The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) includes all employees who are paid by the state of Ohio, a county, municipality or local government within the state and serves more than a million employees. OPERS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefit programs for public employees throughout Ohio who are not covered by another local or state retirement program.
OPERS has two different disability programs, the original plan and the revised plan. Any employee hired after July 29, 1992 is covered under the revised plan. Employees who had contributions on deposit before that date had the chance to choose one of the two disability programs.
An appellate process exists for employees in one of two circumstances: a denied application or a termination of benefits. During the appeals process, the disabled worker can submit additional medical evidence to support the claim. The time period for an appeal is limited, so utilizing the services of an OPERS Disability attorney is recommended.
To qualify for OPERS Disability benefits:
An OPERS member must have a minimum of 5 years of contributing service credit. Exceptions are for those covered under the law enforcement division who become disabled due to an on-duty injury or illness.
The member must go off payroll due to an apparently permanent disabling condition, either physical or mental, which prevents the member from doing his or her current job duties. Disability benefits are not given for temporary illness or temporary disability. A qualifying disability can occur outside of the workplace; a majority of those receiving an OPERS disability benefit became disabled from a disease or an “off-the-job” accident.
At the time of filing, no more than two years have passed since the member last contributed to OPERS. Exceptions are only if the member was disabled and unable to file an application by the two-year mark.
The member cannot already be receiving an age and service retirement benefit. For those who qualify under the original plan, a member must file a disability application before the age of 60; under the revised plan, he or she may apply at any age.
Navigating the OPERS paperwork can be difficult, but the experienced attorneys of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman are available to help. Clients are taken on a contingency basis, and your initial consultation is completely free. If you need an Ohio attorney to assist with your OPERS claim, contact us today.