State Disability Retirement Systems

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Attorneys for OPERS Disability Benefits in Columbus, Ohio

Lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman have helped hundreds of people across the state obtain disability benefits through the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). The program, which is similar to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), exists solely for individuals who are employed by the State of Ohio or a county, city, or local government. Separate retirement systems have also been established for public school teachers, nonteaching employees of local school systems, and some police and firefighters.

If a physical injury, illness, or mental health condition has made you unable to continue working for a state or local government agency and you are not eligible to receive SSDI benefits, you should consider applying for OPERS disability benefits. Qualifying is not simple, however, and you may need to partner with a lawyer who understands the OPERS system to file an application, appeal a denial of benefits, or to appeal a termination of benefits.

How to Know if You Are Eligible for OPERS Disability Benefits

To qualify for OPERS disability benefits, you must 

  • Have accumulated a minimum of 60 months of service credits by contributing to the retirement system. This is equivalent to 5 years of service in a job that makes you eligible for OPERS retirement benefits. Service credits can be purchased by voluntarily having more than the required OPERS contribution withheld from each pay check. Exceptions to the requirement for at least 60 months of service credits exist for law enforcement personnel whose disability resulted from an on-duty injury or an illness developed in the line of duty.
  • Be incapable of performing the duties of your current job or the job you most recently held with a state or local government agency. Importantly, the disabling condition does not need to have occurred at or been caused by work; it can be any illness or injury suffered while you were making OPERS contributions.
  • Suffer from a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months. OPERS disability benefits are never paid to people with illnesses or injuries that are not considered permanent.
  • Have a diagnosis for the disabling illness or injury that was made prior to the date on which you stopped working at the job that made you eligible to participate in OPERS.
  • Apply within 2 years of the last date on which you contributed to OPERS.
  • Not already be receiving an age and service retirement benefit or have received a refund of your OPERS contributions.

How to Appeal a Denial or Termination of OPERS Disability Benefits

First, the time period in which an appeal can be filed is limited. Contacting a Columbus OPERS disability attorney as soon as possible after being notified that payments were denied or canceled is recommended.

Typically, succeeding with an appeal requires submitting additional medical evidence to support the existence and disabling nature of a serious physical or mental health condition. You must understand, however, that new health problems cannot be added to your claim. 

How We Can Help

Completing, filing, and following up on OPERS paperwork can be difficult, especially for an individual or family dealing with a disability. One of our experienced OPERS disability attorneys may be able to step up and keep your claim moving.

In fact, the best time to contact our Columbus offices at (614) 221-3318 or online to schedule a free consultation could be before you send in your initial application for OPERS disability benefits. That will give you access to an OPERS disability attorney who will walk you through the process and offer advice on the types of documentation to include with your application packet.

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Worker’s Comp Lawyers Columbus, Ohio - Agee Clymer

140 E. Town St. #1100
Columbus, OH 43215