Disability benefit recipients sometimes ask if they can teach while receiving benefits. The simple answer to this question is no. You may not perform any teaching services while receiving STRS Ohio disability benefits. This includes any traditional or nontraditional teaching activity, whether full time or part time, in a public or private setting, school or nonschool setting, on a volunteer basis or for compensation, in or outside the state of Ohio.
Below are some common examples of traditional and nontraditional teaching activities that are not permitted while receiving disability benefits. Please note, this is not a complete list. To find out if an activity qualifies as teaching service, please contact STRS Ohio.
- Any employment covered by STRS Ohio
- Electronic classroom instructors
- Private and community school teachers
- Day care teachers
- Private-lesson providers
- Duties that relate to the work of educators (e.g., writing curriculum, leading workshops and providing training)
- Teaching private art classes or piano lessons
- Mentoring students academically
- Teaching Bible studies
- Writing curriculum for any organization
You also cannot perform duties similar to your STRS Ohio position while receiving disability benefits. For instance, a school nurse cannot be a private nurse; a band director cannot direct a city orchestra; a theater teacher cannot direct a local play; and a music teacher cannot lead a choir.
Keep in mind, if you are receiving disability benefits on a combined basis with Ohio Public Employees Retirement System or School Employees Retirement System, you may not perform any employment that would contribute to the other system participating in the disability benefit.
What happens if you teach while receiving disability benefits?
Your STRS Ohio disability benefit will terminate immediately if you perform any teaching service. Please note that a retroactive termination would require a repayment of benefits. You could apply for service retirement, if eligible, but the amount may be significantly lower than your disability benefit. If you do not qualify for service retirement, you would not receive any STRS Ohio benefits until eligibility requirements are met.
Plan ahead! If you are considering employment or volunteer work, send a job description to STRS Ohio for preapproval. Be sure to include the name of the employer or volunteer organization along with a list of duties to be performed. If you intend to return to teaching, request your disability benefits be terminated before you return to work.
If you have any questions, please call STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877 or email STRS Ohio.