Applying for Disability

As a participant in the PSPRS, the benefits that are available to you vary depending on your Membership Tier and during the course of your career as a Tier 1, 2 or 3 DB/DC Member, there may come a time that due to injury or illness, you are unable to perform your duties as a Peace Officer or Firefighter.  Should that occur, PSPRS provides disability pension benefits that you may become eligible to receive, which may be payable for lifetime (excluding the temporary disability), as long as eligibility is maintained pursuant to statute.  As with all benefits, you may reference the PSPRS Member Handbook for additional information and/or you may contact your Local Board to initiate the disability determination process. 

If you are not certain who the Local Board contact person is, please Contact Us. 

The PSPRS provides the following disability pension types, each with different qualifications and requirements as outlined below:

Disability Type   

Service Related?

Qualifications     

Calculation

Taxability

Additional Requirements          

Ordinary

No

Physical condition which totally and permanently prevents you from performing a reasonable range of duties within your department.

Mental condition that totally and permanently prevents you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity.

Tier 1 Members
(average monthly benefit compensation x 50%) x (credited service/20) = monthly benefit.

Tier 2 Members
For members with > 25 years of credited service, the monthly benefit is calculated based on normal retirement and if < 25, a reduction factor applies; see Member Benefits.

Tier 3 DB Members
The System is pending actuarial calculation information for members participating in the Defined Benefit (DB) Plan, so as soon as this information becomes available, this section will be updated.  

Tier 3 DC Only Members are not eligible to apply for an Ordinary Disability. For members participating in the Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, visit Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

Fully taxable to the member.

Tier 3 DC Only Members are not eligible to apply for an Ordinary Disability.

Cannot be eligible for a normal retirement.

A member shall file an application for a disability pension after the disabling incident or within one year after the date the member ceases to be an employee and employment is terminated by reason of disability. 

The Local Board may require periodic medical re-evaluations and the ordinary disability may terminate if the Local Board finds that the member no longer meets the requirements for the disability benefit and refuses an offer of employment by an employer in the system.

Accidental

Yes

Physical or mental condition which totally and permanently prevents you from performing a reasonable range of duties within your position classification.

Tier 1 Members
For members with less than 20 years of credited service:  average monthly benefit compensation x 50% = monthly benefit.

For members with 20 or more years of credited service, the monthly benefit is calculated based on normal retirement; see Member Benefits.

Tier 2 Members
For members with less than 25 years of credited service:  average monthly benefit compensation x 62.5% = monthly benefit.

For members with 25 or more years of service, the monthly benefit is calculated based on normal retirement; see Member Benefits.

Tier 3 DB Members
The System is pending actuarial calculation information for members participating in the Defined Benefit (DB) Plan; this section will be updated as it becomes available.  

Tier 3 DC Only Members will contribute to a separate disability fund administered by the System where an actuarially determined equivalent amount will paid in conjunction with their Defined Contribution (DC) Plan administered by Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

If less than 20 years of service, benefit is fully non-taxable for lifetime.

If greater than 20 years of service, 50% of the average monthly benefit compensation is non-taxable for lifetime, plus any previously taxed monies, if applicable, based on the Exclusion Ratio Safe Harbor Method, are non-taxable income.

A member shall file an application for a disability pension after the disabling incident or within one year after the date the member ceases to be an employee and employment is terminated by reason of disability.

Temporary

Yes

Physical or mental condition that totally prevents you from performing a reasonable range of duties within your department, but is temporary in nature and has a foreseeable rehabilitation period that you may be able to return to full duty. 

Tier 1, 2 and 3 DB Members
The monthly benefit is one-twelfth of 50% of annual compensation at time of disability.  There is no credited service requirement.

Tier 3 DC Only Members will contribute to a separate disability fund administered by the System where an actuarially determined equivalent amount will paid in conjunction with their Defined Contribution (DC) Plan administered by Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

Fully non-taxable to the member.

Cannot be eligible for a normal retirement.

Limited to 12 monthly payments.

Catastrophic

Yes

Physical conditions that totally and permanently prevents you from engaging in any gainful employment.  Catastrophic disabilities are the most severe of physical conditions incurred while on duty and whose injuries far exceed injuries that would otherwise qualify for an accidental disability.

Tier 1, 2 and 3 DB Members
The monthly benefit is 90% of average monthly benefit compensation for first 60 months.  There is no credited service requirement.

At the members 61st month, the Local Board will determine one of the following:

1) If a Tier 1 or Tier 2 member continues to qualify for a catastrophic disability, the benefit will be adjusted to either 62.5% of the average monthly benefit compensation, or normal retirement, whichever is greater – then any amount above 62.5% becomes taxable to the member.

OR

2) If the member no longer qualifies for a catastrophic, but qualifies for an accidental disability, the monthly benefit is adjusted to 50% of the average monthly benefit compensation (Tier 1), or 62.5% of the average monthly benefit compensation (Tier 2) – or normal retirement, whichever is greater – then new taxability rules will be based on the members years of service; see the Accidental Disability > Taxability.

Tier 3 DC Only Members will contribute to a separate disability fund administered by the System where an actuarially determined equivalent amount will paid in conjunction with their Defined Contribution (DC) Plan administered by Nationwide Retirement Solutions.

Fully non-taxable to the member for the first 60 months, then new taxability rules may apply; see the Calculation section.

A member shall file an application for a disability pension after the disabling incident or within one year after the date the member ceases to be an employee and employment is terminated by reason of disability.        

 

Disability Determination Process

Determining your eligibility for a disability pension is a multistep process, which is handled by your Local Board. Below highlights that process.  However, your local board may have specific policies and procedures/rules in place when it comes to applying for a disability.  You will need to contact your Local Board to initiate the disability determination process.

Rehearing Rights

When your local board renders a decision on your application for disability and you disagree with the decision that was made, under statutes you do have the ability to request a rehearing on the matter.  In order to make a request for rehearing, the conditions must be met:

  • Your request must be in writing and sent directly to your local board, highlighting your reasoning for why your local board should reconsider their original decision.
  • The request must be made within 60-days of either being in attendance at the meeting where the decision was made, receiving notification of the board’s action via certified mail or by receiving benefits, whichever occurs first.

Disability Follow-Up

  • If you are granted a disability pension, you may be required by your Local Board to undergo follow-up medical evaluations periodically to continue receiving the disability pension until normal retirement criteria is met.

 

Step 1: File Application for Disability

Once you have determined which one of the 4 disability types you feel you may qualify for, your first step is to meet with your Local Board Secretary to make a formal application for disability.  As part of the application, you will need to identify your physicians who have treated you for your noted disabling condition.  Additionally, you will need to provide all the medical documentation associated with the disabling condition.

Step 2: Local Board Meets to Determine If Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) is Warranted

Once you have submitted your complete disability application, your local board will meet to review the application and medical documentation to determine if sufficient evidence exists to warrant continued consideration of disability pension.  If so, your local board will take official action to appoint a physician to conduct an IME. Dependent on the circumstances of your application, if sufficient evidence does not exist, your board may table your application pending additional documentation or, they may take action to deny the application in its entirety.   If denied, you have rehearing rights under PSPRS statutes.

Step 3: Meet with Local Board Appointed IME Doctor (If Local Board Approved the Action)

While each Local Board may have differing processes or procedures to handle the administration of IME(s) for their members, you will be required to meet with their appointed physician in order to have the evaluation conducted in accordance with statutes.  This Physician will be evaluating your condition/injury in relation to the duties and responsibilities of your position and/or department based on the type of disability benefit you are applying for.

Step 4: Local Board Reviews IME Report to Render a Decision

After receipt of the Medical Board’s medical evaluation, your Local Board will meet to further consider your application.  At this point, your board needs to determine whether your condition/injury, based on their IME doctor’s report, meets the statutory requirement for potential approval. If approved, you will work with your Local Board Secretary to finalize all remaining paperwork required to initiate any benefits.  If your application is denied at this point, you still have rehearing rights under PSPRS statutes.

Step 5: PSPRS Administrative Office Reviews Local Board Action and Initiates Disability Payments

Once your board has completed their disability determination process and your disability pension packet has been completed, your board will submit all documents to our office for review and processing. Your disability packet will be reviewed by our Member Services and Legal Department to ensure that all statutory requirements for disability have been met. Concerns that arise with your disability packet may result in delay in establishing benefits or may result in our office requesting a rehearing of the board’s decision.  If our office concurs with the decision made by the board and your disability pension packet is fully complete, your disability pension will be initiated for payment.  

Note: Benefits are always paid the last business day of the month.