Disability is something that most people don’t want to think about, but a considerable number of workers become disabled before reaching retirement age. Although the thought of becoming disabled is scary, it’s comforting to know that there are disability benefits available to you as a school employee in Ohio. The School Employees Retirement System (SERS) of Ohio is a statewide benefit plan that provides disability benefits to non-teaching employees at the following institutions:
If you become disabled while employed at one of the aforementioned institutions, you may be eligible for disability benefits under one of two disability plans: the old plan and the new plan. Members who joined SERS after July 29, 1992 are covered by the new plan, while members who joined SERS prior to this date are covered by the old plan.
Under both the old plan and the new plan, members must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Under the old plan, members are not able to apply for disability benefits once they reach 60 years of age. Under the new plan, members can apply for disability benefits at any age. The new plan terminates disability benefits after a certain number of months. Members are then entitled to retirement benefits.
You, your employer, or someone acting on your behalf may file a Disability Benefit Application to SERS. Along with your application, you must submit a report from your doctor that describes your disability, a Job Duty Form, and an Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information Form. Once SERS receives your application, they will contact your doctor for more information. SERS will also contact your school employer to obtain information about your job duties as well as payroll information.
A SERS-appointed physician will examine you to determine whether you are permanently disabled from working in your SERS-covered job. The medical advisory committee of the SERS Retirement Board will review the physician’s report and records submitted with your application in order to make a recommendation to the Board. Based on the medical advisory committee’s recommendations, the Board will either approve or deny disability benefits.
The complete application process takes between three and five months, but the actual time varies depending on the number of medical conditions you have, the medical review process, and the schedules of SERS’ medical examiners. If your application is denied, you will have the right to appeal.
Consult with an experienced attorney before applying for disability benefits through SERS. The Ohio disability attorneys at Jones Law Group in Columbus understand the complex SERS disability benefits application process and can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Call (614) 545-9998 or contact us online to get in touch.
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