PERS/TRS DCR Plan Disability Information

Your retirement plan will provide you with financial security if you become presumably permanently disabled because of a physical or mental condition caused by an injury or hazard undergone while you are performing your job. Occupational disability benefits provide a portion of your salary at the time you terminate employment because of the disability up to the date you become eligible for normal retirement benefits.

While you are receiving disability benefits, your employer will continue to contribute to your retirement account as though you were still working. Your employer will contribute both employee and employer contributions based on your gross monthly salary at the time you terminate employment because of the disability. You will continue to earn service credit while you receive disability benefits. When you reach normal retirement eligibility, your disability benefits stop and you will have access to your retirement account balance. You will also be eligible at that time to elect retiree medical benefits. If you are Medicare eligible at that time you will receive a premium subsidy based on your accrued years of service.

Normal retirement eligibility is reached:

  • at Medicare eligible age with at least 10 years of service credit, or
  • any age with 25 years of service for peace officers and firefighters, or
  • any age with 30 years of service for other public employees and teachers.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for an occupational disability benefit, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have a total and presumably permanent disability because of a physical or mental condition caused by a bodily injury sustained, or a hazard undergone, while in the performance and within the scope of your duties and not the result of your willful negligence;
  • You have a physical or mental condition that presumably permanently prevents you from satisfactorily performing your usual duties for an employer or the duties of another comparable position or job that an employer makes available for which you are qualified by training or education;
  • You terminated PERS/TRS employment because of the disability; and
  • You filed a timely application for the disability benefit with the plan administrator. The application is timely if it is filed within 90 days after the termination of your employment.

The plan administrator will review your medical reports and other evidence to determine if you qualify. If you are determined ineligible, you may appeal the denial to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

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Monthly Occupational Disability Benefit

Your monthly occupational disability benefit will be

  • 40% of your gross monthly compensation immediately before you terminated employment due to the disability. Participants who are receiving disability benefits are not eligible for medical benefits until the participant meets the eligibility requirements for normal retirement.

While You are Receiving Occupational Disability Benefits

  • You are 100% vested in the employer contributions upon appointment to disability, regardless of your actual service.
  • You continue to earn service credit toward medical eligibility and the HRA.
  • Your employer will continue to make the required employer contributions on your behalf, including HRA contributions and contributions to your retirement account and will also make the required employee contributions on your behalf. Contributions to your retirement account will be based on your gross monthly compensation at the time of termination of employment due to disability.
  • During these ongoing contributions, your employer does not deduct, or take out, money from your disability payment. Your disability payment is separate from these contributions.
  • You continue to direct the investment of contributions while you receive disability benefits; however, contributions cannot be removed from the account until you reach normal retirement eligibility. You may be required by the plan administrator to undergo a medical examination once a year to show proof of continuing eligibility for the disability benefit

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Vocational Rehabilitation Requirements

If you are appointed to an occupational disability benefit, you must

  • apply to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within 30 days of the date disability benefits begin; and
  • enroll in a rehabilitation program if you meet the eligibility requirements of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

When Occupational Disability Benefits Stop

Before Normal Retirement

You will become ineligible and disability benefits will stop at the end of the first month that you:

  • fail to meet requirements under vocational rehabilitation;
  • fail to report to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation;
  • are certified by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as failing to cooperate in a vocational rehabilitation program;
  • fail to interview for a job;
  • fail to accept a position offered;
  • recover or die from the disability.

At Normal Retirement

Occupational disability benefits cease according to your age and length of service. Your occupational disability benefits stop under these conditions: When a participant is eligible for normal retirement at Medicare-eligible age with at least 10 years of service; OR

At any age with 30 years of service, or
At any age if you are a peace officer or firefighter with 25 years of service.
At any age with 30 years of service.

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