July/August 2013 Issue
June 20, 2013

YOUR ERS PENSION: When disability shortens a career

Source: NYSUT United

If you can no longer work because of a permanent disability, you may be eligible to receive a retirement benefit as a member of the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System (ERS).

To be eligible, you must have at least 10 years of credited service (Tier 3 members may be eligible with five years of credit). If your disability results from an accident you sustained on the job, and is not due to your own negligence, there is no minimum service requirement.

There are filing requirements for the disability benefit. For instance, the Article 15 Disability Retirement Application for Tier 3, 4, 5 and 6 members (available on our website at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/forms/rs6340.pdf) must be filed while you are still on payroll or within:

  • Three months of the last date you were paid on the payroll; or
  • Twelve months after you receive notification of the termination of your employment, provided you were on an authorized medical leave of absence or receiving Workers' Compensation benefits when you ceased being paid.

Q: What happens after I file my disability retirement application?

A: We request information from your employer, such as payroll status and job description, then review your application to make sure it meets the filing and eligibility requirements. If it does, we request medical records from the doctors, hospitals and treatment facilities you listed. We may ask you to make an appointment with a physician provided by the retirement system. After this information has been compiled, a board reviews it and makes a determination.

Q: Is it possible to be eligible for both service and disability retirements?

A: Yes. You may file for service and disability retirement at the same time under a procedure known as filing without prejudice. In most cases, it means we process your applications simultaneously. If more than one benefit is approved, you may choose which benefit you want to receive. However, you cannot withdraw your service retirement application after the retirement date has passed — even if your application for retirement disability is later denied.

Q: How can I get more information?

A: Our booklet, Applying for Disability Retirement (VO1802), is available on our website, at www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1802.htm or by calling 866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany area.

Every month state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System, provides information on the system, which delivers
retirement benefits to many NYSUT School-Related Professionals and other support staff. If you are an ERS member with a question of general interest, email united@nysutmail.org.

For immediate assistance, contact the ERS Call Center toll-free at 866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 in the Capital District area.