Academic Specialist Manual

8.1 Automatic Benefits

8.1.1 Basic Employer Life (Death Benefit)

The University provides a life benefit payable to beneficiaries of academic specialists appointed 50 percent time or more for nine months or more. This benefit is effective immediately upon appointment.


Eligible academic specialists are provided coverage equal to one year's base salary up to a maximum of $50,000. Beneficiaries are those designated by the academic specialist or the same as designated in the Employee-Paid Life program. If no beneficiary has been designated, payment will be made to the survivor(s) in the first surviving class of those that follow: a) spouse; b) children; c) parents; or d) brothers and sisters. If none survives, payment would be made to the estate.


No enrollment application is necessary and the entire cost of this benefit is paid by the University.

8.1.2 Long-Term Disability


Coverage under the Long-Term Disability Plan is available for academic specialists appointed full-time for nine months or more who have been employed for 12 FTE service months. Eligible academic specialists may receive benefits provided by the Long-Term Disability Plan after six months of continuous disability.


The benefits provide a disabled academic specialist with a monthly income equal to 60% of the basic monthly salary (minus any workers' compensation, social security or auto wage loss benefits, if applicable). In addition, the program assumes both the academic specialist's contribution and the University's contribution to the base retirement program for as long as the individual remains entitled to Long-Term Disability benefits. The plan provides an annual cost-of-living increment of 3%.

Cost:  The cost of this benefit is totally paid by the University.

Other Benefit Information

If the academic specialist is unable to work due to total disability and is eligible for benefits under the Long-Term Disability Plan, a premium contribution will be continued in the health, dental and employee-paid life programs for the academic specialist during the period of disability benefit payments.

An academic specialist appointed in the continuing appointment system will continue to accrue service towards retirement eligibility only through the first two years of long-term disability status. Assuming appropriate medical authorization, return rights to the current or equivalent position are retained during the first two years of long-term disability status.

A fixed term academic specialist (appointment with an end date), who is eligible for long-term disability, retains return rights to the current position only through the end date of the fixed term appointment.

8.1.3 Social Security

Most academic specialists who perform services for Michigan State University are covered by Social Security (FICA). Social Security currently provides retirement benefits subject to age rules and participation; a lifetime income in the event of total permanent disability for the academic specialist, and benefits for dependents subject to certain age rules, and a lump sum payment at death and monthly income for qualified survivors. (Foreign Nationals presenting F or J visas may be exempt from provisions of the Social Security Act--see Payroll Procedures.) Full information is available from the local Social Security Office.

8.1.4 Travel Accident

The University provides immediate Travel Accident coverage while traveling on approved University business or activity. This plan provides accidental death and dismemberment coverage up to $50,000 and is automatic for all academic specialists. No enrollment application is necessary, and the cost is paid by the University.

8.1.5 Workers' Compensation

The University, in accordance with the State of Michigan Disability Compensation Act, provides "Workers' Compensation benefits" if an academic specialist is injured in the course of employment. These benefits are payable at a rate of approximately 80% of the after-tax value of the academic specialist's average weekly wage, subject to a state-determined maximum rate.

Any injury arising out of and in the course of employment must be reported to the administrative head and Workers' Compensation. All necessary medical services for a compensable injury will be delivered by a medical provider designated by the University. Full information is available from the Human Resources Office (353-4434).

8.1.6 Unemployment Compensation

Most academic specialists at Michigan State University will be in covered employment and therefore subject to the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Act. Full information is available from the Human Resources Office (353-4434).

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