When you apply for your disability benefits through the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, the waiting can seem brutal.  Many are curious about the process, and especially what will happen if their claim is denied.  Rather than spend months worrying if your claim is approved or denied, educate yourself on the criteria for eligibility for benefits, and work with an attorney to understand what types of benefits for which you are eligible. If the claim is denied, have a plan of attack utilizing a skilled attorney to advocate for your rights. 

 What is OPERS?  The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System is the largest state pension fund in Ohio.  OPERS is among the largest public retirement systems in the nation, and serves all employees who are paid by the state of Ohio.  This includes any of the county, municipalities, or city government workers.  OPERS provides many forms of support, including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for current and former state employees.  It is important to remember that those seeking benefits through OPERS have paid into the program over time and are generally due benefits.

OPERS has two distinct disability programs: an original plan for those hired before 1992 and a revised plan for those hired after 1992.  Make sure when you apply for your benefits that you understand which program covers you.  Those hired before 1992 are able to select which disability program they will participate in.  For more information on how to prepare a claim for either disability program, contact a disability program attorney. 

Some who apply are denied for benefits under the OPERS.  Often there is a general denial of the application, and others have had benefits terminated for one reason or another and may not qualify for benefits.  It is important to work with an attorney to better understand the denied application and to work to provide additional information for the appeal. If your application is denied, you should prepare an appeal in a timely manner. Again, working with a retirement benefits attorney can help you understand what additional information you should provide in your appeal so you can present the appeals board with the necessary information to rule on your claim. 

In some instances the benefits are denied because the incorrect paperwork was sent with your application or paperwork only showing a temporary disability.  The application requires complete medical records to show that you are off the payroll because of a permanent disabling condition.  This can either be mental condition or a physical condition. Showing that your condition is considered permanent is crucial; the OPERS does not provide disability benefits for those with temporary disability or illness. If you feel that your situation warrants review, preparing an appeal is crucial.  Rather than attempt the appeal on your own, an Ohio disability attorney can help you submit a timely appeal. Working closely with a disability benefits attorney will ease your mind, as experienced attorneys will understand the deadlines and types of documents needed for your appeal.  

The OPERS benefits and appeals process can be daunting.  Hire an attorney to help you navigate through the process and act as an advocate for you and your earned benefits.  Call the experienced attorneys at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to help you get the benefits available through the system.  Call (800) 678-3318  for a free initial consultation and let us help you.