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Disability Retirements

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The Retirement System provides various types of disability retirement benefits for eligible members. For information on how to file for a disability retirement or the disability retirement process, you should read our publication, Applying for Disability Retirement (VO1802). If you have been approved for a disability retirement and have questions about what happens next, you should read our Disability Approval Frequently Asked Questions.

Your disability retirement benefit is determined by six important components:

You may find it useful to review the booklet for your retirement plan to see which benefits you may be eligible to apply for. (See the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Members section of our Publications page for a list of retirement plan booklets.)

Important facts you should know about disability retirement benefits:

  • If eligible, you may apply for service retirement and disability retirement benefits at the same time. If your disability application is approved, you will be given a choice of either the service retirement or the disability retirement benefit. However, if your disability retirement is not approved, and your service retirement date has past, you are retired. You may withdraw your service retirement application anytime up to and including the day before the effective date of service retirement.
  • If you think you may be eligible for a disability retirement, don’t delay filing your application. (See the Disability Retirement Benefits section of our Forms page for more information.)
  • There is no early age reduction for disability benefits. However, depending on your tier, plan and type of disability benefit, your benefit may be reduced by amounts received from Workers’ Compensation. If you are a Tier 3 member and apply for Article 14 ordinary disability or accidental disability, your benefit will be reduced by 50 percent of the Coordinared Escalator (CO/ESC) Social Security disability benefit in addition to the Workers’ Compensation reduction. CO/ESC is the portion of your disability benefit based on your public employment. (See our booklet Your Retirement Plan — Coordinated Plan For Tier 3 and Tier 4 Members (Articles 14 & 15) (VO1522) for more information.)
  • If you die during the disability retirement process and your disability retirement is later approved, and:
    • You have not retired under a service retirement, and
    • You have a completed option election form on file with the Retirement System before your death, and
    • It is established that the disability listed on your application is directly related to the cause of your death, and
    • The beneficiary you designated to receive your ordinary death benefit is the same beneficiary named on your option election form,

Your beneficiary is entitled to choose which benefit they wish to receive, the disability retirement or the ordinary death benefit.

If you participated in the World Trade Center Site rescue, recovery or clean up efforts, you should be aware of the benefits provided by the World Trade Center Presumption Law.