Sers disability retirement

Sers disability retirement DEFAULT

What Is The Difference Between STRS/OPERS/SERS Disability?

Ohio public employees are eligible to participate in three types of pension programs: the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), the School Employees Retirement System (SERS), and the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS or OPERS). Although best known for their retirement benefits, these plans also offer survivor and disability benefits. If you become disabled while serving as a public employee, you may be eligible for benefits through your STRS, OPERS, or SERS pension program.

No matter what stage of your career you’re in, becoming disabled is a serious setback to your work and family life. Obtaining disability benefits requires meticulously documenting your claim and submitting forms to the appropriate agencies. Working with an experienced Ohio disability attorney helps to ensure that the process goes smoothly, and that you receive the benefits you need and deserve in a timely manner.

How to Qualify for SERS, STRS, or OPERS Disability Benefits

STRS is an educator-only pension fund for Ohio public school system teachers, while SERS provides pension benefits for non-teaching public school employees, such as administrative assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria works, custodians, librarians, maintenance workers, and teacher’s aides. OPERS is the retirement system for Ohio’s public employees, including anyone who is paid in whole or in part by the State of Ohio, including a municipality or other political subdivision of the state or local government in Ohio.

To qualify for disability benefits through STRS, SERS, or OPERS, you must typically meet the following requirements:

  • You have a disabling mental or physical medical condition that prevents you from performing your most recent job duties.
  • Your disability is expected to last at least 12 continuous months (i.e. long-term total disability). Short-term or partial disability does not qualify for benefits under Ohio state pension programs.
  • You have medical evidence that supports your disability claim.
  • Your disabling illness or injury occurred before you terminated your public employment.
  • You have five or more years of contributing service credits. If you have service credits with multiple state jobs, you apply for benefits with the retirement system where you have the most service credits.
  • You are not receiving a retirement benefit from SERS, STRS, or OPERS.
  • You file your application for benefits within two years of terminating your contributing service.
  • Note that if you worked in the public and private sectors, you may be eligible for both state disability benefits and Social Security Disability benefits.

Types of Ohio State Pension Disability Benefits

State pension members who qualify for disability benefits receive a monthly payment that is based on their annual salary and number of years of service credit. Benefits are direct deposited into a checking or savings account, usually on the first of each month. They terminate if the recipient returns to work—either voluntarily, or if medical reexamination shows the recipient is no longer disabled. Most members must stop receiving benefits when they reach age 65, at which point Social Security benefits may be available.

Health benefits are also offered under Ohio’s state pension programs, but the terms differ considerably.

  • Recipients who are covered by SERS’ health care must apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (early Medicare) due to disability.
  • STRS disability recipients may choose to pay a monthly premium to participate in the STRS Ohio Health Care Program.
  • OPERS provides access to medical/pharmacy coverage for disability benefit recipients and eligible family members. Those with a disability benefit, however, may only have access to the health care plan for a limited time. OPERS requires all recipients who are eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance to do so within 90 days of benefit approval.

Need help with a disability claim? Our lawyers can help.

How to Apply for SERS, STRS, or OPERS Benefits

You should apply for disability benefits as soon as possible, since the process can take three to six months or longer to complete. The application processes for the three Ohio state benefit programs vary somewhat but generally follow these steps:

  • Complete and submit a Disability Benefit Application Packet, which includes a report by your employer, a report from your physician, your most recent official job description, and other forms. Your doctor is responsible for submitting medical evidence that supports your disabling condition, including hospital records and test results from the last twelve months, as well as a medical opinion about how your disability impairs your ability to work.
  • You may have to undergo an independent medical/psychiatric evaluation from a physician chosen by the Retirement Board. The evaluation is performed free of charge.
  • A review board evaluates the results of your independent evaluation, along with all the records you submitted with your application, and makes a recommendation to the Retirement Board.
  • The Retirement Board makes a final determination to approve or deny your request for disability benefits.
  • If your application is approved, you and your employer may be asked to submit additional documentation to calculate the benefit payments. You may also be required to seek, obtain, or continue medical treatment and/or vocational rehabilitation. Failure to complete the required treatment could result in the termination of benefits.
  • If your application is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision.

Graham & Graham Helps Disabled Ohio Workers

The attorneys at Graham & Graham are committed to helping disabled workers and their families. We provide assistance with STRS, SERS, and OPERS, in addition to Social Security Disability (SSD) and Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI). We take care of the difficult work of compiling documents, communicating with state agencies, and filing appeals so you can focus on getting better.

Our initial consultations are free, and we charge no attorneys’ fees unless we recover money for you. To speak with a lawyer, call 1-800-621-8585 or contact us.

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Sours: https://grahamlpa.com/2019/07/06/difference-between-strs-opers-sers-disability/

Am I Eligible for SERS Disability Benefits?

To qualify for SERS disability benefits you must:

  • Have at least five (5) years of total service credit (60 months).
  • File an application for disability benefits no more than two (2) years from the date you stopped contributing.
  • You must be incapable of performing your current job duties or the job duties of your last SERS-covered position.
  • The disability must be expected to last at least 12 months from the time of filing.
  • You cannot already be receiving an age and service retirement benefit or have received a refund of your contributions.
  • For those who qualify under the old plan:
    • A member must file a disability application before the age of 60; under the new plan, he or she may apply at any age.

What If My SERS Disability Benefits Were Denied or Terminated?

You may be able to appeal the denial or termination of your SERS benefits. However, the time to appeal is limited and this process can be hard to navigate. Contacting one of our SERS disability attorneys can help you through the process.

Sours: https://www.ageeclymer.com/practice-areas/state-disability-retirement-services/sers/
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TITLE 80: PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES
SUBTITLE D: RETIREMENT SYSTEMS
CHAPTER I: STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF ILLINOIS
PART 1540THE ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF ILLINOIS
SECTION 1540.80 DISABILITY CLAIMS

 

Section 1540.80  Disability Claims

 

a)         Nonoccupational Disability and Temporary Disability

 

1)         Any member of the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) claiming benefits for nonoccupational disability or temporary disability shall file at the Springfield Office of SERS a written application on forms prescribed by the Board.

 

2)         If a member makes a payment of contributions to SERS in order to establish sufficient credit to qualify for a nonoccupational disability benefit, payment of the benefit shall accrue as of the latter of the 31st day of absence from work (including any periods of the absence for which sick pay was received), the day after the member is last entitled to receive compensation (including any sick pay), or the date of payment to SERS.  The date of payment of the required contributions shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 1540.220(a) (Period for Payment).  If a member is receiving a nonoccupational disability benefit, and incurs a concurrent sickness or condition that is severe enough to disable the member past the period in which the member is disabled from the original sickness or condition, the nonoccupational benefit would continue uninterrupted and the member would not be required to obtain a new leave of absence or incur a new 30 day waiting period.  A benefit will continue uninterrupted in the manner described only if the member is otherwise eligible for the benefit and a physician's report is provided and supports the disabling sickness or condition.

 

3)         If a member makes a payment of contributions to SERS in order to establish sufficient credit to qualify for a temporary disability benefit, payment of the benefit shall accrue as of the latter of the 31st day after the member is last entitled to receive compensation or the date of payment to SERS.  The date of payment of the required contributions shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 1540.220(a) (Period for Payment).

 

4)         If a member who is receiving a nonoccupational or temporary disability benefit wishes to make a payment of contributions to extend the period of eligibility for receipt of the benefit, the request to make the payment must be received at the Springfield Office of SERS before the period of eligibility terminates and the date of payment of the required contributions shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 1540.220(a) (Period for Payment).

 

5)         If a member requests to have service credits under the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) or the Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) considered for the purposes of determining nonoccupational or temporary disability benefit eligibility under Section 14-124 or 14-123.1 of the Illinois Pension Code, or for purposes of calculating the total period of time for which benefit will be paid, SERS shall not include in its calculations any credits accrued under Article 15 or 16 of the Code that have been forfeited by acceptance of a refund or applied toward a retirement annuity and that have not been restored or otherwise reestablished in accordance with the requirements of those Articles of the Code. Credits accrued under Article 15 or 16 of the Code that have been forfeited by acceptance of a refund or applied toward a retirement annuity, and that have not been restored or otherwise reestablished in accordance with the requirements of those Articles of the Code, shall not be considered for purposes of determining eligibility for a nonoccupational or temporary disability benefit under Section 14-124 or 14-123.1 of the Code or in determining the total period of time for which such a benefit is payable.

 

6)         The System may deem the requirement of Section 14-124(4) of the Code to be satisfied with respect to a member if the member who is applying for a nonoccupational disability benefit is eligible to be granted a leave of absence for disability but, before the leave could be granted, upon medical examination, the member is found to be permanently and totally incapacitated to perform the duties of the member's position.

 

b)         Occupational Disability

Any member of SERS claiming benefits for occupational disability shall file at the Springfield Office of SERS a written application on forms prescribed by the Board.

 

c)         Licensed Healthcare Professionals

Before an occupational, nonoccupational or temporary disability benefit can be approved, one statement must be received from a licensed healthcare professional attesting to the disability.  An additional statement from a second licensed healthcare professional may be required by the disability examiner assigned to the case, depending on the nature of the disabling condition.

d)         Report of Licensed Healthcare Professionals

 

1)         All reports provided to the System by a licensed healthcare professional shall contain, among other things, the date and place of the first examination by the licensed healthcare professional, the cause and nature of the member's disability, information regarding surgical work or laboratory tests performed for the member, the date of last examination by the licensed healthcare professional, prognosis regarding the member's disability, an estimate of the probable length of the member's disability, and the licensed healthcare professional's license number.

 

2)         All licensed healthcare professional's reports shall be signed by a licensed healthcare professional or by medical records personnel employed by or acting pursuant to the direction of the licensed healthcare professional.

 

e)         Suspension and Termination for Gainful Employment

The occupational, non-occupational, and temporary disability benefits that are payable to members under Article 14 of the Illinois Pension Code are subject to suspension and termination for gainful employment in accordance with Section 1540.85.

 

f)         Investigation of Claims

 

1)         The SERS Board of Trustees recognizes its obligation to provide a systematic program for the continued investigation, control and supervision of disability claims.

 

2)         Each disability benefit recipient is required to provide a current medical examination report each 6 months to substantiate continued disability.  In order to substantiate the member's continued eligibility for disability benefits, the Disability Claims Examiner may require that the member submit to independent medical examinations and may request additional medical statements; hospital records; activity inspection reports; Department of Employment Security Earning Statements; Social Security benefit payment information; income tax records; or other pertinent information, all as deemed reasonable and necessary by the Examiner.  SERS may waive the medical examination report requirement for cases in which the evidence supports that a member is permanently disabled and that the member will never be able to return to his or her former position.

 

3)         Failure of a disability benefit recipient to submit to an independent medical examination, to cooperate with an activity inspection, or to provide the information required shall result in suspension of benefit payments.

 

4)         Any benefit suspended as a result of a medical examination will be suspended on the last day of the month in which the claim is reviewed by the Executive Committee.

 

5)         Any person who applies for or who is receiving disability benefits and knowingly makes to SERS any false statement, falsifies or permits to be falsified any record submitted to SERS, or omits pertinent information in an attempt to defraud SERS, shall have the benefit suspended until the correct information has been provided to SERS.

 

A)        If the correct information that is provided does not substantiate eligibility for the disability benefit payments, then the benefit shall be terminated.

 

B)        If it is determined that the person omitted pertinent information and the correct information that is provided supports that the individual is gainfully employed, then the process prescribed in subsection (e) shall determine if the benefit payments shall resume.

 

C)        If it is determined that the person knowingly made to SERS a false statement, or falsified or permitted to be falsified any record submitted to SERS, in an attempt to defraud SERS and the correct information that is provided supports that the individual is gainfully employed, then the benefit shall be terminated.

 

g)         A disability benefit claim will be processed after the date that the final payroll payment received by the member has been posted to SERS' accounting database.

 

h)         When calculating the amount of a nonoccupational, occupational, or temporary disability benefit under Section 14-123, 14-123.1, or 14-125 of the Code, the "date of disability" or "time disability occurred" is the date the member is removed from payroll by virtue of being placed on disability leave.

 

i)          When calculating the final average compensation of a disability benefit claim, the calculation shall include the actual compensation received during the month in which the member left the regular payroll.

 

j)          Any individual receiving an occupational disability benefit under Section 14-123 of the Illinois Pension Code who remains disabled at the end of the month in which that benefit ceases under paragraph (3) or (4) of Section 14-123 shall become entitled to a retirement annuity and have the minimum period of service prescribed for the receipt of such annuity waived as described in that Section.  The disability benefit described in this subsection (j) applies regardless of whether the member first became a member on or after January 1, 2011.

 

k)         Definitions

 

As used in this Section:

 

"The duties of the member's position" means the duties of the member's position as of the date the member's name is removed from the payroll without regard to subsequent changes in the duties of the position, availability of the position, or the member's right to return to the position.

 

"Licensed healthcare professional" means any individual who is licensed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as a physician under the Medical Practice Act of 1987, as a physician assistant under the Physician Assistant Practice Act of 1987, as a psychologist under the Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act, or as an advanced practice registered nurse under the Nurse Practice Act or who is licensed or otherwise credentialed by the licensing body of another state as a physician, physician assistant, clinical psychologist, or advanced practice registered nurse under the laws of that state.

 

"Licensed healthcare professional's license number" means the unique license number, registration number, or other identifier issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, or the licensing body of another state to an individual who is licensed or otherwise credentialed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or the licensing body of another state, as a licensed healthcare professional.

 

"Member", for purposes of Sections 14‑123, 14‑123.1, and 14‑124 of the Illinois Pension Code [40 ILCS 5] (Code), means an employee in active service at the time of incurring a disabling condition.

 

(Source:  Amended at 45 Ill. Reg. 9547, effective July 19, 2021)

Sours: https://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/080/080015400000800R.html

Disability Protection

Check out the Employee Benefits Division for other benefit information; Voya Financial® for deferred compensation information; and the Webinars and Seminars page to learn about Preretirement Orientation seminars.

Be sure to ask your human resource office about other programs you may be eligible for such as social security disability benefits, workers' compensation, long-term disability insurance, and more.

Our online benefit estimator can help you estimate the monthly pension you might receive if your disability application is approved. 

If you become ill or injured while you are an active state of Michigan employee, and you can no longer work, your retirement plan provides protection for you and your dependents. Disability protection is provided under Public Act 240 of 1943, as amended. Benefits are administered by the Office of Retirement Services (ORS), a division of Michigan's Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a disability retirement, you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • You file an application with ORS within one year of the date of your termination from state employment. This filing deadline can be extended an additional 12 months if ORS determines that you have shown good cause for not filing within one year. If more than 12 but less than 24 months have passed since your termination and you believe you have good cause, substantiation for late filing must accompany your application.
  • An independent medical advisor certifies that you were totally and probably permanently disabled at the time you last worked for the State of Michigan. Totally disabled means you are unable to perform the duties of your current position. Permanently disabled means the disability is likely to last your lifetime.
  • You must be vested to be eligible for a  nonduty disability (an injury or illness incurred outside of work). In most cases, you are vested when you have the equivalent of 10 years of full-time state of Michigan service.

If you have a duty disability (an illness or injury incurred from duties at work), you do not have to be vested to be eligible. A benefit could be payable regardless of how long you have been employed by the state.

Are You Eligible?

If you answer "yes" to all of the requirements listed in the checklist below, you may be eligible for a disability retirement. You should read the entire contents of the Disability Protection section to fully understand your rights and options. If you answer "no" to any of the requirements, you are not eligible for a disability retirement.

Nonduty Disability
  • My disability is total and permanent.
  • It has been one year or less since I was terminated from state employment (unless extenuating circumstances exist).
  • I am vested with the equivalent of 10 years of service credit with the state of Michigan.
Duty Disability
  • My illness or injury was incurred from duties at work.
  • My disability is total and permanent.
  • It has been one year or less since I was terminated from state employment (unless extenuating circumstances exist).
  • My disability occurred before I terminated state employment.

How Pensions Are Calculated

Nonduty disability pension calculations.

A nonduty disability retirement benefit is calculated the same as a regular service retirement. The formula multiples your years of service times 1.5 percent times your final average compensation to figure your annual pension amount. 

When you apply, you can choose the straight life option, which pays you the most money but does not provide any ongoing benefits to a beneficiary when you die. Or you can elect a survivor option, which pays you less but continues pension and health insurance benefits to your beneficiary upon your death. For more information about your retirement options, see the Payment Options section.

Duty disability pension calculations.

A duty disability retirement is calculated by multiplying your credited years of service times 1.5 percent times your final average compensation, but not less than $6,000 per year ($500 monthly).

When you reach age 60, your duty disability pension is recalculated as a regular service retirement, adding the years you received a duty disability pension to your credited years of servicein the pension formula used earlier. If your new years of service total does not equal at least 10 years, we'll use 10 years of service to calculate your new pension amount. If the recalculated pension amount is less than $6,000 per year, your annual pension amount will default to $6,000 ($500 monthly). The new calculation cannot be more than the amount that, when added to your workers' compensation benefit, exceeded your final earnings with the state of Michigan.

The Application Process

File an application.

Your application for disability retirement must be received within one year from the date of your termination from state employment. (Again, you may get a 12-month extension if you are able to show good cause.) Any application for disability retirement, regardless of when it is filed, must be for a condition you incurred before your termination from state employment. 

Your first step to apply for a disability pension is to contact ORS and request a disability retirement packet. Along with an application form, the packet contains a medical questionnaire and detailed information about insurances and pension options. You must sign the medical release forms that allow an independent medical advisor to obtain and review the medical records pertaining to the injury or illness that you believe prevents you from working. Once completed, you must send the forms to Disability Determination Services (DDS). 

The disability determination.

DDS is part of Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services. DDS assists ORS in the disability application process by collecting and validating forms, obtaining and reviewing medical documentation, and providing expertise in determining medical eligibility.

DDS will ask the medical providers listed on your application to send your medical records directly to DDS for review. An independent medical advisor from DDS will review your medical records and, if necessary, schedule an exam for you with a medical professional. 

If your application is approved.

If DDS determines your medical condition meets the disability criteria, ORS will notify you of the approval. We will then process your application and insurance enrollments and you will receive your first pension payment four to six weeks after all required information is received. Your first check will include any past due benefits as well.

If your disability retirement is approved and you have not yet terminated your employment with the state, contact your human resource office immediately so your benefits are not delayed. If you do not terminate employment within 30 days of ORS' approval notification, you may have to reapply.

If your application is denied.

If DDS determines that your condition does not meet the medical requirements for a disability pension as defined in the retirement act, you will receive a denial letter. This letter will advise you of your appeal rights and the deadline for filing an appeal. 

What to Expect as a Disability Retiree

Your pension payments.

Before your payments begin, we'll send you an award letter that tells you the amount of your pension payment and when you can expect your first check. Pensions are paid on the 25th of each month.

The award letter will include a booklet that tells you more about things like benefit statements, postretirement increases, insurance enrollments, and taxes. It will also tell you when and how to get in touch with ORS after your pension payments begin. 

Annual certifications.

As a disability retiree, every year until age 59 you will receive an Annual Disability Certification (R0089CG) form that you must complete and return to ORS. This form verifies that you are still unable to work because of a disabling condition.

If you return to work.

Because of the nature of a disability pension, you must gain approval from ORS before you return to work for any employer. Write a letter to ORS before you resume working. The letter should include a job description and complete information regarding the type of work you'll be doing, the hours you're expected to work, and the name of your potential employer. Failure to gain advanced approval may result in suspension of your disability pension.

If you return to work for the state, either directly or indirectly, your pension will be suspended. You will remain eligible for the health, dental, and vision insurances with premium subsidies. Please notify ORS in writing if you return to work for the state; we will arrange for premium billings when you report your employment. Click here for more complete details on retirees returning to work for the state.

If you return to work outside of state employment, there is a limit on how much you can earn without affecting your pension. As a disability retiree you can earn up to the difference between your final compensation and your annual pension without your pension being reduced. If you earn more than the limit, you will have to repay the excess amount up to your full pension amount to the retirement system.

We're Here to Help

We hope that this information has helped you understand the disability application process. We realize you have a lot of important decisions to make regarding your future. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding disability or retirement benefits.

Sours: https://www.michigan.gov/orsstatedb/0,4654,7-208-30609---,00.html

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All About FERS Disability Retirement

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