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About the Disability Retirement Benefit  

Unlike an insurance policy, a disability retirement benefit is an actual retirement benefit.   You must file an Application for Disability Retirement (PSRS-49) to be considered for the benefit.  

Benefits are subject to approval, denial, or renewal based on your medical documentation and your job description.   PSERS reserves the right to review and/or revoke your disability benefit at any time.  

Generally, a disability retirement benefit is designed to provide at least one-third of your final average salary.   If granted disability benefits, you will receive a monthly retirement benefit payment for as long as you are deemed disabled and comply with the necessary requirements.   Your benefit is subject to an annual earnings limitation and ongoing submission of medical documentation. 

You may receive a disability retirement benefit from PSERS and receive a disability benefit from another plan such as workers’ compensation, social security, and/or an independent insurance company.   Receiving other disability benefits will not affect your PSERS disability retirement benefit; however, your PSERS disability retirement benefit may affect other disability benefits.   Your insurance provider or workers’ compensation carrier may require you to reimburse them for any retroactive disability retirement benefits paid to you by PSERS.   It is your responsibility to contact those insurance carriers regarding PSERS payments.



To qualify for a disability retirement benefit from your DB account, you must meet all of the following requirements:

    • Be a Class T-C, Class T-D, Class T-E, Class T-F, Class T-G, or Class T-H member with at least five years of credited service with PSERS.
    • Be physically or mentally unable to perform the duties stated in your job description.
    • Have become disabled while an active member of PSERS.  Should you become disabled after you terminate service with your employer or while you are on an unpaid leave of absence, you are not eligible for a PSERS disability retirement benefit.
    • Be disabled at the time you submit your application to PSERS.
    • Apply for disability retirement benefits within two school years of your last day of service or paid approved leave of absence, whichever is later.*

    *For example, if you leave service in March of the current school year, you have two full school years (July 1 through June 30) following the close of the current school year to apply.  If you do not apply within the two school years, you will not be eligible to apply for a disability retirement benefit.

PSERS does not require you to terminate your position to be eligible to apply for a disability retirement benefit.   If you apply while an active contributing member, you must go on unpaid leave or terminate employment within 30 days of submitting your application to PSERS.   If at a later date you are able to return to the job, there is no guarantee that your employer will keep the position open for you.   You may want to discuss this with your employer .  

If you are a Class T-G or Class T-H member, you only have a disability benefit through your DB account. The PSERS DC Plan does not offer a disability retirement benefit.

A PSERS disability retirement benefit is not available to members who are already receiving a regular PSERS retirement benefit.   You may not “switch” from a regular retirement benefit to a disability retirement benefit.  

Applying for a Disability Benefit  

To apply for a disability benefit, contact your PSERS Regional Office for retirement counseling.  At the counseling session, the Representative will review your retirement estimates, explain the application process, and assist you in completing the PSERS Application for Disability Retirement Packet which will be provided at that session .  Some of the medical requirements may be found by clicking here:  General Information Sheet for Disability Retirement

If You are Denied a Disability Retirement Benefit

If you terminate your employment and then find out you do not qualify for a disability retirement benefit, you may be eligible to:

  • Vest your account and receive a retirement benefit at a later date (no action required).

  • Apply for a regular retirement benefit (application required).

  • Apply for a refund of your contributions and interest (application required).

Before making the decision to retire, refund, or vest your account, contact your PSERS Regional Office for counseling.