Open enrollment has begun for SMART Transportation Division bus and rail members in the union’s new Voluntary Disability Plan (VDP). The plan, now underwritten by Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, is available for long-term protection against a sudden loss of income due to an illness or injury. Although Open Enrollment will run through Nov. 30, 2019, members may sign up at any time during the enrollment period. Coverage will commence upon successful completion of the enrollment process.
This plan has been established to provide yet another level of financial security to members in the event that a long-term recovery from an illness or injury leaves them unable to work. Members can customize their 24-7 coverage by selecting the benefit option best suiting their individual needs and then pay for coverage through payroll deductions. VDP benefits are payable after a 180-day elimination period and are paid in addition to any other benefits such as the TD Voluntary Short-Term Disability (VSTD) plan, worker’s comp, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) sickness benefit or others.
The new VDP has two- and five-year options with monthly benefits starting at $300 up to $5,000 available in $100 increments that can cover up to 60% of an enrollee’s earnings. Approval of benefits from Amalgamated is subject to participation requirements and/or simplified medical underwriting.
This VDP coverage is portable for all members, and it won’t be lost if an enrollee is furloughed or suspended. Benefits remain payable in addition to other disability benefits, exceed those of standard long-term disability plans and will give financial security in a time of need.
This plan is optional and voluntary. If a member does not enroll, he or she will not be covered.
Information concerning benefit options and rates for all SMART TD members is available at www.smart-vltd.com, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the SMART TD VDP Enrollment Center at 224-770-5328.
The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the following changes to the Voluntary Short Term Disability (VSTD) plans for bus and rail members, effective January 1, 2017:
VSTD changes for bus members
For Bus Members, the maximum weekly VSTD benefit will increase from $210 to $240.
The Elimination Period for Bus Members, which is the waiting period between the first day of a disability and the date benefits actually begin, will be reduced from 30 days to 21 days (benefits will begin on the 22nd day of disability).
For Rail Members, the maximum weekly VSTD benefit will increase from $400 to $450.
The Elimination Period for Rail Members, which is the waiting period between the first day of a disability and the date benefits actually begin, will be reduced from 30 days to 21 days (benefits will begin on the 22nd day of disability).
The Voluntary Short-Term Disability (VSTD) plan is self-funded by SMART and administered by Southern Benefits Administrators, Inc.
The SMART short term disability plan provides a basic “safety net” of coverage for SMART TD bus members and is designed to work in combination with state-mandated disability programs.
The maximum weekly VSTD benefit will increase from $210 to $240 effective January 1, 2017. Coverage pays for up to 52 weeks per years and is for off-duty accidents and illness.
The cost is $26 per month and is collected through payroll deduction.
The Elimination Period, which is the waiting period between the first day of a disability and the date benefits actually begin, will be reduced from 30 days to 21 days (benefits will begin on the 22nd day of disability).
New SMART TD members will be enrolled automatically unless they choose to opt-out of the plan by submitting a waiver form to SMART TD headquarters.
Effective with all claims incurred January 1, 2018, direct deposit of your disability payments into your bank account is mandatory. Please be sure to complete the authorization for automatic transfer that is attached to your application to avoid delay of your payments. A copy of this authorization is attached to the VSTD claim form below.
Members desiring additional disability insurance coverage may purchase an individual policy through the UTU Insurance Association. Contact your field supervisor or call the UTUIA Sales Department at (216) 228-9400 for more information.
You may view the various new plan documents by Southern Benefit Administrators by clicking on the links below.
If you have any additional questions, please contact your Regional Field Supervisor here.
Long-term disability insurance for bus members
SMART Transportation Division has partnered with MetLife to bring our Rail and Bus members the most comprehensive and cost-effective Voluntary Long-Term Disability plans.
VLTD insurance helps you protect your income if you suddenly have to stop working due to an accident or illness. VLTD helps ensure that you can continue paying your bills and provide for your family if you are unable to work due to an accident or illness.
Bus members can select one of two plan options when enrolling:
60% Option – Allows bus members to purchase coverage after a 365-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 60 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $6,000). Cost for Part “B”: $47.98 per month.
50% Option – Allows bus members to purchase coverage after a 365-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 50 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $6,000). Cost for Part “A”: $31.50 per month.
Need help deciding how much is right for you?
A good rule of thumb is to buy enough VLTD to cover your essential monthly expenses (e.g., mortgage, food, utilities and car payments). For most people, that is 60-80 percent of their income. To determine your specific needs, use the calculator tool available below.
Missed the open enrollment period? You can still enroll via late entry. Read our Late Entry Letter for instructions on how to enroll. Make sure you fill out the Late Entrant Form below and mail it to SMART TD headquarters. Also, fill out the Statement of Health Form and mail it to MetLife.
For plan related questions or inquiries,
MetLife Customer Service at
****Members who have VLTD (long-term coverage only) – should contact MetLife at the number referenced above to file a claim and receive the claim acknowledgement packet after eight months into the 365-day elimination period. If you are currently enrolled in the VSTD plan there is no need to contact MetLife directly, as your claim will be initiated by Southern Benefits (VSTD) prior to the exhaustion of your short-term benefits.