If you become permanently incapacitated (physically or mentally) and unable to perform your job as the natural and proximate result of an on-the-job accident not due to your own willful negligence, you may be eligible for this benefit regardless of the amount of service you have.
“Accident” has a specific meaning with NYSLRS disability benefits. We determine whether an incident is an “accident” on a case-by-case basis, using court decisions for guidance.
You may also be eligible if you are permanently disabled because you contracted HIV (where there may have been exposure to bodily fluids that may have involved the transmission of this disease), tuberculosis or hepatitis after contact with members of the public.
Notice of Accident
You must have filed a written notice of the accident with:
- NYSLRS, within 90 days of the accident; or
- Your employer, within 30 days of the accident.
This notice must include the time and place of the accident, the details of what happened, the nature and extent of your injuries and the alleged incapacity.
Even without such notice of accident, you may still be eligible for this benefit, if you file an application for an accidental disability retirement benefit within one year of the alleged accident.
If approved, the accidental disability retirement benefit is a lifetime pension. The benefit is equal to 75 percent of your FAE, plus an annuity based on any voluntary contributions you may have made and the interest they earned. Mandatory contributions made by Tier 5 and 6 members are not annuity savings contributions, and Tier 5 and 6 members do not receive annuities based on those contributions.
You must apply for workers’ compensation benefits if you are eligible. Regardless of tier, the accidental disability benefit will be reduced by the total workers’ compensation benefit that you receive or may be eligible to receive.
You can file an accidental disability retirement application yourself, or your employer may file, or someone may be authorized to file on your behalf. For example, your attorney, a power of attorney (POA), or a court-appointed guardian who has been granted authority by the court may file.
You must also select a pension payment option for the payment of your disability benefits. The pension payment option election form must be completed by you (the member who is filing), however your spouse may file this form if you are incompetent.
If you are eligible, applications for ordinary disability, performance of duty disability, accidental disability and regular service retirement benefits may be submitted simultaneously. However, your application for accidental disability retirement must be submitted while you are in service or within two years of your discontinuance from service. The law defines “in service” as:
- Being paid on the payroll; or
- On an authorized medical leave of absence for up to two years (which may be extended for an additional two years); or
- Receiving workers’ compensation or other similar employer-funded benefits for up to two years since last being paid on the payroll, as long as you have not resigned or been terminated from employment while receiving those benefits.