerAttainment of age 65
62 but not yet 633 years and 6 months
63 but not yet 653 years
64 but not yet 652 years and 6 months
65 but not yet 662 years
66 but not yet 671 year and 9 months
67 but not yet 681 year and 6 months
68 but not yet 691 year and 3 months
69 or older1 year

    Not sure which disability plan you're enrolled in? Your pay slip indicates:

  • USC Disab = basic plan
  • USC Suppl = supplemental plan
  • CSDI = California state plan

How to apply for disability

    To receive disability benefits:

  • A physician must certify that you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from performing your regular work duties
  • You must suffer a wage loss due to your medical condition
  • Objective medical evidence must support your disability
  • If you have a disabling injury or illness, first notify your supervisor and HR payroll/analyst. Then call Sedgwick, USC's third-party administrator, at (800) 495-2315, with the following information ready:

  • Home department name
  • Social Security number
  • Employee number
  • Home address and telephone number
  • Date of hire
  • Employment status (full-time/part-time)
  • Job title
  • Last day worked
  • Return to work date
  • Description of disability
  • Whether disability is work-related
  • Whether you filed a claim previously for the same disability
  • Whether you are or have been admitted to a hospital, for how long, and the name and address of the hospital
  • Doctor's name, address, phone, and fax number
  • After you initiate your claim with Sedgwick:

  • Within 24 hours a claims examiner will call you to gather more information
  • After speaking with your claims examiner, within 3–5 business days you will receive a claims packet (if not received in that time frame, call claims examiner to request another packet be sent)
  • Complete this packet and send it back to Sedgwick, except for the physician's certification form, which is for your primary treating doctor to complete and forward to Sedgwick
  • When all packet paperwork is received and your claim has been accepted, Sedgwick will provide a payment voucher to USC Disability, which will process your payment.

    Your disability check will be paid according to the pay cycle you were on prior to your leave. If your check is late, you may wish to:

  • Contact your Sedgwick claims examiner to ensure your claims packet was received and all forms were completed properly
  • Contact your HR payroll/analyst to ensure your department disability notice has been submitted

If your voucher is received late from Sedgwick, USC Disability will process your check within 3–5 business days from when the voucher was received. Late checks are hand drawn and mailed to your home address. However, for those who have direct deposit with the USC Credit Union, late checks will be direct deposited into their designated account.

Long-term disability payments are processed on a monthly cycle.

For payroll dates, see the Payroll Schedules.

Questions about your check? Call the Human Resources Service Center at (213) 821-8100.


Benefits during disability

The Employee Gateway's "Going on leave?"section has detailed information on benefit eligibility and time off accruals during leave.


Returning to work

If you are back to work but working a reduced scheduled (i.e., 4 hours per day), at the end of each pay period you must fax your timesheet with hours worked to Sedgwick at (888) 488-9544. It will be used to calculate your wage loss. Include your claim number on all faxes sent to Sedgwick. If you need your claim number, call Sedgwick at (800) 495-2315. Failing to do this in a timely manner will result in a late disability payment.

If you have been put on modified duty, notify your supervisor, your claims examiner, and the University Leave Coordinator at (213) 821-8120. If it is determined that your department can accommodate and you did not notify properly, your disability benefit may not be extended.

Be aware that employees on disability can continue their medical benefits for 4 months (1–4 years of service), 8 months (5–9 years of service) or 12 months (over 9 years of service). If you return to work before your medical benefits end, your medical plan will continue as normal—but if you do not return to work and your medical benefits expire, you will need to elect COBRA in order to continue your medical benefits.


Specific leave information

Maternity leave
The Employee Gateway's "New baby or adoption?" section has detailed information on maternity disability leave. You can also download the Maternity Disability Request form here.
Paid Family Leave (PFL)
PFL can be used for employees to care for the serious health condition of a family member or to bond with a child for a total of 6 weeks. You have one year from the date of a baby's birth or adoption to use the benefit for bonding.

There is a 7-day waiting period before benefits begin, but mothers who are taking baby bonding time following their maternity leave have already fulfilled a 7-day waiting period, and thus do not have to fulfill another.

Payments are determined by the state of California.

If you are enrolled in USC basic disability, initiate a claim by calling Sedgwick, USC's third-party administrator, at (800) 495-2315. If you've opted for the California state disability plan, you must apply for benefits through your local Employment Development Department.

Non-paid medical leaves
Discuss your eligibility for non-paid medical leaves such as FMLA (Family Medical Leave) and CFRA (California Family Rights Act) with your supervisor or HR/payroll analyst.

In this section

Checklists

Employee Checklist
This checklist will help guide you through your disability claim, but because all your considerations may not be covered, be sure to consult with your home department for more information.
Employee Leave/Disability Checklist

Supervisor and HR/Payroll Analyst Checklist
It is your responsibility to navigate your employee through the disability process – this checklist will serve as a guide. Note that supervisors and HR/payroll analysts should not contact Sedgwick directly regarding an employee out on disability, for protection of the employee's confidentiality and HIPAA regulations. Contact HR Service Center at (213) 821-8100.
Supervisor Checklist