In addition to its service retirement program, which provides a retirement benefit to members who meet certain vesting, age and length of service requirements, MainePERS also administers a Disability Retirement Program for members who become unable to work but are not yet ready to start their service retirement benefit.
The Disability Retirement benefit is based on three components. A member must demonstrate that:
- One or more medically diagnosable conditions exist,
- Functional limitations caused by the conditions make the member unable to perform the essential functions of the member’s employment position with reasonable accommodation, and
- The inability can be expected to be permanent.
As a form of retirement, it is a unique benefit that has different requirements than other similar but different government-run disability programs, such as Social Security Disability or Veterans Affairs programs. It is also different than private insurance that may be purchased to provide some income during a short-term or long-term illness that prevents someone from working.