- Active Health
- Retiree Health
- DB Pension
- DC Pension
- SUB Plan
A new optional benefit under the Life Insurance program insured by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company will allow early access to Life Insurance Funds. This new optional benefit, called the Accelerated Benefits Option (ABO), becomes effective October 1, 2009 and is available to terminally ill active and disabled active participants (active participants receiving Worker's Compensation or state disability benefits).
Active and disabled active participants who become terminally ill (which means they have a life expectancy of less than 12 months) may cash out up to 80% of the Basic Term Life Insurance benefit before death. The Basic Term Life Insurance benefit is $50,000. The ABO allows the member to access between 40% and 80% of the $50,000. This means the maximum payout is $40,000 and the minimum ABO payout is $20,000. The remaining life insurance benefit (which equals the difference between the ABO amount cashed out and the $50,000 maximum benefit) will be paid out at death to the participant's designated beneficiary. Proof of the illness will need to be submitted at the time the participant applies for the ABO payment.
ABO is applicable to the Basic Term Life Insurance coverage only. It does not apply to dependents Life Insurance or Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefits.
According to Metropolitan Life the ABO benefit is intended to qualify for favorable tax treatment under both the federal and California tax law. However these tax laws are complicated and change from time to time. Certain limitations may apply depending upon the active participant's situation. ABO proceeds may affect the participant's-and/or family eligibility for public assistance programs such as Medi-Cal, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) and drug assistance programs. You should consult with social service agencies and your tax advisor before accessing ABO.
Active employees covered by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's $50,000 Life Insurance benefit may be eligible to continue their Life Insurance coverage after losing Trust Fund eligibility due to a total disability. However, this Extended Life Insurance coverage does not include Dependents Life Insurance or Active Employees Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefits.
In order to be eligible to continue or "extend" the life insurance coverage, your disability must start before you have reached age 60, and must be classified as a total disability which means that you are expected never again to be able to do your job, and expected to never again be able to do any work for wage or profit. Your coverage for the Extended Life Insurance Benefit will begin only after your disability has been on-going for 9 consecutive months (the required waiting period). To establish eligibility for the extended coverage you will need to submit an application to Metropolitan Life. The application may be submitted within the 9 month disability waiting period, but no later than 12 months after the onset of the disability. You will also have to provide annual disability notices to Metropolitan Life as proof of your continued disability. Metropolitan Life may also request that you be examined by one of their doctors, but never more than once in a 12 month period.
Extended Life Insurance coverage will be provided to you at no cost while you are totally disabled, as long as you have applied for and been granted the disability extension described in this article. The extended coverage will continue for the rest of your life as long as you remain totally disabled, but will end if you recover from the disability.