If your LODI request for 20 or more consecutive school days was denied medically (as opposed to administratively) by the doctors at the DOE, you have the option to apply for medical arbitration. You should probably apply for medical arbitration even if you later choose not to pursue it. Members who have a pending medical arbitration request will automatically be granted a leave of absence for the denied period which will provide them with medical benefits and the ability to apply to the UFT Welfare Fund for disability payments.
Please do the following if your LODI was denied medically:
- Apply through your local borough office for medical arbitration. You only have 10 school days to apply, so don’t delay. If you cannot get to the borough office, or time is almost expired, contact Thomas Bennett, (contact info below). But we prefer to go through the borough office so no mistakes are made. If you have not gone back to work, the end date of your disputed LODI may actually be sometime in the future, so place the word “to present” on the line that asks for the end date of your disputed LODI. That lets DoE know that your request is ongoing, and you have not gone back to work. Save your copy of the application (two pages) because you will need to upload it into SOLAS.
- Since the period of denied LODI is now “undefined” in your record, you need to go onto SOLAS and apply for a leave of absence for restoration of health pending medical arbitration for that period from the date your LODI was first denied up until (a) the time you went back to work, (b) sometime in the future when your doctor predicts you will go back to work, or, (c) June 30 of the current school year, whichever makes the most sense. (If you later win your arbitration, this leave will be changed back to “approved LODI.”)
- SOLAS will ask you if you want to borrow CAR days. You should say YES, maximum. This keeps you on payroll for as long as possible, which has three benefits — first, to keep money coming in; second, to increase your pension credit time; and third, to delay the start of the one-year period you will be able to keep medical benefits.
- During this process of applying for the leave, SOLAS will ask you to upload the acceptance letter from the DOE from when you applied for the medical arbitration. If you have that letter, upload it. If you don't, upload the two pages of your arbitration application.
- Once the leave of absence is approved, you should call the UFT Welfare fund at (212) 539-0500 to inquire about temporary disability payments of $475/week for pedagogues and $375/week for paras. You may be eligible for such payments up to 52 weeks.
- Before you ever get to medical arbitration, HR will review your case and they may try to settle your arbitration case by offering you a “stipulation of settlement.” Such an offer is usually more LODI than originally approved, but less than you asked for. If you get such an offer, call Thomas Bennett to discuss the terms.
- If you can’t return to work, you should explore your options for a TRS disability retirement. Please call the UFT Pension Department at (212) 598-6866 to discuss with a pension consultant.
- Receive denial of LODI of 20 days or more.
- Apply for medical arbitration, putting “to present” for end date.
- Apply for leave of absence for restoration of health pending medical arbitration for dates of the denied LODI.
- Upload arbitration acceptance letter or application into SOLAS.
- Once leave is approved, call Welfare Fund to apply for disability payments.
- Wait for arbitration date or stipulation offer.
- Call a UFT pension rep to discuss options for a disability retirement.
If you have further questions or concerns, please call UFT Medical Representative Thomas Bennett at (212) 598-7711 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.