Posts Tagged ‘disability insurance’

Social Security combined trust funds gain one year says SSA board of trustees

Disability Fund Shows Strong Improvement—Twenty Years

The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security trust funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) trust funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80% of benefits payable at that time.

The OASI trust fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, with 77% of benefits payable at that time. The DI trust fund is estimated to become depleted in 2052, extended 20 years from last year’s estimate of 2032, with 91% of benefits still payable.

In the 2019 Annual Report to Congress, the trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI trust funds increased by $3 billion in 2018 to a total of $2.895 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income, for the first time since 1982, in 2020 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2020. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2035 – gaining one year from last year’s projection. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80% of scheduled benefits.

“The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security. “The large change in the reserve depletion date for the DI fund is mainly due to continuing favorable trends in the disability program. Disability applications have been declining since 2010, and the number of disabled-worker beneficiaries receiving payments has been falling since 2014.”

Other highlights of the trustees’ report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI trust funds amounted to just over $1 trillion in 2018. ($885 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $35 billion from taxation of benefits and $83 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI trust funds amounted to $1 trillion in 2018.
  • Social Security paid benefits of nearly $989 billion in calendar year 2018. There were about 63 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.78% of taxable payroll – lower than the 2.84% projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2018, an estimated 176 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.7 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2018 was a very low 0.7% of total expenditures.
  • The combined trust fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.9% in 2018.

The board of trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, secretary of the treasury and managing trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, secretary of health and human services; and R. Alexander Acosta, secretary of labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2019 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2019/.

SSA says trust fund depletion year remains 2034

The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security trust funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI), or OASDI, trust funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time.

The OASI trust fund is projected to become depleted in late 2034, as compared to last year’s estimate of early 2035, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI trust fund will become depleted in 2032, extended from last year’s estimate of 2028, with 96 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2018 annual report to Congress, the trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASDI trust funds increased by $44 billion in 2017 to a total of $2.89 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2018 for the first time since 1982, and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2018. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits.

“The trustees’ projected depletion date of the combined Social Security trust funds has not changed, and slightly more than three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security. “But the fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program.”

Other highlights of the trustees’ report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASDI trust funds amounted to $997 billion in 2017 ($874 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $38 billion from taxation of benefits and $85 billion in interest).
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASDI trust funds amounted to more than $952 billion in 2017.
  • Social Security paid benefits of more than $941 billion in 2017. There were about 62 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.84 percent of taxable payroll – slightly larger than the 2.83 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2017, an estimated 174 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.5 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2017 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined trust fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.0 percent in 2017.

The board of trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, secretary of the treasury and managing trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, secretary of health and human services; and R. Alexander Acosta, secretary of labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2018 trustees report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2018/.

VSTD benefits increase for bus and rail members

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).

Click here for additional information.

 

VSTD changes for rail members

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).

Click here for additional information.

 

Haven’t enrolled in VSTD? Click here for information on late enrollment options.

Long-term disability insurance for rail members

SMART Web Banner 1_325px960px_Rail             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. Open enrollment for the Voluntary Long-Term Disability (VLTD) Plan will be available for active dues-paying SMART Transportation Division Rail and Bus members beginning August 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016, with no medical history information required. Rail members can select one of two plan options when enrolling: 60% Option – Allows rail members to purchase coverage after a 238-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 60 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $7,000). Cost for Part “B”: $73.88 per month. 50% Option – Allows rail members to purchase coverage after a 238-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 50 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $7,000). Cost for Part “A”: $51.63 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. Enroll Today In the month of July active members will receive an enrollment package from MetLife, containing plan FAQ’s and an enrollment form. If for some reason you do not receive an enrollment packet in the mail, call your regional field supervisor or click on the enrollment form below. It is easy to enroll! Simply print and complete the enrollment form below, and mail it to SMART Transportation Division (VLTD), 24950 Country Club Blvd., Ste. 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070.

For plan related questions or inquiries, please contact MetLife Customer Service at

1-800-300-4296

Do not wait to enroll! Your opportunity only lasts until October 31, 2016.

Long-term disability insurance for bus members

SMART Web Banner 1_325px960px_Bus             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. Open enrollment for the Voluntary Long-Term Disability (VLTD) Plan will be available for active dues-paying SMART Transportation Division Rail and Bus members beginning August 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016, with no medical history information required. 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. Enroll Today In the month of July active members will receive an enrollment package from MetLife, containing plan FAQ’s and an enrollment form. If for some reason you do not receive an enrollment packet in the mail, call your regional field supervisor or click on the enrollment form below. It is easy to enroll! Simply print and complete the enrollment form below, and mail it to SMART Transportation Division (VLTD), 24950 Country Club Blvd., Ste. 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070.

For plan related questions or inquiries, please contact MetLife Customer Service at

1-800-300-4296

Do not wait to enroll! Your opportunity only lasts until October 31, 2016.

Disability insurance for rail members

Short-term disability insurance for rail members

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 members and was designed to work in combination with Railroad Retirement sickness benefits.

The maximum weekly VSTD benefit will increase from $400 to $450 effective January 1, 2017.

The plan provides 24-hour coverage, seven days a week, for accidents and sickness. The 24/7 coverage means on- and off-duty coverage for accidents and sickness.

The cost is $34.50 per month and is collected through payroll deduction.

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).

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 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 rail 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.

Rail members can select one of two plan options when enrolling:

60% Option – Allows rail members to purchase coverage after a 238-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 60 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $7,000). Cost for Part “B”: $73.88 per month.

50% Option – Allows rail members to purchase coverage after a 238-day elimination period, and offers a monthly benefit of 50 percent of salary (up to a maximum benefit of $7,000). Cost for Part “A”: $51.63 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.

Enroll Today

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,
please contact
MetLife Customer Service at

1-800-300-4296


****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 six months into the 238-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.

Disability insurance for bus members

Short-term disability insurance for bus members

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.

Enroll Today

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,
please contact
MetLife Customer Service at

1-800-300-4296


****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.

Automatic disability insurance for bus members

The UTU has selected Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., a member of the Lincoln Financial Group, to provide a national group voluntary short-term disability plan for all bus members.

Coverage is for off-duty accidents and illness, and is automatic unless bus members opt out.

The Lincoln National Life disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of coverage for UTU bus members, and is designed to work in combination with state-mandated disability programs.

The Lincoln National Life plan pays up to $200 per week for up to 52 weeks a year, and provides coverage for off-the-job accidents and sickness.

The cost is $26.50 per month, and is collected through payroll deduction.

New UTU members will be enrolled automatically, unless they choose to opt-out of the plan by submitting a waiver form to the UTU International.

A disability-plan membership information kit will be mailed to all new members and will include a plan overview, as well as instructions for waiving coverage (opting-out of the plan) if they so choose.

Any member waiving coverage who desires to obtain coverage under the plan in the future, must make application to Lincoln at that later date. There will be no guarantee of acceptance.

Once enrolled, everyone is subject to a so-called 3/6 pre-existing condition provision. This provision excludes, for the first six months that a member is covered, any disability claims relating to treatment, diagnoses or existing condition that existed in the three months just prior to the enrollment date.

After the first six months that an enrollee is covered, the pre-existing condition limitation expires.

The member information kit describes the plan in greater detail, and also provides answers to frequently asked questions. Members are not required to complete any paperwork to enroll in the plan, but must  complete a waiver form if they choose not to participate.

Members desiring additional disability insurance coverage may purchase an individual policy through the UTU Insurance Association. This individual coverage would pay in addition to the Lincoln plan, without any offset or reduction in benefits to either plan. Contact your Field Supervisor or call the UTUIA Sales Department at (216) 228-9400 for more information.

You may view the plan brochure, FAQs and the waiver form by clicking on the links below.

Lincoln VSTD Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

Lincoln VSTD Waiver of Coverage Form

The following documents should be used by bus members to file a disability claim with Lincoln National Life.

Member instructions for filing a Lincoln claim

Local chairperson instructions for Lincoln claim

Lincoln claim form

Print the attached PDF. This is your Lincoln VSTD Policy Certificate for bus members. It is a complete guide to your benefits.

If you previously waived coverage, you may apply for coverage by completing the form below and submitting it to Lincoln National Life for underwriting.

• Lincoln late entry form

UTU bus members gain disability insurance

The UTU has selected Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., a member of the Lincoln Financial Group, to provide a national group voluntary short-term disability plan for all bus members.

Coverage is for off-duty accidents and illness, and is automatic unless bus members opt out.

The Lincoln National Life disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of coverage for UTU bus members, and is designed to work in combination with state-mandated disability programs.

The Lincoln National Life plan pays up to $200 per week for up to 52 weeks a year, and provides coverage for off-the-job accidents and sickness.

The cost is $26.50 per month, and is collected through payroll deduction.

New UTU members will be enrolled automatically, unless they choose to opt-out of the plan by submitting a waiver form to the UTU International.

A disability-plan membership information kit will be mailed to all new members and will include a plan overview, as well as instructions for waiving coverage (opting-out of the plan) if they so choose.

Any member waiving coverage who desires to obtain coverage under the plan in the future, must make application to Lincoln at that later date. There will be no guarantee of acceptance.

Once enrolled, everyone is subject to a so-called 3/6 pre-existing condition provision. This provision excludes, for the first six months that a member is covered, any disability claims relating to treatment, diagnoses or existing condition that existed in the three months just prior to the enrollment date.

After the first six months that an enrollee is covered, the pre-existing condition limitation expires.

The member information kit describes the plan in greater detail, and also provides answers to frequently asked questions. Members are not required to complete any paperwork to enroll in the plan, but must complete a waiver form if they choose not to participate.

Members desiring additional disability insurance coverage may purchase an individual policy through the UTU Insurance Association. This individual coverage would pay in addition to the Lincoln plan, without any offset or reduction in benefits to either plan. Contact your Field Supervisor or call the UTUIA Sales Department at (216) 228-9400 for more information.

You may view the plan brochure, FAQs and the waiver form by clicking on the links below.

The following documents should be used by bus members to file a disability claim with Lincoln National Life.

Print the attached PDF. This is your Lincoln VSTD Policy Certificate for bus members. It is a complete guide to your benefits.