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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Unable to Work

If you experience an injury or illness that prevents you from working, you may need to apply for a disability retirement pension. Disability, whether duty or non-duty related, is defined as a physical or mental impairment that leaves you permanently incapable of performing your job.

The rules and requirements vary depending on what MERS plan you have. Not sure what MERS plan you have? Click here for help answering that question.

I'd like disability information about:
Defined Benefit Plan  •  Defined Contribution Plan  •  Hybrid Plan  •  Health Care Savings Program  •  457 Program

 

Defined Benefit Plan

There are two types of MERS Defined Benefit Plan disability retirement: Non-duty disability and duty disability. Either you or your employer may apply for disability retirement benefits, which are subject to approval by MERS. Applications must be filed within one year of your "termination" date — the last official day of work at your employer.

To apply for disability benefits:

  1. Download the Application for Disability Retirement (Form 51). Please review the form instructions for details, and complete the form. Make sure you submit all current medical records with your application.
  2. When we receive all the required documentation, we'll schedule an Independent Medical Examination (IME).
  3. After MERS receives the physician's report, we'll approve or deny the disability application, and notify you by letter of our determination.

Read more about Disability Retirement in your Defined Benefit Plan Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Defined Contribution Plan

If you suffer an injury or illness that keeps you from working permanently, as a member of the Defined Contribution Plan, you may be eligible to receive your retirement benefits early with no early withdrawal penalties.

To apply for disability benefits:

  • Contact your employer
  • Provide your employer medical documentation or a certification of disability from the Social Security Administration
  • When your employer approves your claim, you will become immediately vested and eligible for benefits.

To receive your distribution, you will need to complete the Defined Contribution Distribution Form (MD-005) found on our website. For more information on disability retirement, please consult your Defined Contribution Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Hybrid Plan

There are two distinct parts to the MERS Hybrid Plan, with two sets of rules regarding disability:

Hybrid Part I – Your Defined Benefit Portion

There are two types of disability retirement for your defined benefit portion of your Hybrid Plan: Non-duty disability and duty disability.

Either you or your employer may apply for disability retirement benefits, which are subject to approval by MERS. Applications must be filed within one year of your "termination" date — the last official day of work at your employer.

To apply for disability benefits:

  1. Download the Application for Disability Retirement (Form 51). Please review the form instructions for details, and complete the form. Make sure you submit all current medical records with your application.
  2. When we receive all the required documentation, we'll schedule an Independent Medical Examination (IME).
  3. After MERS receives the physician's report, we'll approve or deny the disability application, and notify you by letter of our determination.

 

Hybrid Part II – Your Defined Contribution Plan

If you suffer an injury or illness that keeps you from working permanently, you may be eligible to receive your Hybrid Part II retirement benefits early with no early withdrawal penalties.

To apply for disability benefits:

  • Contact your employer
  • Provide your employer medical documentation or a certification of disability from the Social Security Administration
  • When your employer approves your claim, you will become immediately vested and eligible for benefits.

To receive your distribution, you will need to complete the Defined Contribution Distribution Form (MD-005) found on our website. For more information on disability retirement, please consult your Defined Contribution Member Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Health Care Savings Program

If you're injured or develop an illness that makes you unable to work, and are collecting a disability benefit from a public pension plan, you may be eligible to use your account early. Once your employer notifies us of your disabled status, you'll receive information on how to begin receiving reimbursements from your account.

If you take an extended medical leave from your employer, you will be eligible to use your account after six months. If you return from extended medical leave, you must stop using your account, although any eligible medical expenses from your leave period will still qualify for reimbursement.

For more information, consult the MERS Health Care Savings Program Participant Handbook or call our Service Center.

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457 Program

If you have to quit working because of a permanent disability, you will have access to your pre-tax, employer and Roth contributions in your 457 account. Disability, whether duty or non-duty related, is defined as a physical or mental impairment that leaves you permanently incapable of performing your job.

To request a distribution from your account, you must complete and submit the 457 Distribution/Direct Rollover Form (MD-405), along with evidence of the disability, for review and approval.

The same procedure is required for distributions of any Roth contributions you may have.

For more information, consult your MERS 457 Supplemental Retirement Program Participant Handbook or contact our Service Center.

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Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).