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Maine Public Employees Retirement System
46 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
toll free: (800) 451-9800 ● local: (207) 512-3100

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Disability FAQs
 

Does the MainePERS offer a disability benefit program?

What makes me eligible to receive a disability benefit?

Does MainePERS offer a short-term disability benefit?

Will someone from MainePERS help me complete the disability application form?

If I am eligible for disability benefits, how much will I receive?

How will benefits be paid to me?

If I am eligible for disability benefits, when can I expect my first payment?

How long does it take to process a disability application?

Am I required to send my medical records to MainePERS when I apply for disability?

Can I work while receiving disability benefits?

How long will I receive disability benefits?

Am I allowed to receive both Workers' Compensation benefits and/or Social Security Disability Insurance and MainePERS disability benefits?

Will my case be reviewed for continued disability benefits?

How will the review process affect my disability benefits?

How will I be notified that my case is being reviewed?

Does MainePERS provide vocational rehabilitation services?

Can I refuse to participate in the rehabilitation program?

I have terminated my position. Can I still apply for disability benefits?

My employer terminated my employment. Can I still apply for disability benefits?

Is there a time limit for applying for disability benefits?

 

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Q: Does the MainePERS offer a disability benefit program?

 

A: Yes. The majority of members of MainePERS are covered under the "Article 3A" disability statute and the following questions and answers concerning the disability program relate to Article 3A eligibility. You should contact MainePERS Disability Unit to determine if this statute applies to you. Additional information on the Disability program can be found in the publication Overview of Disability Benefits.

 

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Q: What makes me eligible to receive a disability benefit? (Article 3A; see above)

 

A: You must meet certain statutory requirements to be eligible for disability benefits:

 

You must have a permanent mental or physical incapacity that makes it impossible for you to perform the duties of your job or of another job, of comparable stature and compensation, that your employer has offered you.

 

You must have become incapacitated before reaching your normal retirement age unless you have elected the No-Age Disability Plan or were hired on or after October 16, 1992.

 

At the time you became incapacitated, you must have been receiving compensation from your employer and paid contributions to MainePERS for the compensation. In addition, there must be no other job of equal pay and comparable stature that you are able to do that your employer will make available to you.

 

There must be no job modifications that your employer will make that will allow you to do your job, such as changing your job duties or the way you perform a certain task, or providing special equipment for your use.

 

If you have fewer than 5 years of creditable service preceding your last date in service, you may not eligible for benefits if the disability is a result of a physical or mental condition which existed before your membership in MainePERS.  The exception is if the disability is a result of, or has been substantially aggravated by, an injury or accident received in the line of duty but from events or circumstances not usually encountered within the scope of your employment.

 

If you have been incapacitated for more than two years, you must show that you are unable to engage in any substantially gainful activity.

 

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Q: Does MainePERS offer a short-term disability benefit?

 

A: No. To qualify for an MainePERS disability retirement benefit, your incapacity must be determined to be permanent.

 

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Q: Will someone from the MainePERS help me fill out the disability benefit application form?

 

A: Yes. A MainePERS representative would be happy to answer any questions over the telephone or to assist you in person with completion of the application. Call MainePERS Disability Unit for an appointment if you require assistance. Be sure you review the forms before your appointment so that you will have all pertinent information with you to aid in the completion of the application.

 

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Q: If I am eligible for disability benefits, what amount of benefit will I receive?

 

A: Age-Limited Plan: If you were hired before October 16, 1992 and continue to be employed and did not elect the No-Age plan, your benefit will be 66 2/3% of your average final compensation, subject to any Workers' Compensation, Social Security Disability, or similar law offsets.

 

No-Age Limit Plan: If you were hired on or after October 16, 1992, or if you elected coverage under the No-Age Limit disability provisions, your benefit will be 59% of your average final compensation, subject to any Workers' Compensation, Social Security Disability, or similar law offsets.

 

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Q: How will benefits be paid to me?

 

A: The Maine Public Employees Retirement System will deposit your benefit payment directly to your financial institution, by Electronic Direct Deposit, into either your savings or checking account.

 

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Q: If I am eligible for disability benefits, how long will it take before I get my first payment?

 

A: If your application for disability benefits is approved; to begin receiving a disability benefit, you must terminate your employment position.  To determine the actual amount of your disability retirement benefit, MainePERS must receive your final payroll information from your employer.  If this does not happen promptly, or if the details of your service credit or compensation are complex, a number of months may pass before you receive your first full monthly disability retirement payment. 

 

In order not to delay the start of benefit payments, in some situations you may be eligible to receive a “preliminary” monthly benefit payment.  The gross amount of each preliminary benefit payment will be an estimated monthly disability retirement benefit based on earnings reported to us at the time of your first preliminary benefit. (You are not eligible for a preliminary benefit if you receive Workers Compensation or Social Security Benefits.) Your full disability benefit will be paid (with a reconciliation of the preliminary benefit to the final benefit) once MainePERS has received all the termination paperwork and payroll filings from your employment.

 

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Q: How long does it take to process a disability application?

 

A: It takes approximately 4-6 months to process a disability application.

 

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Q: Am I required to send my medical records to MainePERS when I apply for disability?

 

A: It is good to send medical records that you have. MainePERS will also request your medical information directly from and ask questions directly to your doctor or medical provider.

 

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Q: Can I work while receiving disability benefits?

 

A: Yes, however there are limitations on the amount you may earn without reducing or eliminating your disability benefit. For information on your earnings limitation, contact the MainePERS Disability Unit.

 

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Q: How long will I receive disability benefits?

 

A: Under the Article 3A Age-Limited Plan, as long as you remain disabled in accordance with statute you will receive a disability benefit until 10 years past normal retirement age, or when service retirement benefits equals disability retirement benefits, whichever occurs first.

 

Under the Article 3A No-Age Limit Plan, as long as you remain disabled in accordance with statute, you will continue to receive benefits until the amount of your service retirement benefits equal your disability retirement benefits.

 

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Q: Am I allowed to receive both Workers' Compensation benefits and/or Social Security Disability Insurance and MainePERS disability benefits?

 

A: You may receive all of these benefits concurrently; however, your MainePERS disability benefit will be reduced (offset) by the amounts received from Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance for the same incapacitating condition.

 

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Q: Will my case be reviewed for continued disability benefits?

 

A: Yes. Disability recipients are reviewed generally every two years after first becoming disabled, NOT two years from the date you were approved for disability retirement benefits.

 

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Q: How will the review process affect my disability benefits?

 

A: You will continue to receive your benefit throughout the review process.

 

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Q: How will I be notified that my case in being reviewed?

 

A: You will be notified by mail by means of a review packet that contains 1) questions about your condition 2) a form for your treating doctor to fill out and 3) medical releases for you to sign so MainePERS may obtain medical information directly from your doctors or other treatment providers.

 

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Q: Does MainePERS provide vocational rehabilitation services?

 

A: MainePERS provides vocational rehabilitation services with the intent to assist recipients to transition back into the workforce. Generally, an eligibility determination is based upon your inability to perform the duties of your employment position as defined by statute. The vocational rehabilitation focus is on providing services that when combined with your training, education, and experience, would allow you to engage in employment to the level of substantial gainful activity.

 

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Q: Can I refuse to participate in the rehabilitation program?

 

A: Yes, recent legislation resulted in Vocational Rehabilitation becoming a voluntary program for disability recipients. If you are approved for disability benefits and rehabilitation services are recommended, the services are optional, a determination to evaluate your suitability for vocational rehabilitation services may be made at the point of approval for disability benefits, in the course of a future review, or you may decline.

 

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Q: I have terminated my position. Can I still apply for disability benefits?

 

A: Even if you have terminated your employment position, you may apply for disability benefits as long as you have not taken a refund of your MainePERS contributions. To be eligible for benefits you would have to first demonstrate that your incapacity occurred while you were still considered to be "in service"; you would next have to meet all other statutory and rule requirements.

 

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Q: My employer terminated my employment. Can I still apply for disability benefits?

 

A: If your employer terminated your employment, you may still apply for disability benefits as long as you have not taken a refund of your contributions. You would have to demonstrate that your incapacity occurred while you were still considered to be "in service", as well as meeting other statutory and rule requirements.

 

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Q: Is there a time limit for applying for disability benefits?

 

A: No. You may apply anytime but you will be required to show that you became incapacitated while you were still in service and that you have not taken a refund of your MainePERS contributions. You should be aware that it is often harder for members to establish their incapacities if their service is too far in the past. The payment of disability retirement benefits, if approved, will generally only be retroactive to six months prior to MainePERS’ receipt of your application.

 

 

If you have a question that is not addressed here, or if you need more information than provided here, please contact the MainePERS office at (207) 512-3100 or toll-free at

1-800-451-9800.

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Web site is general in nature and is not a complete statement of the laws governing MainePERS or the administrative policies of the System. You should not rely on this general information to guide you in important individual decisions; consult with your own financial or legal advisor or with MainePERS staff. Should there be any conflict between this information and Maine laws or MainePERS policies, the laws and policies will prevail. For more information regarding MainePERS please refer to the Constitution, Statutes, and Session Laws of Maine at http://www.maine.gov/legis/ros/meconlaw.htm.

 

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Information contained on this Web site is neither a legal reference nor a complete statement of the laws or MainePERS administrative rules. In any conflict between this information and Maine laws or administrative rules, the laws and administrative rules shall prevail.

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