Am I allowed to provide personal information to the MTRS related to a disability retirement application?

What is the criteria for eligibility when applying for an ordinary or accidental disability retirement benefit?

What is the length of time for a disability retirement application to be completed?

What is the difference between ordinary and accidental disability retirement?

As an employer, do I have any input into the disability process?

If a member incurs a work-related injury but does not lose any time from school, is it necessary to have him or her contact the MTRS?

Should I encourage the injured member to apply for Workers' Compensation with our local carrier?

When the MTRS requests a formal job description and none exists, what should the school send?

When does the member officially become retired on a disability?


Am I allowed to provide personal information to the MTRS related to a disability retirement application?

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 32, section 20(5)(b) states: “The head of any department upon request from the Board shall promptly furnish it with such information as shall be required to effectuate the provisions of sections one to twenty-eight inclusive.” This language allows the MTRS as part of the disability retirement application process to ask the employer to complete an extensive Employer’s Statement form.


What is the criteria for eligibility when applying for an ordinary or accidental disability retirement benefit?

To be eligible to apply for an ordinary disability benefit, a member must have a minimum of at least 10 years of creditable service; there is no age requirement. However, if the member is:

  • a nonveteran whose Membership Tier is:
    • Tier 1 (established membership BEFORE April 2, 2012) and who is:
      • under age 55, the benefit will be calculated as if he or she had retired at age 55 under the superannuation retirement formula (in other words, under the basic service retirement formula, but with the age factor increased to age 55);
      • age 55 or over, the benefit will be calculated under the superannuation retirement formula (the basic service retirement formula), with no adjustment to the age factor. In other words, if the member is already age 55 or over, the ordinary disability retirement benefit formula will not result in a higher benefit than what he or she would receive under the basic service retirement formula.
    • Tier 2 (established membership ON OR AFTER April 2, 2012) and who is:
      • under age 60, the benefit will be calculated as if he or she had retired at age 60 under the superannuation retirement formula (in other words, under the basic service retirement formula, but with the age factor increased to age 60);
      • age 60 or over, the benefit will be calculated under the superannuation retirement formula (the basic service retirement formula), with no adjustment to the age factor. In other words, if the member is already age 60 or over, the ordinary disability retirement benefit formula will not result in a higher benefit than what he or she would receive under the basic service retirement formula.
  • a veteran, the allowance is equal to a yearly annuity amount plus one-half of the member’s salary for the last twelve months during which he or she was actually employed OR the superannuation allowance to which he or she is entitled, whichever is greater.

There are no service or age requirements for applying for an accidental disability retirement benefit.


What is the length of time for a disability retirement application to be processed?

An ordinary disability retirement takes approximately six to nine months. An accidental disability retirement takes approximately 12 to 14 months.


What is the difference between ordinary and accidental disability retirement?

An ordinary disability retirement is a medical condition which is unrelated to the job. A medical panel of three physicians must determine (1) that the member is unable to perform the essential duties of the job, and (2) that the disability is permanent.

An accidental disability retirement is a medical condition which is caused by the job. A medical panel of three physicians must determine (1) that the member is unable to perform the essential duties of the job, (2) that the disability is permanent, and (3) that the medical condition is a result of an incident, a series of incidents or a hazard undergone on the job.


As an employer, do I have any input into the disability process?

Yes. As the employer, you will be required to complete the Disability Applicant's Employer Statement pdf format of Disability Applicant's Employer's Statement
. Along with that statement, you will be required to submit attendance records and teacher evaluations from the past five years. Also, you or someone on your staff familiar with the circumstances surrounding the incident will, in all likelihood, be called before the Board to testify.


If a member incurs a work-related injury but does not lose any time from school, is it necessary to have him or her contact the MTRS?

Yes. The member should submit any and all information regarding the injury within 90 days of that injury. This will provide protection for the member if that injury were to develop into something more serious some years later.


Should I encourage the injured member to apply for Workers’ Compensation with our local carrier?

Yes. If the member incurs a work-related injury and is expected to be out of work for a period of time, he or she should be encouraged to apply for Workers’ Compensation. Again, this will protect the teacher if he or she applies for an accidental disability retirement some years later related to that particular injury.


When the MTRS requests a formal job description and none exists, what should the school send?

The medical panel must review an official school document which describes the requirements of the particular job. Therefore, the administration should report in writing exactly what those requirements are.


When does the member officially become retired on a disability?

The member is officially retired on the day that the Board votes to approve the disability. If the member is receiving paid sick leave, it should be stopped on that day. The Board vote, along with supporting documents, will be reviewed by the Public Administration Retirement Commission, which is a regulatory agency for all Massachusetts retirement systems. Once that process is completed, the member will receive an estimated check; within 60 days of receiving the first check, the member will receive a finalized check.