Did you know accidents aren’t usually the cause of a disability? Instead, illnesses—like heart disease or cancer—cause most long-term absences. Think of disability insurance as your personal safety net. If you’re too sick or hurt to work, you can rely on it to replace a portion of your income. 

At no cost, the University of Iowa provides eligible employees with the mandatory long-term disability (LTD) insurance administered by Principal Life Insurance Company. This benefit provides 60 percent salary replacement coverage of your monthly budgeted salary, up to a maximum of $25,000 monthly.

To review the resources available to our employees, please visit our Principal microsite

Who is eligible?

The LTD insurance plan is mandatory for regular benefit-eligible employees working 50 percent or greater in a permanent appointment (i.e., Faculty, P&S, Merit, and House staff).

A newly hired employee transferring from another state agency or state university to this LTD policy shall be given credit for prior time employed at the other such agency or university to determine eligibility.

Summary of benefit

Who pays for coverage? The University of Iowa covers the group policy premium for eligible employees. There is no out-of-pocket cost for employees. 
Elimination period The latter of: 
- The date disability has been continuous for 90 working days or
- Until expiration of all accrued sick leave and vacation time (if elected)
Own job period Own Job: the job you are routinely performing when Disability begins.
Own Job Period: The first two years immediately following the date of Disability
Primary monthly benefit 60% of your monthly budgeted salary
Maximum monthly benefit $25,000
Minimum monthly benefit $50
Maximum benefit payment period Age on date disability begins: Benefit payment period:
  1. Before age 65
  2. Age 65 - 67
  3. Age 68 - 69
  4. Age 70 - 71
  5. Age 72 +
  1. Greater of 36 months or Social Security retirement age
  2. 24 months
  3. 18 months
  4. 15 months
  5. 12 months
Other notes
  • The amount an employee receives under this program is reduced by any benefits paid by Social Security and Workers' Compensation.
  • The employee's benefits continue for as long as an employee remains disabled up to a certain age.
  • Rehabilitation services and Pre-disability intervention services are included in this benefit.
  • Work incentive benefit - 12 months
  • Survivor benefit - three times benefit payable
  • Disability escalator is included in this benefit
  • Retirement Annuity Protection plan benefit is included. 

Please visit the document to review the LTD plan provisions in more detail. 

Qualifications for Disability Benefits

  • You are disabled under the terms of the group policy.
  • Your disability begins while you are insured under the group policy.
  • Your disability is not subject to any limitations in the policy booklet (pg. 19). 
  • An elimination period of 90 working days is completed or until all accrued sick leave and vacation time expires.
  • A benefit payment period is established.
  • You are under the Regular and Appropriate Care of a Physician.
  • The claim requirements listed in the Claim Procedures section are satisfied.


You are considered Actively at Work if you are able and available for active performance of all a faculty or staff member's normal job duties at the University of Iowa.

For the purposes of insurance, faculty or staff members who are on an academic year appointment will be considered to be Actively at Work throughout the calendar year. 

The period during which benefits are payable.

You will be considered Disabled if, solely and directly, because of sickness, injury, or pregnancy:

During the Own Job Period, one of the following applies:

  1. You cannot perform the majority of the Substantial and Material Duties of your Own Job.
  2. You are performing the duties of your Own Job on a Modified Basis or any occupation and are unable to earn more than 80% of your Indexed Predisability Earnings.

After completing the Own Job Period, one of the following  applies:

  1. You cannot perform the majority of the Substantial and Material Duties of any occupation for which you are or may reasonably become qualified based on education, training, or experience.
  2. You are performing the Substantial and Material Duties of your Own Job or any occupation on a Modified Basis and are unable to earn more than 60% of your Indexed Predisability Earnings. 

The loss of a professional or occupational license or certification does not, in itself, constitute a Disability.

Your Income Loss percentage is equal to:

  • your Indexed Predisability Earnings less any Current Earnings from your Own Job or any occupation; divided by 
  • your Indexed Predisability Earnings

Your Predisability Earnings adjusted for increases in the Consumer Price Index. 

Any condition which is:

  • Manifested by a psychiatric disturbance including, but not limited to, a biologically or chemically based disorder, and
  • Characterized in the current edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or its successor.

Conditions not considered a Mental Health Condition include:

  • dementia that is the result of any of the following conditions:
    • Stroke;
    • head injury;
    • viral infection; or
    • Alzheimer's disease; and
  • organic brain syndrome; and 
  • delirium; and
  • organic amnesia syndromes; and
  • organic delusional or organic hallucinogenic syndroms.