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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20360
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I have been with my company since Sept 14, 2011 and have paid

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I have been with my company since Sept 14, 2011 and have paid into the short term and long term disability plan. October 10, 2012, I was taken off work by my doctors with more than one disability. I started with FMLA, then went into STD after 12 weeks. As of today, May 23, 2013, I was called and advised I am terminated and all benefits will cease as of tomorrow, May 24, 2013, including my STD. I am just about to have a final surgery that will result in my ability to return to work. First of all, can my STD benefits just stop in midstream just because my employment terminates? I cannot argue the termination because they said my job was actually eliminated and they are fully staffed in all other areas for now, even though I thought they had to guarantee me a position when I returned. I have learned that is not the case. However, I do believe the STD payments should continue. Is this correct? If you do not know, can you didrect me to the correct place to find out? Thank you very much for your time. Debbifae

Thank you for the information and your question. I am sorry to read about your situation. Just to clarify the law in Texas as it relates to termination in these cases, once the job protection provided under FMLA has expired, which is the 12 weeks in a 12 month period, an employer is not required to reinstate an employee to their job if they have not returned and the employer has a neutral attendance policy that they enforce or, like in this case, their job is eliminated. There could be a contract or company policy that gives an employee more job retention rights, but the law does not provide any more than what I mentioned.

As for the STD, although STD is an insurance policy and the exact terms of the policy apply (which is not based on a statute), almost every STD policy I have ever read continues beyond the employee's termination up to that maximum number of weeks/days payable under the policy for the condition. In other words, as long as you qualified and were collecting STD while you were still employed, those specific benefits for these conditions will continue to pay until the payment period runs out. Not sure if your STD is 6 months or what, but that is the period that will pay. You will want to read your policy though and see what it says. I am guessing that your HR person misspoke.

You will want to contact the Plan Administrator for the STD and discuss this with them. If they don't give you a satisfactory answer, you can file a complaint with the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, the agency that enforces ERISA, which is the Act that governs fringe benefits.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the speedy response! Not to sound ignorant, but I am assuming my plan administrator would be Prudential, the company I receive my disability checks from? And my STD benefits are good for up to 1 year. Thankfully.
You're very welcome and yes, that would be Prudential (you don't sound ignorant). That is good that your STD goes for a year.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You have been exceptionally great to work with and very
knowledgeable. I hate to bring this to an end so quickly but you are so efficient I have nothing else to ask on this subject. :) Have a great day and I will contact you again should I have any future issues.

Kind Regards,

You're welcome Debbie and best of luck to you with your health and employment issues.