If you become Disabled, you are eligible for a Disability Retirement Benefit if:
- You have 1½ Years of Future Service Benefit Accrual Credits (this requirement may not apply if you worked in 1962 under certain collective bargaining agreements); and
- You have a Disability Award from the Social Security Administration, or can establish that such an Award was unavailable solely because of the absence of enough quarters of coverage to qualify under the Social Security Law; and
- You earned at least ½ Year of Benefit Accrual Credit during the period which consists of the Plan Year in which your Social Security Disability Benefits began and the two preceding Plan Years. (Hours of Reciprocal Service earned under another plan may be counted toward satisfying this eligibility requirement.)
- Exception: Rehabilitation Plan – Default Schedule. The Disability Benefit is no longer available, unless you are in pay status as of July 1, 2011 (even if Social Security subsequently determines your disability to have occurred prior to July 1, 2011).
Proof of Disability
You are considered “Disabled” if you have a Social Security Disability Award. Evidence of this can be shown by submitting one of the following to the Plan Office:
- A copy of your Social Security Disability Award; or
- A letter from the Social Security Administration showing entitlement to a Social Security Disability Award. The letter must show the effective date of your Social Security disability payments.
If you cease to be “Disabled,” payment of your Disability Retirement Benefit will cease. Until you reach Normal Retirement Age (62), you will be required to provide proof each year that you continue to qualify for a Social Security Disability Award. Once you reach Normal Retirement Age, you will continue to receive pension payments – even if you recover from your disability.
Disability Retirement Benefit Amount
The monthly amount of the Disability Retirement Benefit is determined in the same way as a Normal Retirement Benefit.
- Rehabilitation Plan – Recommended Schedule. For a Participant who is not in pay status as of July 1, 2011 (even if Social Security subsequently determines the onset date of “disability” to be prior to July 1, 2011), the amount of the Disability Retirement Benefit is reduced from the amount payable as a Normal Retirement Benefit for each month that he is younger than age 62 as shown in the table below:
|Participant Age||Percentage of Normal Retirement Benefit Payable (Percentages shown for whole years. Actual percentages based on age in years and months)|
|Below 52||Additional reductions apply|
When Disability Retirement Benefits Are Payable
Your Disability Retirement Benefit is payable beginning on the date you are entitled to Social Security Benefits. Generally, this is the sixth month after Social Security determines you to have been totally disabled. The Plan will make payments retroactive to that date, except that retroactive payments will not go back more than two years prior to the date your application for benefits is received by the Plan Office.
You should file an application for a Disability Retirement Benefit with the Plan Office when you apply for your Social Security Disability Award to make sure that Plan benefits become payable as soon as possible.
Recovery by a Disability Pensioner Before Normal Retirement Age (62)
The Disability Retirement Benefit is payable for as long as you remain totally disabled. If you recover from your disability or learn that your Social Security disability benefits are being stopped, you should notify the Plan Office immediately after receiving notice from the Social Security Administration. Your Disability Retirement Benefit payments will then stop. The failure to do so may result in the overpayment of benefits which must be recovered by the Plan and may result in your pension being delayed when you retire again.
If you return to a job in Covered Service, you will begin to earn additional Service Credit and benefit accruals. When you retire again, your Retirement Benefits will not be affected by your earlier Disability Retirement Benefit payments – unless you owe the Plan for prior overpayments of Disability Retirement Benefits.
Recovery by a Disability Pensioner After Normal Retirement Age (62)
Once you reach Normal Retirement Age, your pension will continue even if you recover from your disability, as long as you remain retired.