Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 51.1. Pensions, Benefits, and Retirement
Chapter 11.1. Disability Program for Hybrid Retirement Program Participants
3/4/2021

Article 2. Nonwork-Related Disability Benefits.

§ 51.1-1154. Applicability of article.

The provisions of this article shall apply only with respect to the disability programs providing disability benefits for disabilities not resulting from work-related injuries.

2012, cc. 701, 823.

§ 51.1-1155. Short-term disability benefit.

A. Except as provided in subsection B of § 51.1-1153, short-term disability benefits for participating employees shall commence upon the expiration of a seven-calendar-day waiting period. The waiting period shall commence the first day of a disability or of maternity leave. If an employee returns to work for one day or less during the seven-calendar-day waiting period but cannot continue to work, the periods worked shall not be considered to have interrupted the seven-calendar-day waiting period. Additionally, the seven-calendar-day waiting period shall not be considered to be interrupted if the employee works 20 hours or less during the waiting period. Short-term disability benefits payable as the result of a catastrophic disability or major chronic condition shall not require a waiting period.

B. Except as provided in § 51.1-1171, short-term disability coverage shall provide income replacement for (i) 60 percent of a participating employee's creditable compensation for the first 60 months of continuous service and (ii) thereafter, a percentage of a participating employee's creditable compensation during the periods specified below, based on the number of months of continuous service attained by an employee who is disabled, on maternity leave, or takes periodic absences due to a major chronic condition, as determined by the Board or its designee, as follows:

a


Work Days of 100%

Work Days of 80%

Work Days of 60%

b

Months of

Replacement of

Replacement of

Replacement of

c

Continuous

Creditable

Creditable

Creditable

d

Service

Compensation

Compensation

Compensation

e

60-119

25

25

75

f

120-179

25

50

50

g

180 or more

25

75

25

C. Creditable compensation during periods an employee receives short-term disability benefits shall include salary increases awarded during the period covered by short-term disability benefits.

D. Short-term disability benefits shall be payable only during periods of (i) total disability, (ii) partial disability, (iii) maternity leave, or (iv) periodic absences due to a major chronic condition as defined by the Board or its designee.

2012, cc. 701, 823; 2013, c. 463; 2014, c. 356.

§ 51.1-1156. Successive periods of short-term disability.

A. A participating employee's disability, which is related or due to the same cause or causes as a prior disability for which short-term disability benefits were paid, shall be deemed to be a continuation of the prior disability if the employee returns to his position on an active employment basis for less than 45 consecutive calendar days. If a participating employee, after receiving short-term disability benefits, immediately returns to work for less than 45 consecutive calendar days and cannot continue to work, the days worked shall be deemed to have interrupted the short-term disability benefits period, and such days worked shall not be counted for purposes of determining the maximum period for which the participating employee is eligible to receive short-term disability benefits. Days of work arranged pursuant to vocational, rehabilitation, or return-to-work programs shall not be counted in determining the duration of the period of the employee's return to work.

B. If a participating employee returns to his position on an active employment basis for 45 consecutive calendar days or longer, any succeeding period of disability shall constitute a new period of short-term disability.

C. The period of 45 days referred to in subsections A and B shall be consecutive calendar days that the participating employee is (i) actively at work and (ii) fully released to return to work full time, full duty. The Retirement System shall develop policies and procedures to administer the effects of the 45-day period in connection with participants who are deemed to have a major chronic condition.

2012, cc. 701, 823; 2013, c. 463.

§ 51.1-1157. Long-term disability benefit.

A. Long-term disability benefits for participating employees shall commence upon the expiration of the maximum period for which the participating employee is eligible to receive short-term disability benefits under § 51.1-1155.

B. Except as provided in § 51.1-1171, long-term disability benefits shall provide income replacement in an amount equal to 60 percent of a participating employee's creditable compensation.

C. Creditable compensation during periods an employee receives long-term disability benefits shall not include salary increases awarded during the period covered by long-term disability benefits.

D. Long-term disability benefits shall be payable only during periods of (i) total disability or (ii) partial disability.

E. Unless otherwise directed, to be eligible for benefits under this section, the employee must apply for Social Security disability benefits.

2012, cc. 701, 823.

§ 51.1-1158. Successive periods of long-term disability.

A. A participating employee's disability, which is related or due to the same cause or causes as a prior disability for which long-term disability benefits were paid, shall be deemed to be a continuation of the prior disability if the employee returns to a position on an active employment basis for less than 125 consecutive work days. Days of work arranged pursuant to vocational, rehabilitation, or return-to-work programs shall not be counted in determining the duration of the period of the employee's return to work.

B. If a participating employee returns to a position on an active employment basis for 125 consecutive work days or longer, any succeeding period of disability shall constitute a new period of disability.

2012, cc. 701, 823.

§ 51.1-1159. Adjustments to disability benefits.

A. Disability benefit payments shall be offset by an amount equal to any sums payable to a participating employee from the following sources:

1. During the first 12 months the employee receives disability benefits, an amount equal to the employee's wages and salary from any employment multiplied by the creditable compensation replacement percentage;

2. After the first 12 months the employee receives disability benefits, an amount equal to 70 percent of the employee's wages and salary from any employment;

3. Disability payments from the Social Security Administration, local government disability benefits, federal civil service disability benefits, or other similar governmental disability program benefits received by the employee or his family as a result of the qualifying disability;

4. Benefits received from any other group insurance contract provided to the participating employee by his employer for the purpose of providing income replacement; and

5. Benefits paid under any compulsory benefits law.

B. If the plan administrator deems a participating employee to be eligible for benefits from any of the sources listed in subdivisions A 3, A 4, and A 5, the plan administrator may direct the participating employee to apply for those benefits and to pursue whatever additional steps are necessary to obtain the benefits. If a participating employee fails or refuses to pursue the available benefits as directed by the plan administrator, disability benefit payments may be offset by amounts from any of the sources listed in subdivisions A 3, A 4, and A 5 for which a participating employee is deemed eligible by the plan administrator as if the employee received such amounts. However, if the employee has applied for such benefits, and has reapplied and appealed denials of the claim as requested by the administrator of the plan, and the claim is not approved, the employee's disability payments shall not be reduced thereby.

C. If a participating employee's disability benefit payments are reduced as the result of payments from sources listed in subdivisions A 3, A 4, and A 5 or pursuant to subsection B, the employee's disability benefits shall not thereafter be further reduced on account of cost-of-living increases in payments from such sources.

D. Participating employees shall be required to repay, with interest, to the Board or their employer, any overpayment of disability benefits on account of the failure of the employee to provide the Board or its designee with information necessary to make any of the reductions required to be made under this article.

E. Any payment to a participating employee that is later determined by the Board or by the employer to have been procured on the basis of any false statement or falsification of any record knowingly made by or on behalf of the member, or the employee's failure to make any required report of change in disability status, may be recovered from the employee by the Board, with interest, either by way of a credit against future payments due the employee, his survivor, and beneficiaries or by an action at law against the employee.

F. Notwithstanding the foregoing, disability benefit payments shall not be offset by military disability benefits payable to a participating employee.

2012, cc. 701, 823.

§ 51.1-1160. Rehabilitation incentive.

Disability benefits payable to a participating employee who fails to cooperate with a rehabilitation program prescribed for the employee shall be decreased by 50 percent of the amounts otherwise payable to such employee.

2012, cc. 701, 823.

§ 51.1-1161. Cessation of disability benefits; service retirement.

A. Disability benefits shall cease to be paid to a participating employee upon the first to occur of the following:

1. The end of the period of disability coverage as provided in subsection D of § 51.1-1155 or subsection D of § 51.1-1157;

2. The date of death of the participating employee;

3. The date that the participating employee attains normal retirement age; or

4. The effective date of the participating full-time employee's service retirement under the hybrid retirement program described in § 51.1-169.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, an employee who is approved for disability benefits (i) at age 60 through 64 shall be eligible for five years of disability benefits, (ii) at age 65 through 68 shall be eligible for disability benefits to age 70, and (iii) at age 69 or older shall be eligible for disability benefits for one year. The eligibility periods include short-term disability and long-term disability.

B. A participating full-time employee receiving disability benefits who is a vested member of the retirement system, including the hybrid retirement program described in § 51.1-169, shall be eligible for service retirement under any provision of this title for which the employee is otherwise eligible. Such employee shall be authorized to elect any option for the payment of his retirement allowance provided under subsection A of § 51.1-165 for which the employee is otherwise eligible.

C. The average final compensation of any participating full-time employee taking a service retirement under any provision of this title shall be equal to his creditable compensation on the date of the commencement of the disability increased by an amount recommended by the program actuary and approved by the Board, from the date of the commencement of the disability to the date of retirement.

D. The creditable service of a participating full-time employee taking service retirement pursuant to this section shall include periods during which the employee received disability benefits.

2012, cc. 701, 823.