As a member of the General Plan, you have total and permanent disability protection. This is an important benefit since it will pay you disability benefits for your lifetime, or until you are no longer disabled. Your age at the time of your disability is not a factor.
To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the definition of disability and have three years of service; five years if hired after June 30, 2010.
Definition of disability: Law defines a total and permanent disability as the inability to do any substantial activity because of a physical or mental impairment. Two medical professionals must be able to diagnose the disability and it must be expected to last at least one year.
How we calculate the disability benefit
We calculate your disability benefit the same way we calculate your retirement benefit, with one exception: there is no reduction in benefit if you are under normal retirement age. We use the Level formula and apply this formula's 1.7% for all your service credit to calculate your benefit.
You are eligible for a disability benefit if you are on a leave of absence either with or without pay. If you have ended your employment, the disability must have occurred while employed in a MSRS covered position.
How to apply for a disability benefit
The following forms must be completed to apply for a disability benefit:
Physician's Statements: Two doctors must attest to the extent of your disability.
There are important timelines you need to consider when applying for a disability.
You must apply for a disability benefit within 18 months of ending employment. The benefit may be payable up to 180 days retroactive prior to the day our office receives the completed application.
You cannot apply for a disability benefit until the day after your last work day. After that time, apply for a benefit immediately. We recommend that you not wait for your sick leave or vacation to run out.
Review of your disability request
The forms you submit are reviewed by MSRS' medical consultant who makes recommendations to the MSRS Executive Director about the extent of your disability.
If your disability application is approved, your benefit will begin after you receive payment for all your accumulated overtime, vacation and sick leave hours. Your disability benefit will end in the month that you die unless you selected survivor coverage.
If your disability application is denied, you can appeal the decision to the MSRS Board of Directors.
Ongoing disability reviews
To continue disability benefits, ongoing reviews are required by Minnesota State law. MSRS will notify you when a review is required.
Review of medical condition: once a year for the first five years; after that, once every three years until you reach normal retirement age.
Earnings review: Annually for length of coverage under disability benefit.
For more information about disability benefits
See the General Employees Retirement Plan Handbook.