The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has one great strength and one major drawback. Unfortunately, both can be stated as “OPERS replaces Social Security for city, town and state workers, as well as many public safety employees and university faculty.
The overwhelming majority of workers across the United States and in Ohio rely on Social Security to supplement retirement income and deliver long-term disability benefits when working becomes impossible due to injury or illness. OPERS serves the same function for people who get paid pay state and local government agencies in Ohio. So far, so good.
Problems arise, however, when people have worked at jobs that required them to pay contributions towards both Social Security and OPERS. Rules for each program make Social Security primary when it comes to paying disability benefits. This creates many situations in which long-time Ohio state employees face an automatic rejection for an OPERS disability benefits application and general disqualification for benefits through federal programs like Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. It is not uncommon for a disabled former city hall employee who also worked a second job on nights and weekends to receive letters from OPERS to petition the Social Security Administration and other letters from the SSA to contact OPERS. The same frustration can afflict a person who worked for several years in the Ohio public sector before moving on to a job with a private employer.
Beginning any disability benefits application by consulting with an experienced and empathetic OPERS disability lawyer will help avoid this bureaucratic nightmare. Working with an OPERS attorney will also make navigating the disability application process easier by preparing you to recognize and avoid hurdles related to qualifying conditions, insufficient medical evidence, and unfairly tight deadlines for filing appeals.
We detail strategies for overcoming many of the problems with OPERS elsewhere on this website. To begin exploring the services an Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman Ohio disability lawyer can provide, check out
To discuss a possible legal action for a personal injury, contact the Columbus, OH, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman by calling (800) 678-3318 or fill out this webform. The initial consultation will cost you nothing.