About the Disability Retirement Benefit
A disability retirement benefit is an actual retirement benefit. It is not an insurance policy that supplements your salary while you are unable to work.
If you are eligible and granted a disability retirement benefit, you will receive a monthly retirement benefit payment for as long as you are deemed disabled.
Disability retirement benefits may be granted on a short- or long-term basis and may be reviewed at any time. Benefits are subject to approval, denial, or renewal based on your medical information.
You may receive a disability retirement benefit from PSERS and receive a disability benefit from another plan such as Workers’ Compensation, Social Security, and/or an independent insurance company. Be sure to check with your insurance carrier for any restrictions. Your insurance provider or Workers’ Compensation may require you to reimburse them for any retroactive disability retirement benefits paid to you by PSERS. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance provider regarding PSERS payments.
To be eligible to apply for a PSERS disability retirement benefit, you must:
- Have at least five (5) years of credited service with PSERS, and...
- Be physically or mentally unable to perform the duties as indicated in your job description, and...
- Apply for disability retirement benefits within two school years of your last day of qualifying service or paid leave, whichever is later; and you must have been disabled at that time.
For example, if you leave service in March of the current school year, you have two school years (July 1 through June 30) from the close of the current school year to apply. If you do not apply within the two school years, you will forfeit all rights to apply for a disability retirement benefit.
PSERS does not require you to resign your position to be eligible to apply for a disability retirement benefit. If at a later date you are able to return to the job, there is no guarantee that your employer will keep the position open for you. You may want to discuss this with your employer.
Should you become disabled after you terminate service with your employer, you may not apply for a PSERS disability retirement benefit. You may not "switch" from a regular retirement benefit to a disability retirement benefit. A disability retirement benefit is not available for those who are already receiving a regular PSERS retirement benefit.
Applying for a Disability Benefit
To apply for a disability benefit, contact your PSERS Regional Office for retirement counseling. Your counselor will provide you with the PSERS Application for Disability Retirement packet, and provide you with any assistance you may need to complete the application. Some of the medical requirements may be found by clicking here: General Information Sheet for Disablity Retirement
If You are Denied a Disability Retirement Benefit
If you terminate your employment and then find out you do not qualify for a disability retirement benefit, you may be eligible to:
- Vest your account and receive a retirement benefit at a later date (no action required); or...
- Apply for a regular retirement benefit (application required); or...
- Apply for a refund of your contributions and interest (application required).
Before making the decision to retire, refund, or vest your account, contact your PSERS Regional Office for counseling.
If you are under normal retirement age, you may elect to vest your account. This means that you leave your money (accumulated contributions and interest) in PSERS, earn four percent (4%) interest compounded annually, and later apply to receive a monthly retirement benefit. If you choose to vest your account, a monthly benefit is not automatic. You must apply for a monthly benefit by submitting a completed Application for Retirement (PDF). Although you may apply at any time, you must apply for benefits within 90 days of your superannuation (normal retirement) date for the benefit to be effective on the date you reached normal retirement status.