Retirement Disability FAQs

Disability retirement benefits are available for individuals who become suddenly disabled or ill. The disability must be considered severe and the employee can no longer perform their duties. To be eligible, the individual must be employed prior to disability and unable to continue in this function.

Does Temporary Disability Count?

If you have a temporary disability, you may qualify for retirement disability. Your disability time period must be indeterminate. For example, if you injure your neck and a doctor tells you they believe you will be able to return to work in the future, but the timeframe is unknown, you may be eligible for retirement disability. On the other hand, if the doctor says you can return in three months, you may not qualify. Short term disability coverage is the best option.

Not Injured on the Job?

You do not need to sustain your injury, or illness, on the job to qualify for retirement disability benefits. For example, you may be injured in a car accident, or slip and fall outside of work. In either of these cases, if your injury prevents you from earning an income, you may be eligible for retirement disability. If you are injured on the job, you may be eligible for coverage through your workers compensation insurance. You will also qualify for industrial retirement disability, which is specifically designated for those who have been injured while on the job. 

How Much Will I Receive?

The amount you receive through a disability plan is directly related to the factors of your current financial situation. For example, your application will ask questions about how much you were earning before you became disabled. Further, they will ask how much fixed monthly expenses you incur and how many dependents relied on your income prior to your disability. The greater your need, the more money you will be awarded. Retirement disability will also take into consideration other factors,  such as the ability of your spouse or dependent to earn a living and whether you have full-time care. On the whole, retirement disability typically averages out to cover only the basic needs of living expenses.

Will My Benefits Terminate in the Future?

In order to remain eligible for benefits, you must remain eligible to work. This means you may lose your benefits once you reach a qualified retirement age. At this age, however, other benefits will be open to you. You will be eligible for social security payments and you can begin withdrawing from any retirement plan.

Many times, social security benefits may not be enough to continue to cover your living expenses if you do not have enough supplemental retirement income. In this case, you may still be able to earn additional support through retirement disability.