Call Us for Help!

Don't see your question here? Check our additional resources page. If you still don't find the information you're looking for, access our hotline at 1-866-237-9411 or email us at help@ristybenefits.com.

Q: Who is the State of South Dakota’s Short Term Disability Carrier?
A: The State of South Dakota’s Short Term Disability Carrier is Unum Life Insurance Company of America in Portland, Maine.

Q: How long can I receive payments?

A: You can receive benefits for up to 52 weeks, depending on how long you remain disabled. Benefits end on the earliest of:

  • End of disability (you return to work)
  • Employment in any job/occupation
  • Your death
  • 52 weeks (lifetime maximum of 365 days)

Q: Define “Disabled."
A: Disability is defined as the inability to perform the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation and you cannot work in any occupation. You must be under the regular care of a physician to be considered disabled. Self-inflicted injuries do not meet the definition of disabled under this contract. Any disability related to an illness or Injury while working for pay or profit or any disability related to an illness or Injury covered by Workers’ Compensation, if those benefits have been applied for and received. If benefits are paid under this Plan and Workers’ Compensation benefits are paid, the Plan is subrogated. This means the Employee will be required to reimburse the Plan out of the monies he or she receives from the other benefit source. The Employee will not be required to reimburse the Plan more than the amount that he or she receives for the Injury or disease.

Q: How much of my income do I receive?
A: You can replace 60% (up to $866 per week) of you earnings. Earnings are defined as your base pay ( before taxes and deductions for a Section 125 plan or the Flex plan), but excluding bonuses, fringe benefits, longevity pay, overtime pay, or summer school compensation. Your disability benefit may be reduced by other sources of income such as Workers Compensation, Social Security Disability payments, or the State Retirement plan.

Q: When would benefits (payments to you) begin?
A: Benefits begin after 30 days of total disability. Important: Coverage must be in effect for benefits to be paid.

Q: Who’s eligible to sign up for Short Term Disability Income Protection?
A: You are eligible for coverage if you are an active State employee working a minimum of 20 hours per week. Family members and former State employees are not eligible.

Q: When would the coverage be effective?
A: Coverage for new employees generally begins six months after their first day of work, provided they enrolled within 30 days of their date of hire. During the annual open enrollment, coverage is effective the following January 1.

Q: Do I pay premiums during the six month waiting period before my coverage becomes effective?
A: You will begin paying premiums the month prior to the coverage taking effect. For example, if your coverage takes effect January 1, you will begin paying premiums in December.

Q: Do I still have to pay premiums while I am disabled?

A: If you are receiving benefit payments, you will not have to pay the premium after 90 days.

Q: Am I guaranteed coverage?
A: Yes.

Q: Are the benefits taxable?
A: No, because the premiums are paid with after-tax dollars by the employee.

Q: Are there any other benefits to this program?
A: Yes. For example, if an employee participates in Unum’s vocational Rehabilitation and Return to Wok Assistance program they will pay you an additional benefit or 10% of your gross disability payment up to an additional $250 per week.

Q: How do I apply for the State Short Term Disability coverage?
A: New Hires may enroll in the State Short Term Disability plan within the first 30 days from date
of hire by contacting their HR Representative. Others must wait for a family change act event or the annual enrollment period.

Q: When can I apply for Short Term Disability Coverage?
A: Current employees can apply for STD during the open enrollment period only. New Hires may enroll in the State Short Term Disability plan within the first 30 days from date
of hire by contacting their HR Representative. Others must wait for a family change act event or the annual enrollment period.

Q: Does the State of South Dakota pay for a portion of my benefit?
A: No. Employees are solely responsible for the premiums. 

Q: Can I purchase additional coverage over the 60% (up to $866 per week) income replacement?
A: No. Individual contracts may be available thru your personal insurance agent.

Q: Can I increase the benefit duration, over the 365 days?
A: No. Individual contracts for more coverage may be available from your personal agent.

Q: Is this an individual contract?
A: No. The State of South Dakota contract with UNUM is a group contract. This means there is one master contract held by the State of South Dakota. Because this is written on a group basis, the underwriting is much more liberal than most individual contracts, and pricing is usually much better.

Q: Can I take the Short Term Disability coverage with me when I retire or leave State employment?
No.This contract is designed to replace State income only.

Q: Will the rates ever change?
It is possible for rates to change, but they will never change based on your age.

Q: Can I be declined coverage?
A: No, this contract is guaranteed issue and you cannot be declined based on current health conditions.

Additional questions or concerns:
You may contact Unum’s local representative, Risty Benefits, Inc at 866-237-9411 or email help@ristybenefits.com.

As Plan Administrator, Unum has final authority to make determinations on eligibility, enrollment, and issues not specifically addresses in the Short Term Disability coverage information provided
on this document and the information provided on this website. The contract is between Unum and the South Dakota State Employee Health Plan is the binding document, and in case of any discrepancies, the contract would rule.

Short Term Disability Plan FAQs