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Short Term Disability

Video Transcript

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[SHANNON] Hello, I am Shannon Burhans and
I am an Associate for Medical Leaves Administration.

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I oversee Cornell's short-term disability
and workers compensation programs. The short-term

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disability plan provides partial income benefits for
all non-academic Cornell endowed and contract

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college employees, who are unable to work due
to an illness or injury, not related

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to or caused by their job. This program covers both
benefit eligible and non-benefit eligible

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temporary, non-academic employees.
Cornell offers our benefits eligible, non-academic

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employees 50% of their pay for up to 26 weeks of

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short-term disability. Non-benefits eligible
employees are covered under the terms of the New

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York State program, which has a salary cap.
To start the disability process for either program,

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you will need to submit an out-of-work
note from your physician stating you are unable to

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work as of a specific date to your HR rep.
There's a seven consecutive day waiting period before

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benefit payments start. You are required
to use health and personal leave to cover

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the waiting period after the seven calendar day

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waiting period. You will receive disability pay
for the time you are medically approved

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as disabled from work, up to a maximum of
26 weeks. You can use health and personal

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leave and vacation time to supplement the disability pay

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if you would like to. Please inform your HR rep
if you wish to supplement from your accruals to

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receive full pay. Once that out of work note is

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received by your HR representative they will complete
a transaction in Workday putting you

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on leave. MLA will receive notification that
your leave request has been entered into

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Workday, at that time MLA will email to your
Cornell email address

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a packet of information and forms.
There will be two forms; an Authorization for Release of

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Medical Information and a
DB-450 Notice and Proof of Disability.

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You will have 30 days from receipt
of the packet to return the forms to me.

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Once you are released to return to work you will need

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to submit a return to work note to your HR rep.

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It is important to note that Cornell has employees
across the United States, while most of our

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New York employees are covered under the terms
of the programs I just described, there are

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a handful of other states which have their own version

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of paid family or paid medical leave. If you work

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in a state other than New York and you aren't
sure whether your state provides its own

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paid family or medically benefit,
you may contact Medical

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Leaves Administration. If you are
covered under your own

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state's policy we will be happy to direct
you to the appropriate state agency which

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would receive your request for paid leave.
Now let's talk

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about workers compensation.
The eligibility for workers

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compensation is very simple. If you are paid via
Cornell payroll and you receive a W-2 from

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Cornell University you are covered under
workers' compensation. Workers' compensation exists to

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cover the cost of medical care if someone
is sick, hurt or injured due to their job.

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It also provides lost wage replacement if someone is unable

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to work due to a work related condition. If you experience  

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a work-related illness or work injury Cornell policy
requires that you notify your immediate

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supervisor within 24 hours of the accident.
To file a claim for benefits, complete a

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Cornell Accident Report Form, paying particular attention to

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the nature of the injury, lost work time and medical

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treatment administered. In order to report
the injury you will need to log into the

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EH&S website. You will then click on the red box

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that says 'Report a New Incident'.
Click 'Accept' to go to the reporting site.

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Click 'Report New Incident'. Click on the top one, 'Injury,

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Illness or Exposure' which will take you to
the Event Report. Fill and complete all information.

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If you will be seeking medical treatment please be
sure to note that when asked. Medical Leaves

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receives a copy of all work related incident reports
and we will contact you directly if

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we need more information, otherwise we will file
the work related incident report with

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the appropriate workers compensation carrier,
as they are different agencies involved depending

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on whether you are an endowed or contract college
employee. The appropriate carrier will

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then contact you directly with more information about
your workers compensation claim, and how

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to submit requests for reimbursement for any
out-of-pocket costs. If you are taken out of

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work for a work-related injury, you will need
to submit an out-of-work note from your treating

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physician to your HR rep so that they can
place you out on the appropriate leave in

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Workday. If you have any questions
about either short-term disability

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or workers' compensation, you are welcome to
contact me directly at,

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and I will be happy to help you.

The Cornell Short-Term Disability (STD) Plan provides benefits and partial compensation when you are unable to work for qualified health reasons unrelated to workers compensation. 

Special note for nonacademic pregnant employees covered under Cornell’s short term disability planeffective 1/1/2024, the state of New York has made it easier for a pregnant employee to begin their maternity/disability leave at a time of their choosing, during the last 4 weeks prior to their estimated due date. If you would like more information about starting your leave or to discuss what documentation is appropriate, please contact MLA at or via phone at 607-255-1177.

You typically use health and personal leave to cover your lost wages for the first 7 calendar days of a disability-related absence. After the 7 calendar day waiting period, you receive 50% of your base pay for the time you are medically approved as disabled from work, up to a maximum of 26 weeks in any 52 weeks period(or approximately six (6) months) and your job will be held in accordance with Cornell’s job hold policy provisions.

If you qualify, you may use health and personal leave and vacation time to supplement the other 50% pay. You will also receive holiday pay for any holiday that falls during a period of approved disability. Your time off is not used on a university holiday.

You may choose to use these days together or return to work up to half-time, and receive 50% pay for the time not worked with agreement from you, your physician, and your supervisor. Leave accruals may still be used to supplement this partial disability time. If you exhaust all of your STD benefits, you may be approved for long-term disability.

Short Term Disability FAQ


To be eligible for this benefit, you must:

  • be employed for at least 4 weeks by Cornell, or worked 4 or more consecutive weeks elsewhere in New York and be re-employed with Cornell within 4 weeks from the last day previously worked in New York
  • be absent from work for 7 consecutive calendar days
  • provide proper medical certification of disability from a licensed New York medical provider, both at the start of disability, and via periodic medical certification if the absence from work is lengthy. Cornell may seek independent medical verification of your disability as a condition of continuing your benefits
  • be a regular full-time or part-time nonacademic Cornell employee
  • notwork for wages elsewhere when you are disabled and receiving benefits from Cornell. Any outside employment requires the express written authorization from Cornell.

Employees working outside New York State:

Employees working in other states with state-provided paid family and/or medical leave benefits will be covered under the terms of their respective state's policies. If you are unsure whether your state provides its own paid family or medical leave benefit you may contact Medical Leaves Administration (MLA) at 607-255-1177, and MLA can direct you to the appropriate state agency which would receive your request for paid leave.

Temporary and Cooperative Extension Employees

  • Temporary, non-benefits eligible employees must meet the same criteria as above and the benefit is limited to the weekly rate as per current New York law.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Association employees are not covered under the Cornell Short Term Disability plan.

How to Apply

First talk to your supervisor and your local human resources representative. You’ll be asked to do the following:

  • Provide written notification: It is your responsibility to present written notification to your supervisor certifying you are able to return to work after an absence of five (5) consecutive working days or more. Employees who cannot produce such notification cannot be allowed to return to work.
  • Complete the DB-450 form: If you are absent for more than seven (7) calendar days you must have a DB-450 form completed by your doctor. If you see more than one physician, a DB-450 must be filed for each doctor you see during your period of disability. Medical Leaves Administration will send you this form automatically – your department will notify us. Medical Leaves Administration treats this information confidentially. Under no circumstances will this information be released to your department.
  • Submit all other forms: Claim forms and information are sent to your Cornell email address. It is your responsibility to promptly complete and submit all forms received from Medical Leaves Administration. You are also required to provide continuing medical reports of your disability when required by Medical Leaves Administration.

Returning to Work

Once your disability has ended, you must be medically certified to return to your job. This will require you to present a medical note from your physician to your supervisor that you are able to resume your job. This note must be presented either before your return or on the day you return. Cornell may seek independent medical verification of your ability to return to work.

If you become disabled as a result of the same illness or accident within 90 consecutive days of your return to work, disability benefits under this program will begin immediately.