Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

What’s changing regarding the Long Term Disability (LTD) coverage for eligible faculty?

Effective September 1, 2012, Northwestern University will provide LTD coverage to all eligible faculty.  This LTD coverage will provide a benefit of 50 percent of base salary, up to a maximum monthly benefit of $11,500. There is no cost to faculty members for this University-provided coverage.  If you were not previously enrolled in LTD coverage prior to September 1, 2012, you will automatically be enrolled in this coverage at the 50 percent base salary level. 

Can I elect to have more LTD coverage than the University provides?

Yes, if you already have LTD coverage through Northwestern, you will continue to have the same level of coverage (60 percent of base salary), up to a maximum monthly benefit of $13,800.   You will pay for the additional 10 percent ‘Buy Up’ coverage through payroll deduction.  [Prior to September 1, 2012, faculty enrolled in LTD were required to pay one-half of the cost of LTD coverage.  Going forward, faculty will only pay for the additional 10 percent ‘Buy Up’ amount of coverage.]

Faculty members who were not enrolled in LTD coverage prior to September 1, 2012, will be automatically enrolled in LTD coverage of 50 percent of base salary, up to the maximum specified above. The ‘Buy Up’ option to 60 percent of base salary, subject to the maximum specified above, may also be elected. 

Does this change in LTD coverage impact how time off for medical reasons is handled during the six-month period prior to when long term disability benefits begin?

If you are unable to perform your work due to medical reasons, you should work with the appropriate administrators in your school/unit and the Office of the Provost to discuss your need for a medical leave of absence.  There is a six month (26 week) elimination period before LTD benefits begin.  If approved, you would continue to receive your base salary during the six-month period prior to the commencement of LTD benefit payments. 

When does LTD coverage start for newly hired faculty members?

The effective date for LTD coverage is the first day of the month after the date of hire.  If the hire date is the first of the month, then coverage for LTD begins that same date. 

How long can a faculty member receive LTD benefits?

After a six month (26 week) elimination period, the LTD plan will pay a monthly benefit as long as you remain disabled up to a maximum age based on your Social Security Normal Retirement Age.