Disability / Illness
If you are injured or become ill, whether on the job or otherwise, you may be eligible for Disability Retirement through SCERS if your condition prevents you from performing the duties of your position. To make a claim for this benefit, you must file a Disability Retirement Application with SCERS. You will need supporting documents from the physician(s) treating the condition(s) you claim are disabling.
SCERS disability retirement benefits are a valuable component of the range of benefits offered by Participating Employers to their employees. Generally, members applying for disability retirement must spend significant time and effort, and likely some expense, to complete the process and obtain a determination on their application. Members who are also eligible to retire for service at the time they consider applying for disability retirement are encouraged to compare and evaluate the economic result of each benefit alternative.
Types of Disability Retirement Benefits
There are two types of disability retirement benefits:
- Service-Connected Disability Retirement: permanent incapacitation from performing the duties of your position resulting from an injury or illness that arises out of and in the course of your employment and your employment substantially contributes to your incapacity. You do not have to be Vested to apply for a Service-Connected Disability Retirement.
- Nonservice-Connected Disability Retirement: permanent incapacitation from performing the duties of your position. You must be Vested (have five (5) or more years of full-time Service Credit with SCERS or in total when combined with your service under a Reciprocal System) to apply for a NonserviceConnected Disability Retirement.
To qualify for Disability Retirement, you must:
- Be a SCERS member;
- Have contributions on deposit with SCERS; and
- Prove based on medical evidence that you are permanently incapacitated from performing the duties of your position.
Applying for Disability Retirement
You should file your Disability Retirement Application as soon as you are reasonably certain that your medical condition permanently incapacitates you from performing the duties of your position and:
- You have supporting medical evidence of your disability, and
- You are still employed, or
- Within four months after you have discontinued service, or
- Any time after you have separated from employment if you have been continuously disabled since you discontinued service and SCERS’s ability to investigate your application has not been impaired because of an unreasonable delay in filing your application.
Please refer to the Member Handbook for other important information about your membership with SCERS.