State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio

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All information displayed only relates to the Defined Benefit Plan. Click on Defined Contribution Plan or Combined Plan for information on these retirement plan options.

About Disability Benefits

 

STRS Ohio has two disability benefit programs for members participating in the Defined Benefit Plan — disability allowance and disability retirement.

  • Teachers who became members of STRS Ohio after July 29, 1992, have protection under the disability allowance program and should read the Disability Allowance brochure for an explanation of their disability protection.
  • Teachers who were members of STRS Ohio on or before July 29, 1992, participate in either the disability allowance or the disability retirement program. Members who chose the disability allowance program should read the Disability Allowance brochure for an explanation of their disability protection. Members who chose the disability retirement program should read the Disability Retirement brochure for an explanation of their disability protection.

Members who chose the disability allowance program should read the Disability Allowance brochure for an explanation of their disability protection. Members who chose the disability retirement program should read the Disability Retirement brochure for an explanation of their disability protection.

Teachers who were members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and/or School Employees Retirement System (SERS) after their teaching service ended must apply for disability benefits with the retirement system where they have the most service credit. The system with the most service will determine and pay the disability benefit.

Members who are unsure of their program selection should refer to their Annual Statement of Account or contact STRS Ohio toll-free at 1-888-227-7877.

An online Disability Benefits Presentation is available and provides an overview of the process of applying for disability benefits.

Disability Benefit Programs

 

Disability Allowance

To qualify for disability allowance benefits, an STRS Ohio member must:

  • Meet either of the following:

Existing members on June 30, 2013, must have at least 5.00 years of qualifying service credit* on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within two years of the last date of earned service.

New members on or after July 1, 2013, must have at least 10.00 years of qualifying service credit* on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within one year of the last date of earned service.

The one- or two-year deadline to file an application does not apply if the State Teachers Retirement Board determines the member’s medical records demonstrate conclusively that at the time the one- or two-year period expired, the member was physically or mentally incapacitated from their most recent job duties and unable to apply for disability.

  • Not be receiving service retirement benefits.
  • Have the most service credit with STRS Ohio (versus OPERS or SERS). If OPERS or SERS has the most service credit, contact the system with the most service credit for a disability application packet.

In lieu of receiving monthly disability benefits from STRS Ohio, members may terminate employment and withdraw their account (see the Account Withdrawal section for more information).

Click here to estimate your disability allowance benefit.

Read the Disability Allowance brochure for more information.

Disability Retirement

To qualify for disability retirement benefits, an STRS Ohio member must:

  • Have at least 5.00 years of qualifying service credit* on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within two years of the last date of earned service.

    The two-year deadline to file an application does not apply if the State Teachers Retirement Board determines the member’s medical records demonstrate conclusively that at the time the two-year period expired, the member was physically or mentally incapacitated from their most recent job duties and unable to apply for disability.

  • Not be receiving service retirement benefits.
  • Be younger than age 60 when the disability application is filed.
  • Stop teaching before reaching age 60.
  • Have the most service credit with STRS Ohio (versus OPERS or SERS). If OPERS or SERS has the most service credit, contact the system with the most service credit for a disability application packet.

In lieu of receiving monthly disability benefits from STRS Ohio, members may terminate employment and withdraw their account (see the Account Withdrawal section for more information).

*Qualifying service credit includes earned credit with STRS Ohio, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or School Employees Retirement System (SERS); restoration of credit with STRS Ohio, OPERS or SERS; and transferred credit from Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, Highway Patrol Retirement System or Cincinnati Retirement System.

Click here to estimate your disability retirement benefit

Read the Disability Retirement brochure for more information.

Additional Benefits Available under the Disability Programs

 

Survivor Benefits

Disability Allowance

Qualified survivors may be eligible to receive a monthly benefit or to withdraw the account balance. This withdrawal payment consists of the member’s contributions only; no interest or 50% matching funds are payable.

Disability Retirement

Qualified survivors may be eligible to receive a monthly benefit or to withdraw the remaining account balance. If a remaining account balance is available, a withdrawal payment would consist of the member’s contributions less monthly benefits received; no interest or 50% matching funds would be payable.

For more information regarding survivor benefits, please refer to the Survivor Benefits brochure.

Access to Health Care Coverage

A disability benefit recipient may choose to participate in the STRS Ohio Health Care Program* by paying a premium for this coverage. Health care coverage (medical, dental and vision) may begin the first month following Retirement Board approval of disability benefits or once the appropriate health care enrollment forms are received, whichever is later.

A disability benefit recipient’s eligible dependents may also enroll in an STRS Ohio health care plan for additional premiums. Eligibility, coverage levels and the cost of the STRS Ohio Health Care Program are determined by the Retirement Board.

Premiums are automatically deducted from disability benefits and are deducted after taxes. An assistance program that includes both lower monthly premiums for health care coverage and lower out-of-pocket costs is available for eligible disability benefit recipients. Eligibility is based on total family income and total liquid assets. Call toll-free 1-888-227-7877 for more information.

A disability recipient with a benefit effective date on or after Jan. 1, 2004, must have 15 or more years of qualifying service credit (or 20 years of service beginning Aug. 1, 2023) to have access to health care coverage if the recipient later applies for service retirement. If the disability effective date was before Jan. 1, 2004, the recipient qualifies for access to health care coverage under the service retirement account as long as there was no break in benefits between the disability benefit and the service retirement benefit. However, if the recipient has less than 15 years of qualifying service credit, the recipient pays the full cost of coverage.

Medicare enrollment

STRS Ohio requires all eligible health care plan participants to enroll — and remain enrolled — in Medicare Part B at age 65 or whenever eligible. It’s important to know that even if you aren’t yet age 65, you may also qualify for coverage if you have a disability or end-stage renal disease. Contact Medicare toll-free at 1-800-633-4227 or www.medicare.gov for eligibility determination. After you’ve enrolled in Medicare, you must send STRS Ohio a copy of your Medicare card. Your Medicare status determines your health care plan eligibility, the cost of your health plan and how your medical claims will be paid.

*The STRS Ohio Health Care Program is not guaranteed. STRS Ohio hopes to continue the program, but reserves the right to change or discontinue all or part of the program for all or a class of eligible benefit recipients and dependents at any time.

Dental and Vision Coverage

STRS Ohio offers dental and vision plans to disability benefit recipients who are eligible to enroll in the STRS Ohio Health Care Program. A disability benefit recipient’s eligible dependents may also enroll. Enrollment in an STRS Ohio health care plan is not a requirement to enroll in the dental plan or the vision plan. Separate monthly premiums apply to the dental and the vision plans. For more information, contact STRS Ohio toll-free 1-888-227-7877. You can view the current dental and vision plan information in the Optional Health Care section.

Optional Long-Term Care Coverage

STRS Ohio members, benefit recipients and their eligible family members may apply for supplemental group long-term care insurance issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential). Long-term care is the help or supervision provided for someone with severe cognitive impairment or the inability to perform the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring and continence. Services may be provided at the home or in a facility, and the care may be provided by a professional or informal caregiver, such as a friend or family member. Enrollees pay the full cost of coverage directly to Prudential. For more information, call Prudential toll-free at 1-877-857-8220.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

When a member retires, cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increases on the retirement benefit are based on the retirement effective date. Members who retire Aug. 1, 2013, or later, will receive a 2% COLA beginning on the fifth anniversary of retirement. For example, a member who retires July 1, 2014, will receive his or her first COLA on July 1, 2019, and that COLA will be 2%.

Future increases are calculated on the original benefit and are not compounded over the previous year. The cost-of-living increase is added to the regular monthly benefit.

Variable Supplemental Benefit Payment

The Retirement Board considers a lump-sum supplemental payment each year only when the board determines that funds are available. Payment is based on the number of years of service credit and the number of years as a benefit recipient. You must have received at least 12 consecutive monthly benefits before qualifying to receive this supplemental benefit payment.

Death Benefit

An automatic $1,000 death benefit is payable to a disability benefit recipient’s designated beneficiary. This automatic benefit is considered a nontaxable life insurance payment; therefore, it is a tax-free benefit to the beneficiary.

A disability benefit recipient may purchase an additional $1,000 or $2,000 death benefit for a monthly premium. This optional death benefit is subject to a six-month waiting period and is taxable when it is paid. For more information about this benefit, read the Death Benefits brochure.

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