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Virginia Sickness & Disability Program (VSDP)

If you are a state employee in VRS Plan 1, VRS Plan 2 or the Hybrid Retirement Plan, the State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS) or the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS), you are enrolled automatically in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) upon employment.

Note: You are not covered under VSDP if you are a state employee hired before January 1, 1999 who did not elect VSDP during one of two open enrollment periods offered in 1999 and 2002. You are eligible to be considered for VRS disability retirement if you cannot perform your job because of a condition that is likely to be permanent. If you are not sure whether you are covered under VSDP, contact your human resource office or see the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) Handbookpdf icon 1502kb for additional eligibility information.

VSDP provides income protection if you can’t work because of a non-work related or work-related disability. A work-related disability is the result of an occupational illness or injury that occurs on the job and the cause is determined to be eligible for benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.

VSDP focuses on assisting you with your recovery and helping you make a safe return to your full duties, if you are able. For an overview of VSDP benefits, select from the following. For more information, review the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) Handbook for State Employeespdf icon 1502kb.

More information:

Sick Leave and Family and Personal Leave

On January 10 of each year:

  • You receive between 32 hours and 80 hours of sick leave to use throughout the year for personal illness, injury, pregnancy or visits with licensed treating healthcare professionals. The amount you receive depends on your months of career state service and whether you are a full-time or part-time employee. If you need to be absent from work for an illness or injury of an immediate family member, you may use up to 33 percent of your sick leave as provided under Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) policy on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Immediate family members include your spouse, parents, children or stepchildren under age 18 or children or stepchildren over age 18 who cannot take care of themselves.

  • You receive up to 40 hours of family and personal leave to use throughout the year for any family or personal reason, including illness or injury. The amount you receive depends on your months of career state service.

  • If you are employed in a nine-, 10- or 11-month position, you cannot use sick leave or family and personal leave during the month(s) you normally do not work.

Your supervisor must approve your request for sick leave and family and personal leave. For more information about the state’s leave policies, visit the Department of Human Resource Management website.

Short-Term Disability Coverage

The VSDP short-term disability benefit begins after a seven-calendar day waiting period from the first day of your disability and continues for up to 125 workdays. The 125-workday period is based on a Monday-through-Friday workweek and includes paid holidays. You are eligible to be considered for a short-term disability benefit during periods of total or partial disability. If go on short-term disability and are still disabled after 125 workdays, you will be eligible for long-term disability benefits as determined by Unum.

You may file a claim for benefits before the end of the seven-calendar day waiting period. You can use sick leave or other eligible leave to cover your absence during the waiting period, with the approval of your supervisor. The waiting period may be waived for a major chronic or catastrophic condition.

Hired Before July 1, 2009?

You are eligible for non-work related and work-related disability coverage from the first day of employment. If you go on short-term disability, you will receive income replacement equal to 100 percent of your pre-disability income, which will reduce to 80 percent and then 60 percent. The amount of the reduction is based on your months of career state service, whether the disability is non-work related or work-related and how long you are out. If you are receiving 60 percent of your pre-disability income and your condition becomes catastrophic, your income replacement will increase to 80 percent. If your condition improves and is no longer considered catastrophic, your income replacement will return to 60 percent.

Hired or Rehired On or After July 1, 2009?

You are eligible for work-related disability coverage from the first day of employment. After one year of continuous employment, you become eligible for non-work related short-term disability coverage. If you would like to purchase an individual policy for non-work related disabilities during your first year of employment, see the Fringe Benefits Management Company’s website for a list of companies approved to handle payment deductions for state employees. The Commonwealth does not endorse any of these companies.

If you go on short-term disability, you will receive income replacement equal to 60 percent of your pre-disability income. After five years of continuous employment, you become eligible for 100 percent of your pre-disability income, which reduces to 80 percent and then 60 percent. The amount of the reduction depends on your months of career state service, whether the disability is non-work related or work-related and how long you are out. After five years of continuous employment, you also become eligible for income replacement at 80 percent if your condition becomes catastrophic and you are receiving 60 percent of your pre-disability income. If your condition improves and is no longer considered catastrophic, your income replacement will return to 60 percent.

Service Credit for Workers' Compensation

If you go on work-related short-term disability receiving only workers' compensation and retirement contributions are not withheld from your workers' compensation payment, you may be eligible to purchase service credit for the time you are on short-term disability. For more information, contact your human resource office. See Purchase of Prior Service.

State Police Officers

If you are a member of the State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS) and suffer a work-related illness or injury in the line of duty, you are eligible for income replacement equal to 100 percent of your pre-disability income for up to six months of short-term disability, regardless of the date you were hired. Depending on certification by the Superintendent of State Police, which must be provided to Unum, you may be eligible for another six months of short-term disability at 100 percent of your pre-disability income. If you are still disabled after 12 months, you will go on long-term disability with income replacement equal to 60 percent of your pre-disability income.

Long-Term Disability Coverage

Long-term disability coverage for non-work related and work-related disabilities provides income replacement if you become disabled and cannot work for an extended period of time. If you were hired or rehired on or after July 1, 2009, you must fulfill a one-year eligibility period before becoming eligible for non-work related disability coverage. You are eligible for work-related disability coverage from the first day of employment.

Long-term disability begins after you have been on short-term disability for 125 workdays. Income replacement for long-term disability coverage is equal to 60 percent of your pre-disability income, including any salary increases you receive while on short-term disability. You are eligible for long-term disability benefits if you cannot work at all or can work at least 20 hours a week but cannot perform your full duties. To be eligible to work a reduced schedule while on long-term disability, you must have been working a reduced schedule while on short-term disability.

If your condition becomes catastrophic, your income replacement will increase to 80 percent. If your condition improves and is no longer considered catastrophic, your income replacement will return to 60 percent. If you were hired or rehired on or after July 1, 2009, you become eligible for this adjustment for catastrophic conditions after five years of continuous employment.

If You Are Eligible to Retire

You are not retired while you are on long-term disability. You can retire when you meet the age and service requirements for Plan 1 or Plan 2 unless you are receiving workers' compensation benefits. If you become disabled within five years of your normal retirement age or later, you will be eligible for up to five years of VSDP benefits, provided you remain medically eligible. Once you have received VSDP benefits for five years, you must retire.

Current COLA (Plan 1): 1.46%

Current COLA (Plan 2): 1.46%

If you are on long-term disability over a full calendar year (January 1 to December 31), you become eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on the following July 1 if you are still on long-term disability. The VRS Board of Trustees sets the COLA amount each fiscal year based on an amount recommended by the actuary and approved by the Board. The COLA allows the VSDP long-term disability benefit to keep pace with inflation. During years of no inflation or deflation, the COLA will be 0 percent.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

If you are on long-term disability, you become eligible for a COLA on July 1 following one full calendar year (January 1 to December 31) of being on disability. See Long-Term Disability Coverage for the current COLA amount.

If you retire from being on short-term or long-term disability under VSDP, you will become eligible for a COLA on July 1 following one full calendar year (January 1 to December 31) from the effective date of your retirement. If you return to covered employment instead of retiring and work for at least one full calendar month from the effective date of reemployment, the effective date of your COLA will be the same as for service retirement. Read more about the COLA.

Coordination with Other Benefits

Workers’ Compensation

If you suffer a work-related illness or injury, you must apply for disability benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act to be considered for work-related disability under VSDP. If you are approved for Workers’ Compensation benefits, your VSDP work-related benefit will supplement your Workers’ Compensation. For more information about Workers’ Compensation, visit the Department of Human Resource Management website.

Family and Medical Leave Act

You are eligible to take authorized unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for certain personal or family situations. This leave will be coordinated with your sick leave, family and personal leave and VSDP disability coverage. For more information, contact your human resource office.

Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are on short-term or long-term disability, you may be required to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. The VSDP third-party administrator, Unum, will assist you with the application process as well as the appeal process if your application is denied.

Additional Line-of-Duty Benefits

If you are a member of SPORS or VaLORS, you or your beneficiary may be eligible for state or federal benefits if you die or are disabled in the line of duty. Your VSDP benefit will be offset by any line-of-duty benefits you receive. For more information, contact:

Health Insurance Credit

If you are on long-term disability, you are eligible for a health insurance credit of $120 per month or $4 per year of creditable service per month at the time you become disabled, whichever is higher, not to exceed the amount of your monthly individual health insurance premium. The health insurance credit is a tax-free reimbursement that assists with the portion of health insurance premiums you pay for single coverage.

Deferred Compensation Plan

If you participate in the Commonwealth's 457 Plan or a 403(b) plan, your contributions and the cash match will continue while you are on non-work related short-term disability or on long-term disability-working. If you are on work-related disability or long-term disability (not working), your contributions and the cash match will stop.


How to File a Claim

Call the third-party administrator, Unum, toll free at 1-800-652-5602 to begin the claim process. You do not have to wait until the end of the seven-calendar day waiting period. A family member or friend can call on your behalf. Unum will advise you about whether or not this waiting period can be waived.

Have the following information ready:

  • Job title and agency
  • Employee ID number – either the number on your health insurance card if you are covered under the Commonwealth of Virginia (COVA) Health Benefits Program or an identification number provided by your employer.
  • Date of birth
  • Current mailing address
  • Brief description of your disability
  • Last day you were or will be able to work
  • Name, address, phone number and fax number of your doctor or other licensed treating healthcare professional

You will receive an introductory packet from Unum. Following a review of your claim, you will receive a letter from Unum approving or denying your claim. If your claim is denied, the letter will explain how to appeal the denial.


Note: You are responsible for contacting Unum as soon as possible to submit your claim. You are not eligible to receive benefits more than 14 days before the date you contact Unum.

As a participant in VSDP, you also are covered under the VSDP Long-Term Care Plan.

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