What are the requirements for retirement under disability?
Any APERS member can retire with a disability if they:
- Have at least five (5) years credited service;
- Have credited service for 18 of the 24 months immediately preceding the disability occurrence; and
- Are ruled eligible for Federal Social Security Disability Benefits due to a total and permanent disability.
Should I wait for Social Security to rule me disabled before applying with APERS?
While the Social Security Administration (SSA) often has at least a five-month waiting period, you should file immediately for disability with APERS. If you are approved for disability benefits by SSA, you will receive an annuity (a series of regular payments) which is paid to you each month for as long as you are disabled.
What if Social Security denies my claim?
If your disability claim is initially denied by Social Security, you must appeal the ruling through the Administrative Law Judge of the Social Security Administration before a separate appeal to the Board of Trustees of the Retirement System will be accepted. You should contact APERS for specific instructions after appealing through the Administrative Law Judge of the Social Security Administration.
What if I didn't work 18 of the 24 months immediately before the disabillity? Can I still apply?
Any former member who was or is approved for disability by the Social Security Administration but whose onset date does not meet the provision that requires credited service for 18 of the 24 months immediately before the disability, may be retired by the APERS Board of Trustees upon written application to the Board, if the onset date determined by the SSA is within 24 months of the date the member terminated from covered employment.
Am I eligible for any benefits while my claim is being decided?
If you are within 10 years of your normal retirement age (for most that is at least 55 years of age) you may receive reduced benefits pending approval of your disability.
I feel better. Can I go back to work?
If you return to work, you do run the risk of jeopardizing your disability benefit. Much like Social Security, APERS has monthly limitations on earnings by retirees. If you are considering returning to work, please contact the Benefits Unit for more information before you make your decision.
NOTE: If you are applying for a disability retirement benefit, please request the "Applying for Disability Retirement Benefits" publication which contains additional information and forms pertaining to disability benefits. It is available on the Member Portal or by contacting APERS.