Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Long Term Disability FAQ for Faculty

Main content start

For a complete description of your benefits, please refer to the appropriate Plan Summary document on there are any differences between this information and the plan documents, the plan documents will govern.

What is Long Term Disability and why does it matter to me?


The Stanford University Long Term Disability Plan (LTD) is designed to replace a portion of your income if you are unable to work for an extended period due to an accident or sickness. Generally, benefits begin after you have been unable to work for 90 days.

Do I have to pay for LTD coverage?

No. Stanford pays the entire cost of this benefit for you.

What does the LTD benefit pay?

If you qualify to receive LTD benefits, the plan pays up to 66.67% of your monthly appointment salary for Faculty and base monthly earnings for staff in effect on the day before the first day of disability, up to a maximum of $25,000 per month. (For School of Medicine Faculty, appointment salary includes base plus variable salary. Administrative supplements are not included in these calculations). Some other forms of income you receive while on LTD may reduce this benefit amount. For more information, review the Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan Summary in Resources on the website.

Is there a reason why I might not receive a full two-thirds pay from the LTD plan?

Yes. There are types of income you might receive when you are on LTD that reduce the amount of your LTD benefit. Some examples include:

  • VDI (short-term disability)
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Social Security Income (either disability, old age or dependent benefits)
  • Other group LTD benefits
Do I have to apply for LTD benefits?

No. After you have been on a medical leave of absence for 60 days, Stanford’s LTD administrator will review your disability case and contact you for a phone interview. Then, you will receive a letter letting you know if anything more is needed for your disability claim or LTD.

Will my appointment at the University continue while I am on long term disability?

For faculty holding term appointments, a leave due to long term disability does not extend the term of the appointment. For faculty holding appointments conferring tenure or a continuing term, the appointment may continue for up to two years and then will terminate if the faculty member is still out on LTD leave and unable to return to work with or without workplace accommodations. After the termination of the appointment, a tenured faculty member who is able to return to work may be reinstated within two years through the abbreviated long form reinstatement process if there is a billet, programmatic need and support from the school.

Are exceptions ever made to the two-year limit on LTD leaves?

Yes. Exceptions to these limitations may be approved by the Provost, at the Provost’s discretion, in rare circumstances such as when positive advantages to the University outweigh the possible adverse effects on University programs. LTD leave exceptions will only be extended when there is a reasonable basis to believe that the additional period of leave will enable the faculty member to return to work and perform his or her full duties (with or without accommodation) at the end of the extension.

Will I receive any additional salary from the University while I am on LTD leave?

You will receive a salary supplement paid by your school equal to the difference between the disability benefits paid by the disability insurance carrier and your university base pay or appointment salary (for School of Medicine faculty, appointment salary includes base plus variable salary) for one year following initial certification of short term disability. If you are out on LTD leave beyond one year, exclusive of any periods of partial employment, your leave benefits will not be topped up by the school.

May I continue work in any capacity while on full long term disability?

No. If your physician has certified you for full-time long term disability, you cannot be performing any work in any capacity. You must be released by your treating physician to go back to work in some capacity before resuming work (even part-time work). The release must designate the percentage of time you can work, the job duties you can perform, and include any/all limitations in performing that work. With this information, your department and school can discuss with you whether there are job duties that you can perform within your restrictions while continuing on partial long term disability leave.

May I continue my health benefits while on LTD leave?

Yes. You may continue all the same benefits while on LTD leave, except the dependent day care flexible spending account (see Flexible Spending Account (FSA) FAQ located in the Resource Library section of the Benefits website). The university contribution level to your benefits stays the same, and the university continues to pay your basic life insurance as long as you qualify for LTD benefits. If you receive LTD benefits for a disability that began before May 1, 2010, the university will continue to pay for employee supplemental life insurance. If your LTD benefits are for a disability occurring on or after May 1, 2010, you may choose to continue your employee supplemental life insurance, but you pay for the coverage.

What happens to my LTD if I am unable to return to work?

If you are unable to return to work and your employment at Stanford is terminated, your department will notify you and your eligibility for benefits will change. You continue to receive your LTD benefit payments as long as you continue to qualify for the Stanford LTD Plan. For information on how your benefits eligibility changes following loss of employment due to long term disability, refer to the Long Term Disability Terminated (LTD Term) brochure, located in the Resource Library section of the Stanford Benefits website.

How will I pay for my benefits while on Long Term Disability?

You pay your share of the costs to Billing Services on an after-tax basis twice a month. Billing Services will send you a coupon booklet to make your payments or you can sign up for Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments.

Are my LTD benefits taxable?

Yes. Because the university pays the cost for this plan, your LTD benefits are taxable for federal and state purposes. FICA is withheld for the first six months of LTD benefit payment.

How long can I remain on LTD?

Your LTD benefit payments will continue until you no longer meet the plan guidelines. For more information, we recommend you review the Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan Summary, located in the Resource Library section of the Stanford Benefits website.

Can I retire while I am on LTD?


If you qualify as an official Stanford retiree before your LTD begins, you may retire while on long term disability. For additional information and details on how to determine if you qualify, please read the Long Term Disability Terminated (LTD Term) brochure, located at To find out if you qualify, contact the University HR Service Team (877) 905-2985 and request a Retirement Calculation. Be prepared to answer a series of questions regarding your employment at Stanford. If you are FRIP (Faculty Retirement Incentive Plan) eligible, you are entitled to receive payment of your Recall Period Benefits and Completion Bonus.

Does the time on LTD count toward retirement eligibility?

No. Your time on LTD does not count toward retirement eligibility. You would need to return to work in a benefits-eligible position until you qualify for retirement eligibility. To participate in the FRIP plan, faculty must be aged 63 –71 and have 15 years of service at Stanford as of the date of Retirement with the last 5 years as a member of the Academic Council or the Medical Center Line faculty or as a Hoover Institution Senior Fellow. The 15 years of service and the 5 years council membership do not need to be continuous/uninterrupted prior to your retirement date.

If I return to work after being on LTD, and then go out again within 12 months, must I file a new claim?

No. If you go out again within 12 months and your diagnosis is the same, it is considered a continuation of the same LTD claim. However, you must file a new Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) claim if you returned to work for more than 60 days. After you have returned to work for at least 12 consecutive months, and then go on disability leave for the same diagnosis, you must file new VDI and LTD claims.

Note on your medical and life insurance benefits: If you return to work and then go back on disability at any time and subsequently your employment ends because of your disability, your eligibility for benefits will change. Refer to the Long Term Disability Terminated (LTD Term) brochure located at