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Long-Term Disability Plan Details

Long-term disability (LTD) coverage is a benefit for all RFA or LTF under age 65. It assures you a reasonable income if you are totally disabled according to the insurer’s definition and unable to perform your job after your sick leave benefits are exhausted.

Although the focus of LTD coverage is on encouraging your eventual return to work, if necessary, the LTD plan may continue to provide benefits until age 65 if you are unable to recover sufficiently to work at any job.

The plan is insured through Sun Life Financial, who administers and adjudicates benefit coverage. The university’s sole obligation with respect to LTD benefits is to pay the cost of the premiums for the LTD plan.

For more information about sick leave benefits for the first 66 days of an illness or injury, see the Sick Leave Benefits Details.


What benefits are payable if my application is approved?

If you qualify for LTD, you will receive 80% of your regular pre-disability gross monthly earnings at the start of total disability, less applicable taxes to a maximum benefit of $14,000 per month.

The benefit may not exceed 80% of income from all sources including other insurance and retirement benefits.

How does the LTD plan work?

LTD coverage assures you a portion of your income during any period of illness or disability that extends beyond the 66 working days covered by sick leave benefits.

To receive your benefits, you must:

  • Meet Sun Life Financial’s definition of totally disabled;
  • communicate with Sun Life in a timely way; and
  • comply with Sun Life’s requests for medical documentation and/or examination.

LTD benefits will only be paid after Sun Life Financial has received all necessary documentation supporting your disability claim and has had the opportunity to review your claim and render a decision. This process often includes a direct conversation, usually by telephone, between you and your case manager from Sun Life.

Any delay in providing documentation will delay your LTD payments, regardless of who causes the delay. For this reason, it’s important to be in contact with Sun Life to ensure they have received documentation from you and your treating physician.

If Sun Life Financial does not receive the appropriate medical evidence of disability, LTD payments will not be made.

There is no coverage after age 65 even if you continue working at Ryerson.

How is “totally disabled” defined?

For the first 36 months following your sick leave, you are considered “totally disabled” under the terms of the LTD plan if you are unable to perform the essential duties of your own occupation.

After this 36-month period, you are considered “totally disabled” if you cannot engage in any occupation for which you are or could become reasonably suited by education, training or experience.

What are the requirements for medical supervision and documentation?

To be considered disabled, you do not have to be confined to a hospital or to your home, but you must be under the regular care of a licensed medical doctor.

You are required to provide medical documentation and updates of continued disability.

Any costs charged by a doctor or hospital providing this medical documentation are your responsibility. Sun Life Financial, Ryerson and OHIP will not reimburse you for these costs. The insurer may also require proof of age.

What if my earnings change while I am receiving LTD benefits?

Any change in your regular salary that occurs while you are receiving LTD benefits will not be reflected in your benefit amount.

You must be actively at work or on an approved sick leave for a change in salary to take effect. Once you return from LTD to full-time work and duties, your salary will be adjusted by any across-the-board increases that occurred during your leave.

Will my LTD benefits be adjusted for inflation?

Your LTD benefits will receive a cost-of-living adjustment on each anniversary date of your first LTD payment. The adjustment will reflect any increase in the Toronto Consumer Price Index over the 12-month period ending three months before the anniversary date.

The maximum adjustment will be an 8% increase and the minimum will be 0% (the benefit may stay the same but will not decrease). Any increase in the index that exceeds 8% will be carried forward and applied to a period in which the increase is less than 8%.

Can I take part in a rehabilitative work program and still maintain my benefits?

To encourage your rehabilitation and return to work, your LTD benefits will be reduced by only 50% of the income you receive from employment in an approved rehabilitative program.

Income from all sources cannot exceed 100% of your pre-disability salary.

Your doctor, Sun Life Financial and Ryerson must approve the rehabilitative work. Workplace Wellbeing Services will work actively with you and Sun Life during this time to facilitate your return to work.

Am I covered under the LTD plan if I am on a secondment or leave of absence?

Your coverage does not differ if you are on a secondment that extends up to two years. For terms longer than two years, the insurer’s approval is required.

You are covered under the policy during a paid leave of absence of up to one year. For a longer leave period, special arrangements must be made with the insurer.

Note that the elimination period (period you must wait before LTD benefits may begin during which you are receiving sick leave benefits) may differ from the normal 66-day length if you:

  • work a reduced workload or partial year;
  • are on a leave without pay;
  • are temporarily laid off; or
  • in the case of pregnancy.

What if I return to work and then become ill or injured again?

If there is a recurrence of the same or causally related total disability (as determined by the insurer) within six months of your return to work, your salary will cease and the insured benefits will resume with no waiting period.

An unrelated total disability, or a recurrence after six months from the date of return to work after a previous disability, is not a recurrence of the same or causally related sickness or disability. In these circumstances, you would begin the short term disability.

When do my LTD benefits end?

Your LTD benefits will end on the earlier of the following dates:

  • the date you no longer meet the definition of “totally disabled”;
  • your retirement date;
  • your 65th birthday;
  • the date of your death;
  • the date you do not meet the conditions set out in the Exclusions and conditions.

If I leave Ryerson, can I continue my LTD coverage as an individual policy?

Your long term disability policy cannot be converted to an individual policy when you leave Ryerson.

Cost and tax facts

What is the cost for long-term disability (LTD) coverage?

There are no employee-paid premiums. Ryerson pays the premium for your LTD coverage.

How do taxes apply to the LTD plan?

Ryerson pays 100% of the premium cost for this coverage. Since Ryerson pays the premium, the benefits are taxable as regular income when received.

Exclusions and conditions

What happens if I receive other income or other disability benefits from other sources?

Your benefits under the LTD plan will be reduced by any amounts you receive from other sources such as income from another employer or amounts from any of the following sources:

  • another group insurance plan;
  • payments under a contract of motor vehicle insurance that provides mandatory disability income benefits under the government legislation;
  • the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits;
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance benefits;
  • retirement benefits received from an employer or government agency, as a result of a disability or medical condition;
  • benefits received as the result of litigation; or
  • (where permitted by law) any amount of income provided under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act or similar legislation.

Your benefits may be offset by amounts that you would have received from other sources, whether or not you have applied for these benefits.

Note that cost-of-living increases to any of the above benefits (e.g., Canada Pension Plan benefits) will not result in a corresponding adjustment of your LTD benefits.

Sun Life may require you to complete a questionnaire and sign an agreement indicating your sources of income. Failure to complete these documents may result in suspension of your LTD benefit payments.

Under what circumstances are LTD benefits not payable?

LTD benefits will end as described under When do my LTD benefits end? In addition, you will not receive LTD benefits if you:

  • are no longer receiving appropriate treatment;
  • engage in any employment, other than an approved rehabilitative program, regardless of whether it is paid employment or not;
  • refuse to engage in a rehabilitative program that has been approved by the insurer and your attending doctor;
  • refuse to provide satisfactory medical documentation, submit to a medical examination, complete a questionnaire or agreement regarding your sources of income;
  • are taking a formal maternity and/or parental leave;
  • are totally disabled due to abuse of alcohol or drugs, unless:
    • you are confined in a hospital stay and are participating in a rehabilitative program, and the hospital stay and/or the rehabilitative program began while you were receiving sick leave benefits; or
    • you have an organic disease which would cause total disability even in the absence of drug or alcohol use;
  • are totally disabled due to:
    • the hostile action of any armed forces, insurrection, or participation in any riot or civil commotion;
    • your commission or attempted commission of a criminal offence.

Making Claims

How do I apply for LTD benefits?

If medical documentation suggests that you will remain totally disabled beyond the 66-day sick leave, Sun Life will require that you complete a transition form that they will forward to you during your sick leave period.

Sun Life Financial requires you to submit your claim at least 30 days before the end of the 66-day elimination period, which usually coincides with the end of your sick leave benefits.

You must provide medical documentation as proof of your claim no later than 180 days after the end of the elimination period.

If you submit it later than this, the insurer will consider that the elimination period ended 180 days prior to receiving your proof of claim and if your claim is approved, benefits will be retroactive only for 180 days.


If you would like assistance completing the long-term disability application or have any questions about your leave, contact Workplace Wellbeing Services.

Ryerson reserves the right, at any time, to amend, change or discontinue any benefit coverage. If there is a question about coverage referred to in any portion of this benefits communication, the master contract from the insurer is the governing document.