The final step in the application process is issuing a decision on whether or not eligibility criteria for disability retirement have been met. Decisions are typically communicated with applicants over the phone. Those conversations are followed by a written decision, which provides the results of MainePERS’ review and any rights the applicant may have for appealing the decision issued. This decision will outline one of the following scenarios:
Approval of Benefits
When the application in its entirety is approved, the correspondence from MainePERS will also include additional paperwork that must be completed and returned to MainePERS. All monthly payments issued by MainePERS are required to be direct deposited into a U.S. bank account. Additionally, applicants may choose to complete a W-4P, W-4ME and/or Non-Resident Certification for Maine Tax Withholding form in order to have taxes appropriately withheld from their benefit check.
Most retirees receive their first benefit check at the end of the month after their direct deposit form has been received. The first benefit payment will also include retroactive benefits when applicable for those whose effective date of retirement is in the past. Most benefit recipients receive a preliminary benefit equal or close to the amount provided on the estimate calculation previously provided. Once the benefit amount has been finalized, the recipient will be notified of any change to their monthly benefit. A retroactive payment for the difference between the preliminary benefit and the final calculation will be made when necessary. In the occurrence of an overpayment, the balance due is typically withheld from ongoing monthly benefits until paid in full. Benefit recipients are informed prior to a reduction in benefits.
Approval of Benefits on Fewer than All Conditions
Applicants often list more than one medical condition on their application. In some instances, an applicant may be approved on one or more listed conditions while other conditions listed do not meet eligibility criteria. The decision will communicate which conditions are approved and will inform the applicant of the reason other conditions were not.
So long as at least one of the applicant’s conditions meet all eligibility criteria, the applicant will be entitled to receive disability retirement benefits. The amount of the monthly benefit due is not impacted by having received a partial approval. These decisions are treated in the same way as the decisions under the Approval of Benefits section above. Appeal rights are provided for any conditions found to have not met eligibility for approval.
Denial of Benefits
If at the conclusion of the application process all eligibility criteria have not been met, a denial will be issued. A decision letter will be mailed to the applicant which will provide appeal rights.