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OPERS Disability: What Is It and Who’s Eligible?

OPERS, or the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, is an alternative to Social Security. By becoming a member of OPERS, the member gets retirement or disability benefits if they are unable to work because of a disability or when they reach retirement age. The workers pay into OPERS instead of Social Security through deductions from their wages. If the employee develops a disability, they apply through OPERS to establish eligibility and start receiving their benefits. 

What Do You Need to Apply?

First, the worker must show they contributed to the OPERS traditional pension plan or a plan combination that includes the traditional pension plan. The person cannot be retired and receiving OPERS retirement benefits at the time when they apply for disability. The claimant must apply for benefits within two years of their last pay period with their employer. Are you disabled and need help? Contact opers disability attorneys for further details. 

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

The illnesses or injury in the claim must happen before the worker was either terminated or quit working for the public employer. The exception is if the illness or injury happened while they were working but wasn’t discovered until a later time. The terms of OPERS limits the discovery time to no more than two years after the event that caused the injury or illness.  

Law enforcement officers who participated in the OPERS traditional pension plan are eligible if their application is filed after establishing their membership. They must be assessed according to the occupation standard, and they must be ineligible for any rehabilitative services that could get them back to work. 

What Factors Prevent Eligibility?

A claimant is not eligible for OPERS disability if their illness or injury happened as a result of a cosmetic or elective procedure. However, reconstructive surgery is not included in elective or cosmetic procedures that are ineligible for disability benefits. 

The claimant is not eligible for benefits if they were injured or developed a condition during the commission of a crime that is classified as a felony. It doesn’t matter if the crime happened in the workplace or not. A person who is convicted of a felony cannot receive OPERS disability benefits even if the criminal act caused their injury or condition. 

What Evidence Do They Need?

The claimant must file a physician’s report form that explains their condition or injury. The medical report must show how they sustained the injuries or condition. They need a completed application for OPERS disability benefits. 

OPERS evaluates the application and determines eligibility. The agency may send the claim to a third party to review eligibility requirements and contact the last employer listed by the claimant.

The claimant must follow all instructions provided by OPERS, and if there are medical evaluations scheduled for the person, they must attend these appointments. All information collected during medical assessments by OPERS is used to establish eligibility or deny disability benefits. Once OPERS has completed its evaluation, the worker receives an answer. 

Workers participate in OPERS by contributing to the pension plan instead of the Social Security Administration. If the worker develops a condition or sustains an injury, they must apply for disability benefits through the program. The amount of benefits the person receives depends on how much they’ve paid into the program. Were you denied OPERS disability benefits? Contact an attorney now. 

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