Disability: Short and Long Term

Pinellas County makes both Short and Long Term Disability income benefits available to employees. These disability plans can replace a percentage of your income if you become disabled or unable to work due to illness, pregnancy, childbirth or an injury that is not work-related. In 2022, disability benefits are administered by UnitedHealthcare.

An employee’s absence due to disability will run concurrently with any entitlement under the County’s Family and Medical Leave Act Policy (FMLA).

Also see Workers’ Compensation for conditions that are work-related.

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Contact UnitedHealthcare

Short Term Disability

Who is eligible for Short Term Disability (STD)?

  • Employees (excluding temporary employees) working at least 20 hours per week are eligible on the first day of the month after 30 days of service.
  • This benefit is offered at no cost to the employee.

How much STD am I entitled to?

The maximum benefit period is based on years of service.

  • New employees are eligible for six weeks of benefits
  • For each successive year of service, five additional weeks are added
  • Maximum benefit of 26 weeks

How much will I get paid?

If your claim is approved by UnitedHealthcare, you will be paid up to 66 2/3% of your base pay rate. For example, if you were earning $15/hour, you would receive $10/hour while on STD.

To get a full paycheck, you need to supplement 1/3 of your time not worked with annual leave hours.

Is there a waiting period for STD benefits?

Benefits are available on the first day of disability for exempt employees. There is no waiting period.

Classified employees must be disabled for seven consecutive days. However, you do not have to wait until the end of the seven days to call to file a claim. You may use accrued leave time (annual, personal or floating holiday) to be paid for the 7-day waiting period.

What are the steps to receive STD benefits?

  • Advise your supervisor that you are applying for STD and follow your department’s procedures for reporting absences from work.
  • Call UnitedHealthcare (UHC) toll-free at (866) 556-8298 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, to start the claims process.
  • Complete the Authorization Form for your doctor to release information on your medical condition, and fax it to UHC at (866) 334-0985 or (888) 505-8550.
  • Once UnitedHealthcare has your authorization, they will ask your doctor to complete an Attending Physician’s Disability Statement form. It may take 10 to 15 days for UHC to receive the necessary medical information.
  • Once the claim is processed, UHC will notify you, your supervisor and Benefits staff if the claim is approved, denied or if they need additional information. UHC will notify you by letter unless you request secure email notification.
  • Upon approval from UHC, Benefits staff inform Payroll to begin Short Term Disability payments in your biweekly paycheck starting the next available pay cycle.
  • Due to the time required for the claims process, payment is often retroactive and requires time sheet adjustments.

What if I need more information?

Long Term Disability

Who is eligible for Long Term Disability (LTD), and how do I apply for coverage?

Employees (excluding temporary employees) working at least 20 hours per week are eligible.

  • LTD coverage begins for exempt employees on the first of the month after 30 days of service. No application is needed.
  • Classified employees may purchase LTD coverage after one year of service, or it is provided at no cost after completing five years of service.
    • When you reach one year of service, you will receive an email through OPUS with a 30-day deadline to enroll if desired.
    • If you enroll within the next 30 days, no evidence of insurability is required.
    • If you do not enroll by the end of 30 days and wish to enroll later (i.e. between your 13 month and 5 year anniversary), you will need to complete the UnitedHealthcare Long Term Disability Evidence of Insurability Form. On the form, the Employer Name is Pinellas County BOCC and the Group # is 306594.

How much will I get paid?

Long Term Disability (LTD) can replace up to 60% of income lost due to illness or injury when an employee has been disabled for at least 180 days.

What steps do I need to take to receive LTD benefits?

If you are receiving STD benefits, you do not need to submit a separate application for LTD benefits. Your claim will be transitioned to an LTD claims analyst who will review the information in the STD file and request any additional information needed.

If you are receiving Workers’ Compensation and have been disabled for at least 180 days because of an injury on the job, complete an application through UnitedHealthcare for LTD benefits.

What if I need more information?