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If a member with five or more years of service in a TRF-covered position becomes disabled while an active teacher, he or she may be eligible for a classroom or retirement disability benefit.
In order to qualify for a disability retirement benefit from TRF, the onset date of the Social Security disability must be effective back to the time the member was covered by an Indiana teaching contract.
Classroom disability refers to a medically confirmed inability to continue classroom teaching due to a mental or physical condition that is not necessarily of sufficient severity to meet Social Security disability guidelines. Benefits are $125 per month plus $5 for each additional year of TRF-covered service over five years. The member must be out of the classroom because of the disability for a continuous period of six months without pay before disability benefits may be paid. No teaching service may be earned while receiving the benefit.
A member must apply for classroom disability within one year of the disability’s diagnosis. A physician selected by the Fund will make the initial determination of eligibility and cases will be reviewed annually for a continued classroom disability benefit until age 65, at which time the member is eligible to apply for disability retirement.
If a member dies while receiving a classroom disability benefit or after returning to the classroom but prior to retirement, the member’s ASA balance is reduced by the amount of any classroom disability benefits paid to the member before death. For additional information, refer to the Death of a Member section of the handbook.
To become eligible for a disability retirement, a member must have at least five (5) years of creditable service in a position covered by TRF or the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF). The member's disability must occur while employed in a TRF- or PERF-covered position, while the member is on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, while receiving employer-sponsored disability insurance compensation, or while off on workers’ compensation. Additionally, the member must qualify for Social Security disability.
The member must provide proof of Social Security disability qualification to TRF. If the member has applied for but not received an award letter from Social Security, the member may still complete an Application for Retirement Benefits and attach a copy of the application sent to the Social Security Administration.
|Note: In order to qualify for a disability retirement benefit from TRF, the onset date of the Social Security disability must be effective back to the time the member was working in a TRF-covered position,* while the member was on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, while receiving employer-sponsored disability insurance compensation, or while off on workers’ compensation.|
At least once a year until the member reaches age 65, the Fund is required to confirm that the member continues to remain eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Disability Retirement benefit options and calculations for the monthly pension benefit plan, the ASA, and the RSA are the same as those for any other retiree except that 1) the Social Security Integration option is not available, 2) generally, only the creditable service worked up to the date of the disability applies, 3) there is no early retirement reduction, and 4) the monthly pension benefit payment may not be less than $180 per month.
Members receiving disability benefits who become age- and service-eligible will be switched to a regular retirement benefit. This will not adversely affect your benefit. Annual disability confirmation will no longer be required.
Generally, members may request a lump sum withdrawal of their ASA while they wait for a disability determination from the Social Security Administration without forfeiting their service credit so long as they have separated from service with their PERF or TRF covered employer. This will allow the member access to some money while he or she is unemployed and waiting for a determination.
This also allows a member to file for disability retirement when he or she is eligible, even if he or she did not have his or her disability determination request on file with INPRS when he or she withdrew his or her ASA. The amendment requires members to demonstrate that their determination request was in place when they withdrew their ASA, but it is no longer necessary for members to have it on file with INPRS when requesting a withdrawal of their ASA.
*Receiving a salary includes the last check date for a member. It does not include any checks received later than 30 days from the last day the member was paid. This includes being paid for physical work, sick time, used compensatory time, or while on other leave or vacation.