You would be entitled to this disability benefit if, at the time of filing, you are:
- Under age 60.
- Physically or mentally unable to perform your duties as the natural and proximate result of a disability sustained in service, not caused by your own willful negligence, regardless of your years of service. (For a disability not sustained in service, you must have at least five years of total service credit with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.)
- In service upon which your membership is based. If you are discontinued from this service, voluntarily or involuntarily, you may apply within two years of the discontinuance if the disability is work-related. If the disability is not work-related, you must apply within 90 days of the discontinuance.
For this benefit, “service” is when you are:
- On the payroll;
- On authorized medical leave of absence (with or without pay); or
- Receiving Workers’ Compensation or similar employer-funded benefits.
The benefit would be equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS, plus an annuity based on any annuity savings contributions you have made. The mandatory contributions made by Tier 5 and 6 members are not annuity savings contributions, and these members would not receive an annuity based on those contributions.
Your Retirement System benefits are paid in addition to any Workers’ Compensation payments or Social Security disability benefits which might be payable. The sum of these benefits cannot exceed your final salary. The portion of your pension which exceeds your final salary will be suspended until the combined benefits are less than or equal to your final salary. “Final salary” is the maximum salary or compensation that you would have been receiving in the position from which you last retired for disability.
If you have 25 or more years of Forest Ranger service and are eligible for service retirement, your disability benefit will be calculated in the same manner as your service retirement benefit.
If the application is approved, you will receive benefits from the date of application for the benefit or from the day after the date you were last paid, whichever is later.
You must also select an option for the payment of your disability benefits.
You, your employer, or someone authorized with your power of attorney may file your application for disability retirement benefits. If you are eligible, applications for ordinary disability, accidental disability, performance of duty disability, forest ranger disability and regular service retirement benefits may be submitted simultaneously.