Income replacement if you’re unable to work

  • Disability coverage helps replace a portion of your income if you’re unable to work due to an injury, illness or pregnancy.
  • The district offers coverage through Unum Life Insurance Company of America.
  • You receive a monthly benefit up to a maximum of $8,000.
Determining your coverage

During enrollment, you choose what percentage—40, 50 or 66.7—of your annual base earnings you want to replace each month. Base earnings, calculated at the time of your disability, don’t include bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, shift differential, employer contributions on your behalf to any deferred compensation or pension plan or any other extra compensation.

Some wage continuation benefits, like Workers’ Compensation, Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and Social Security, reduce your disability benefits. That list includes leave days, sick days and summer wages. If you’re receiving disability benefits at the time of your death, survivor benefits may be paid to your spouse, child(ren) or estate.

Choosing your elimination period

The elimination period is the amount of time you must wait until disability benefits begin once you’re disabled.

If you have a lot of sick/personal days available, you might choose a longer waiting period because, typically, you receive 100% of your pay during the disability waiting period if you have a certain number of accumulated sick/personal days.

The plan pays a $100 minimum monthly benefit if you have sick days left after the waiting period and then pays the full benefit amount elected once you have no sick days available, subject to reductions by deductible sources of income and disability earnings.

This chart shows your options and the average number of sick or personal days you need to continue receiving 100% of your pay before the plan begins to pay benefits.


Disability waiting period options Average number of sick/personal days
30 calendar days 22 work days
60 calendar days 44 work days
90 calendar days 66 work days
180 calendar days 132 work days
Filing a claim

To file a disability claim, you and your attending physician must fill out your own sections of the Unum disability claim form and send it directly to Unum. HISD completes the employer section of the claim form upon request from Unum. For assistance during this process, call 800-858-6843 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays.

Receiving benefits

Once approved, your benefits start the day after your elimination period ends. Benefits may continue during disability until you recover or reach the maximum benefit period.

The duration of your benefits is based on your age at disability. For example, if you are less than 60 years old, the maximum period of payment is until you reach age 65, but not less than five years.


Provision description
Age when disability begins Maximum benefit period
Less than 60 To age 65, but not less than 5 years
60 60 months (5 years)
61 48 months (4 years)
62 42 months (3 years 6 months)
63 36 months (3 years)
64 30 months (2 years 6 months)
65 24 months (2 years)
66 21 months (1 year 9 months)
67 18 months (1 year 6 months)
68 15 months (1 year 3 months)
69 and over 12 months (1 year)
When benefits end

Your payments stop on the earliest of the following:

  • During the first 24 months of payment, when you are able to work in your regular occupation (see definition below) on a part-time basis but you do not
  • After 24 months of payment, when you are able to work in any gainful occupation (see definition below) on a part-time basis but you do not
  • After 12 months of payment if you reside outside the U.S. or Canada for six months or more during any 12 consecutive months of benefits
  • The end of the maximum period of payment
  • The date you are no longer disabled under the terms of the plan (unless you’re eligible to receive benefits under Unum’s Rehabilitation and Return to Work assistance program)
  • The date your disability earnings exceed the amount allowable under the plan
  • In the event of your death
  • The date you fail to submit proof of continuing disability
Regular occupation

You’re considered disabled if, as a result of physical disease, injury, pregnancy or mental disorder, you’re unable to perform the material duties of your regular occupation that you are routinely performing when your disability begins and suffer an earnings loss of at least 20% of your indexed pre-disability earnings when working in your regular occupation. You’re not considered disabled during this period because of a loss of license or something similar that restricts your right to perform your occupation.

Gainful occupation

You’re considered disabled if, as a result of physical disease, injury, pregnancy or mental disorder, you’re unable to perform the duties of any gainful occupation that is or can be expected to provide you with an income at least equal to your gross disability payment within 12 months of your return to work.

Pre-existing conditions

New or increased disability coverage is subject to a 3/12 pre-existing condition exclusion. If you have a condition that was treated or medically advised in the three months before your coverage effective date, you are not covered for that condition for the first 12 months. 

Actively-at-work provision

If you’re not actively at work when coverage is scheduled to become effective, your coverage doesn't take effect until you complete your first day at work. Paid leave and paid vacation are not considered being actively at work.

Taking coverage with you

If you leave the district, your disability plan is not convertible. 

Helpful resources

Visit the Unum website to:

  • Monitor your claim
  • Sign up for direct deposit of your claim payment
  • Update your contact information
  • File a maternity claim in advance
  • Report your return-to-work date
  • Name a beneficiary
  • Find answers to your disability benefits questions


You can also refer to the policy or call Unum customer service at 800-858-6843 between 7 a.m. and 7 pm. weekdays, excluding holidays.

Important: The information provided on this page is not the official policy. In the case of discrepancies, the policy governs.

Your cost

Based on 24 pay periods $4.94

For any benefits question or concern, one call does it all.
Call us at 877-780-HISD (4473)