PERAC Disability Unit - Disability Retirement Application Process
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Disability Unit



     When a member of a contributory retirement system applies for disability retirement benefits, he/she must file a Member’s Application for Disability Retirement with his/her retirement board. When the retirement board determines that the application is complete, the board (which meets at least once each month) will petition PERAC’s Disability Unit to appoint a three-member, independent regional medical panel to examine the applicant.

     To be considered disabled, a member’s retirement board must find that the member is totally and permanently unable to perform the essential duties of his/her position.

     If the member is applying for an accidental disability retirement, the retirement board must also find that the member’s incapacity is the natural and proximate result of sustaining an injury or undergoing a hazard while performing his/her duties at a definite time and place without willful and serious misconduct on his/her part.

     The following time frames govern the disability retirement application and determination process.

  • The regional medical panel should meet within 60 days of being appointed by PERAC to conduct its examination.
  • The member will be given 14 days notice of the scheduled examination.
  • The regional medical panel will report their findings and recommendations to PERAC within 60 days of completing their examination(s).
  • Within five days of receipt of a properly completed medical report, PERAC will forward the report to the member’s retirement board.
  • Within 30 days of receipt of the report, the member’s retirement board will notify the member of the panel’s findings and provide the member with a copy of all of the documents completed by the regional medical panel.
  • The member’s retirement board has the option at this point of requesting further information or a clarification from the regional medical panel if they determine that it would be helpful.
  • If the determination of the regional medical panel precludes retirement for the disability claimed the member’s retirement board could either deny the application or they could ask PERAC for a new regional medical panel if they believe that circumstances warrant it.
  • If PERAC declines to schedule a new examination, the member’s retirement board will deny the application.
  • If the determination of the regional medical panel permits retirement for the disability claimed, the member’s retirement board shall determine whether or not to approve the application. A hearing may be held on any disability retirement application and must be held upon the member’s request.
  • If a hearing is scheduled, the member’s retirement board must give the member at least 30 days notice of the time and place for the hearing and the issues involved.
  • The retirement board’s decision about a member’s eligibility for disability retirement must be made no later than 180 days after the completed application is filed, unless PERAC grants an extension.
  • If the retirement board approves a member’s application, the application will be transmitted to PERAC for final action. PERAC must act on a disability application within 30 days of its receipt.
  • If a retirement board denies a disability application, the retirement board will advise the member of his/her right to appeal the decision.
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