If you are a Tier 3 member, you may qualify for disability retirement benefits under either Article 14 or Article 15. The Article 15 benefit is usually greater than the disability retirement benefit you would receive under Article 14, as the Article 15 benefit is not offset by any Social Security disability or Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, to qualify for the Article 15 benefit, you must have at least ten years of service credit, unless you are found permanently disabled as a result of an on-the-job accident not caused by your own willful negligence.
You may be eligible for an Article 14 ordinary disability retirement benefit if you have accrued at least five years of service credit, and have been awarded primary Social Security disability benefits.
This is a pension equal to the greater of:
- One-third of your FAS; or
- Two percent of your FAS for each year of credited service, up to a maximum of 30 years.
This benefit is reduced by 50 percent of your CO-ESC Social Security disability benefit and by the amount of any Workers’ Compensation benefit that may be payable.
In addition, this benefit is subject to full escalation on the first day of the month following the date you become eligible for the disability benefit. “Full escalation” is the annual increase or decrease of your pension benefit based on the Consumer Price Index, or 3 percent, whichever is less. The percentage of escalation may rise or fall each April, and is calculated on the annual gross amount of the pension you received the previous fiscal year (April 1 — March 31).
The disability retirement benefit is payable for your lifetime. You must select an option for the payment of your disability benefit.
You, your employer or someone authorized with your power of attorney may file your Article 14 Disability Retirement Application (RS6411). The application for ordinary disability retirement must be filed while you are still in active service. If you are no longer in active service, you may be eligible if your Social Security disability benefit is awarded retroactively to a time when you were in active service. When filing for this benefit, “active service” is defined as while you are:
- Being paid on the payroll;
- 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.