Disability insurance. Think it doesn’t affect you? If you’re a California Intuit employee, it does—even if you’ve never had an accident. That’s because 1% of your earnings gets funneled toward the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. This is the money that pays your disability benefits if you can’t work due to an injury or illness (including pregnancy) or need to take time away from work to care for a family member or bond with a new child.
Lower your disability paycheck deductions—and take advantage of several other benefits—by voting October 15–26 to replace the SDI program with Intuit’s California Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) plan.
For more information, go to Insight.
We know it may be hard to believe, but:
- There’s no downside to switching to the VDI plan.
- VDI provides the same disability coverage as SDI if you ever need it.
VDI gives you added benefits:
- Lower paycheck deductions (0.8% instead of 1%)
- The chance to benefit from excess contributions (they’re returned to the Intuit VDI plan and will be used to enrich Intuit’s benefit programs, while the SDI program keeps all excess contributions)
If you ever file a disability claim, you’ll get:
- A larger tax-free disability benefit (a weekly max of $1,500 instead of $1,252)
- A quicker, easier, more streamlined filing process (only one contact instead of two or three)
The main reason: We want to offer benefits that are competitive with what other employers provide. And many top employers in California offer VDI. Because California allows employers to set up their own self-insured plan as an alternative to SDI, and because we’ve received feedback that employees haven’t been completely satisfied with their SDI experience, we want to give you the chance to switch to a plan that offers a better experience and a higher level of tax-free benefits.
So, what are the actions you need to take?
- Take just a few minutes to review the disability insurance plan comparison chart and the FAQ below, so you’ll fully understand what you’ll be voting on.
- Attend a Q&A session with Zurich. Representatives will be available to walk you through the details and answer any questions you might have. Watch for a meeting invite from the Benefits team and attend the session that works best for you.
- Vote October 15–26. You’ll receive an email from the Benefits team on October 15 containing all the information you’ll need to cast your vote.
- Wait for the results. You’ll receive an email by November 2, 2018, with an update on the voting results. If the majority of California Intuit employees (51%) vote “no,” all employees will continue to participate in the SDI program. If the majority vote “yes,” those who voted “yes” will be enrolled in VDI, effective January 1, 2019. If 85% or more of California employees vote “yes,” all California employees will be enrolled in VDI.
What is the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program?
The SDI program provides short-term disability insurance (DI) and paid family leave (PFL) wage replacement benefits to eligible workers who need time off from work. You may be eligible for DI if you’re unable to work due to non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy or childbirth. You may be eligible for PFL if you need to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child.
What is the California Voluntary Disability Insurance (VDI) plan?
The VDI plan is a legally permitted alternative to SDI. It will provide an enhanced tax-free disability benefit for all California employees and, if enacted, will replace the SDI program for employees who choose to participate.
Is the VDI plan being offered due to employee feedback?
While we’ve been working on the VDI offering over the past couple of years, this offering is in line with what other employers provide and what employees have told us they want. Many of you have expressed that you’d like an easier and more convenient process for accessing your disability benefits.
Why would I want to participate in the VDI plan?
VDI will provide the following benefits:
- Lower costs—In 2019, the SDI program is projecting a tax of 1% of the first $118,371 in earnings, up to a maximum cost of $1,183.71. VDI will charge only 0.80% of the first $118,371 in earnings, up to a maximum cost of $946.98.
- Larger tax-free payments—SDI pays 60%, up to a maximum of $1,252 weekly, while VDI pays 60%, up to a maximum of $1,500 weekly.
- No need to file forms with the state to receive disability benefits.
- Improved customer experience—Payments and processes are administered through Zurich, Intuit’s current leave-of-absence administrator. One phone call will trigger all your leave, disability or paid family-leave claims—VDI, short-term disability, long-term disability, leave of absence—and your claims will be handled by a designated team at Zurich. In contrast, with SDI claims, you may speak to a different person every time you call.
- Shorter waits for payments—You’ll no longer have to wait for the state to issue your payment once the seven-day elimination period has been met.
- Excess contributions returned to you through enhanced benefit programs—With the SDI program, the state retains excess contributions.
Can VDI ever cost me more than SDI?
No. You will not pay more for VDI than you would pay to participate in SDI. This is required by state law.
Can I ever receive less from VDI than I would from SDI?
No. You will receive at least as much as you would receive from SDI. This is required by state law.
Under the VDI plan, who will pay my claim if I become disabled?
Zurich, Intuit’s leave-of-absence administrator, will review all claims. Zurich will provide payment to you directly.
Under the VDI plan, how quickly will my disability benefits be paid?
Zurich is committed to reviewing and issuing benefit payment authorizations for all valid claims , based on Intuit’s payroll calendar, after receiving a properly completed claim form and doctor’s certificate. Zurich will contact your doctor to help expedite receipt of medical certification. Your VDI and regular STD benefits will be sent to you via mail during your regular pay cycle.
Do I have to enroll in VDI?
Yes, there is a one-time enrollment to begin your participation in VDI. If 51% of California employees vote “yes” during the October 15–26 enrollment window, your vote will count as your enrollment. If you don’t vote or if you vote “no,” then you will continue to be covered under the SDI program. If 85% or more of California employees vote “yes,” all employees will be enrolled in VDI. If Intuit moves forward with VDI, you’ll have the ability to opt in or opt out.
When is the one-time enrollment?
Our enrollment window is October 15–26, 2018.
What happens if I don’t vote during the one-time enrollment?
If you don’t vote or if you vote “no,” you will continue to be covered under the SDI program. This means you will pay more for fewer benefits.
When is VDI effective?
If 51% of California employees vote “yes,” VDI will be effective for those employees as of January 1, 2019. If 85% or more of California employees vote “yes,” VDI will be effective for all California employees as of January 1, 2019.
Are my disability or paid family leave benefits taxable?
VDI disability benefits will be tax-free.
The paid family leave (PFL) benefit is subject to federal income tax only. A Form 1099 will be generated at year end to reflect PFL benefits paid. State PFL benefits under SDI are also subject to federal income taxes.
Are VDI plan contributions deductible on my federal income taxes?
VDI plan contributions are not tax-deductible on your federal tax return but are likely to be offset by your standard deduction and have no impact on you. If that isn’t enough, here are additional reasons you should still consider joining the VDI plan:
- You pay less for the VDI plan than you would if you participated in the SDI program. This means that you’ll have more money in your wallet each pay period.
- You’ll receive more tax-free disability benefits under the VDI plan than under the SDI program. If you’re not a member of the VDI plan:
- You’ll receive benefits from SDI if you experience a disability.
- You’ll have to apply separately for SDI benefits and provide separate certification to Zurich for your leave of absence.
- SDI will use your base period earnings, which may be as old as 18 months, to calculate your benefit, resulting in the possibility of reduced benefits being paid (based on a smaller base salary).
- One call to Zurich will initiate your leave, VDI, short-term disability or paid family leave claims.