Disability Coverage. This brochure can also be made available in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, or on tape. Rev.

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1 Disability Coverage This brochure summarizes many features of your retirement plan and disability coverage. If a discrepancy develops between this summary and state law, the law will govern. This brochure can also be made available in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, or on tape. Rev. 11/14

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3 Contents Introduction...1 Eligibility...2 Total and Permanent Disability...3 Disability Benefit Application...4 Processing an Application...6 Normal Retirement Age...7 Disability Calculation...8 Formula Program...8 Election of an Optional Annuity Years Guaranteed...10 Survivorship Plans...11 Required Medical Examinations...12 Partial Reemployment...13 Workers' Compensation...14 Additional Information...14 Office Locations...15

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5 Introduction It's comforting to know that the Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) offers disability coverage because a disabling injury or illness can happen unexpectedly to anyone at anytime regardless of age. This extremely valuable coverage is available to you as a vested member with three or more years of service credit at no additional cost beyond the statutorily required percentage of salary contributions. Current July 1, 2013 July 1, percent 7.00 percent 7.50 percent Any member who has fulfilled the minimum eligibility requirement may apply for a total and permanent disability benefit from TRA. Disability benefits are meant to provide an income if you should become totally and permanently disabled. The physical or mental impairment must preclude the member from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (not just teaching services) and be expected to last a minimum of one year. To meet the three-year service credit requirement, you may have a combination of service among any of the Minnesota public retirement funds which are covered by the combined service annuity laws. You must apply for disability benefits with each fund in which you have allowable service. 1

6 Other public pension plans: Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association Minnesota State Retirement System Public Employees Retirement Association St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association Eligibility To be eligible for disability benefits, you must be actively teaching or on an approved leave of absence at the time the disability occurs. The disability must be the primary reason for termination of your teaching service as certified by your employer. If your teaching service was previously terminated, at least two of the three required years of allowable service must have been performed after last becoming an active member. An application for disability benefits must be made within the 18 month period following termination of teaching service due to your condition. If you are placed on a medical leave of absence without pay, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. In fact, members frequently remain on a medical leave of absence without pay while receiving disability benefits. Often this is done so that you can continue to be covered by the group hospitalization program of your local school district. You may also be eligible for other disability benefits offered through your employer and/or the Social Security Administration. If your average salary is less than $75 per month, you are not eligible to apply for disability benefits. 2

7 Total and Permanent Disability You must be totally and permanently disabled under TRA law to receive disability benefits. Minnesota Statutes Section , Subd. 14, defines total and permanent disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to be of long, continued and indefinite duration. An indefinite duration is a period of at least one year. Before submitting a disability application, you should consult with your personal physician, chiropractor or psychologist, with respect to a mental impairment, to conduct an examination and complete an evaluation of whether you are totally and permanently disabled under TRA law. Two Medical Examination Reports must be submitted for review by TRA or our medical advisors. One report may be completed by a licensed physician, chiropractor or psychologist, while the second report may only be completed by a licensed physician. An evaluation and recommendation report will be submitted to the TRA Executive Director, who will then make the final decision on whether to grant benefits. If you are granted a total and permanent disability benefit, regular medical examinations are required annually for each of the first five years following the beginning date of your disability and once every three years thereafter. (See Required Medical Examinations, page 12.) Disability benefits begin to accrue the day following the commencement of your disability, or following the last day for which salary is paid, whichever is later. However, the disability 3

8 benefit will not begin to accrue more than six months before the date your Disability Benefit Application form, TRA 3000, is filed with TRA. Remember, an application for disability benefits must be made within 18 months following termination of teaching service due to your condition. Disability Benefit Application To apply for disability benefits, please call TRA Member Services at or and request a disability estimate and disability application packet. Within two to four weeks, you will receive your estimate and application packet in the mail. The following forms are included in the packet and must be completed and returned to our office: 1. Disability Benefit Application (TRA 3000). Please complete this application yourself. In the event you are unable to complete the application because of your condition, a person who is authorized to act on your behalf may complete the application for you. The completed application must be submitted to TRA within 18 months following termination of your teaching service. 2. Release of Medical Information (TRA 3100). This form gives us the right to request medical information concerning your disability and must be submitted along with your application. 3. Medical Examination Report (TRA 3200). There are two TRA-3200 forms in your disability packet. One report may be completed by a licensed physician, 4

9 chiropractor or psychologist, while the second report may only be completed by a licensed physician. Both reports must reference the same medical condition and be submitted before your application will be processed. (Usually, the opinion of your personal physician, chiropractor or psychologist is acceptable as one of the required medical reports.) It is your responsibility to make sure the completed forms are received in our office. 4. Employer Certification of Service at Time of Disability (TRA-3600). This form must be completed by the employer with whom you last performed teaching service. It is your responsibility to give this form to your employer and to make sure it is completed and returned to our office. 5. Federal and State Tax Withholding Certificate (TRA-4900). If you are under the TRA minimum retirement age, your disability income must be reported as ordinary income. If you are over the TRA minimum retirement age, a portion of your disability income may be disbursed tax-free. If you are approved for disability benefits and you have not returned this form, Federal tax will be withheld using the designation married with 3 allowances. 6. Direct Deposit Agreement (TRA-4400). Your monthly payments can be electronically deposited to a bank, savings and loan association, credit union or any financial institution associated with the National Automated Clearinghouse Association or a comparable successor organization. Electronic direct deposit is convenient and 5

10 6 provides protection against theft and the uncertainties of postal delivery. It also ensures safe, accurate and timely direct deposit of payments to your account on the first banking day of the month. We suggest you contact your financial institution to verify the appropriate account and transit routing numbers for your account. If you choose to have your monthly payments deposited directly into your account, the Direct Deposit Agreement form must be signed by you even though you have done so elsewhere on your application. If you do not complete the Direct Deposit Agreement form, a check will be mailed to your home address each month. It is important to inform TRA of any address changes that may occur since monthly payments cannot be forwarded to your new address by the Post Office. Processing an Application When we receive your Disability Benefit Application and all of the appropriate documentation, we will process your application. If TRA requires additional independent medical examination reports, the TRA Board of Trustees may assume the cost of such medical services. The TRA Executive Director will approve or deny your application for a total and permanent disability benefit based upon the evaluation and recommendation report submitted by our state medical consultants. If the TRA Executive Director denies your disability claim, you may petition the TRA Board of Trustees for a review of your disability

11 claim. Your petition for review must be sent to the TRA Executive Director by mail and must be postmarked no later than 60 days after receipt of the notice of denial. Any additional medical evidence must be furnished at your expense. If your disability benefit is approved by the TRA Executive Director, you can expect an initial payment retroactive to your established accrual date. Thereafter, regular monthly payments will be made during the first week of each month to cover the benefit payable for that month. Monthly payments will continue for as long as you are totally and permanently disabled under TRA law. When you reach normal retirement age, or the five-year anniversary of the effective date of your disability benefit, whichever is later, you will automatically assume retirement status and you will have the right to elect a lifetime annuity plan that provides payment to a beneficiary. Normal Retirement Age Normal retirement age (NRA) means age 65, if you first became a member of TRA before July 1, If you first became a member of TRA after June 30, 1989, normal retirement age means the age defined by Social Security, but not to exceed age 66. 7

12 Year of SSA* TRA Birth FRA NRA 1937 and prior 65 yrs 65 yrs yrs, 2 mos 65 yrs, 2 mos yrs, 4 mos 65 yrs, 4 mos yrs, 6 mos 65 yrs, 6 mos yrs, 8 mos 65 yrs, 8 mos yrs, 10 mos 65 yrs, 10 mos yrs 66 yrs yrs, 2 mos 66 yrs yrs, 4 mos 66 yrs yrs, 6 mos 66 yrs yrs, 8 mos 66 yrs yrs, 10 mos 66 yrs 1960 and later 67 yrs 66 yrs *Social Security Administration full retirement age Disability Calculation Formula Program Your disability benefit is usually calculated in the same manner as the level formula retirement benefit without an actuarial reduction for each month you are under normal retirement age. However, no disability benefit may exceed your final average monthly salary. As a Coordinated member of TRA, you receive a percentage of your high-five average salary depending upon your years of TRA-covered service as follows: Years of service prior to July 1, 2006 x 1.7 percent per year Years of service on or after July 1, 2006 x 1.9 percent per year 8

13 The normal annual disability benefit is equal to this total service percentage multiplied by the average of your highest five consecutive years of salary. Election of an Optional Annuity If you are married or have dependent children, your spouse or dependent children have automatic survivor protection while you are teaching or receiving a disability benefit. In the event of your death, your spouse may take a lifetime annuity or a term annuity of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. If you have no surviving spouse, monthly payments are payable to dependent children under the age of 20. Monthly payments to dependent children are payable until they reach age 20, or for five years, whichever is longer. If you are single and vested, you may designate payment of lifetime payments for a Supplemental Needs Trust, a former spouse, or biological or adopted children. If you are married and vested, you and your spouse may jointly make a specification to waive your spouse s benefits so that designated beneficiary(ies) will receive a lifetime survivor annuity benefit. The designated beneficiary may be a Supplemental Needs Trust, the member s former spouse, or biological or adopted children. We suggest you review your current beneficiary designation. Please contact our office to request the appropriate beneficiary change form. As an alternative, you may elect to receive an optional annuity to provide beneficiary coverage in the event of your death by choosing an optional annuity plan. When you reach normal retirement 9

14 age or the five-year anniversary of the effective date of your disability benefit, whichever is later, you will continue to receive payment in accordance with the optional annuity plan you elected. By law, a married member must choose a survivorship plan, which provides coverage for the spouse after the member's death. If you choose another type of plan, your spouse will need to complete the Spousal Waiver of Survivorship Benefits form. If you elect an optional annuity plan in lieu of a regular disability benefit, an actuarial reduction factor for each month you are under normal retirement age will be applied to your disability benefit. If you choose to apply for an optional annuity in lieu of a disability benefit, TRA will mail an Application for Optional Disability Annuity form (TRA-3050) to you. The following optional annuity plans each offer different survivorship coverage. 15-Years Guaranteed If you elect the 15-Years Guaranteed Life Plan, you may designate any persons, trusts or organizations as your primary or contingent beneficiaries and change your designated beneficiaries at any time. Monthly benefits are payable for your lifetime with the guarantee that payments will be made for at least 15 years. If you die before receiving payments for the guaranteed 15 years, your designated beneficiary is paid the same monthly amount for the remaining years of the guarantee. If no designated beneficiary survives, the amount is paid in a lump sum to your estate. 10

15 Survivorship Plans Benefit payments are payable monthly for as long as you live. In the event of your death, your optional joint annuitant (OJA) will continue to receive monthly payments as follows: 100 percent survivorship the same amount for life. 75 percent survivorship three-fourths of the amount of your monthly benefit for life. 50 percent survivorship one-half the amount of your monthly benefit for life. All payments cease upon the death of your OJA. These three survivorship plans contain a bounceback feature that permits your monthly payment to be increased to the greater No Refund Life Plan amount if your OJA predeceases you. An optional joint annuitant designation is irrevocable after a period of two months following the date of your first payment. If you divorce after attaining retirement status, an OJA designation may be rescinded, if court ordered. Optional Joint Annuitant Who is Not Your Spouse You may designate any person as your joint annuitant. If you choose someone other than your spouse, your spouse will need to complete and file a waiver of benefits form with TRA. Also, if you designate someone other than your spouse, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has restrictions on the age difference between the member and the person designated as the OJA. These age restrictions apply to the 100 percent and the 75 percent survivorship plans. The IRS 11

16 has provided a formula and chart for reference; therefore, if you are contemplating designating someone who is not your spouse and is younger than you, please call our office to verify that your designation is in compliance with federal regulations. In addition to disability benefits paid by TRA, you may also be eligible for other disability benefits through your employer and/or the Social Security Administration. Required Medical Examinations After your disability benefit has been granted, regular medical examinations by a licensed physician, chiropractor or psychologist, with respect to a mental impairment, approved by our state medical consultants are required. A Medical Examination Report must be submitted by your examining physician, chiropractor or psychologist annually for the first five years following the allowance of a disability benefit and once every three years thereafter. If you refuse to submit to a medical examination as required, disability benefits from TRA could be discontinued and all rights to such disability benefits could be revoked by the TRA Executive Director. Payment of the disability benefit will be terminated if the TRA Executive Director finds that you are no longer totally and permanently disabled, based on the evaluation and recommendation report of the state medical consultants and/or if you return to substantial gainful employment. 12

17 If the TRA Executive Director terminates a disability benefit based on the evaluation and recommendation report of our state medical consultant indicating that you are no longer disabled, you may petition the TRA Board of Trustees for a review of the disability benefit termination. Your petition for review must be sent to the TRA Executive Director by mail and must be postmarked no later than 60 days after receipt of the notice of denial. Partial Reemployment It is necessary to notify TRA if you become reemployed. If you resume employment and your salary plus your TRA disability benefit originally granted is less than the salary payable at the time you were disabled, the TRA Executive Director will continue your disability benefits for as long as your disabling condition continues. Your total earned income including salary from partial employment plus the TRA disability benefit originally granted may not be greater than your salary at the time you became disabled or your disability benefits will be reduced. If the character and extent of your employment, including part-time teaching service, indicates that you may no longer be totally and permanently disabled, a new medical evaluation will be required. If an examination indicates that you are no longer totally and permanently disabled, or that you are engaged in or are able to engage in substantial gainful activity, disability payments will cease. 13

18 Workers' Compensation If your disability is related to a workers' compensation claim, it is important to notify TRA. Workers' Compensation law requires that any workers' compensation payment you receive be reduced by the disability benefit from TRA. Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Workers' Compensation Division to get more information regarding their policies. Additional Information If the terms of a Marriage Dissolution Judgment and Decree, an Order for Child Support and/ or any other court order legally attach all or part of your benefit, they will prevail over any other designations. See page 11 for additional information about rescinding an election after attaining retirement status. To avoid unnecessary delays or inaccurate information, please contact our office. To receive answers to specific individual questions, or an estimate of disability benefits, retirement benefits, or joint and survivor annuities, you may want to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors. You may schedule an appointment at any of our TRA offices online or by calling TRA Member Services and specifying which location you prefer. Appointments must be scheduled. All mail should be directed to our St. Paul office: Empire Drive, Suite 400 St Paul MN FAX TTY

19 Office Locations St. Paul Office 7:30 am - 4:30 pm 60 Empire Drive, Ste 400 Monday - Friday St. Paul, MN St. Cloud Area Office Market Place Office Tower 110 2nd Street S., Ste. 308 Waite Park, MN Mankato Office Brett's Building, Suite Civic Center Plaza Mankato, MN :30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Thursday Call for available dates and times. Detroit Lakes Office 7:30 am - 5:00 pm 714 Lake Ave., Suite 102 Monday - Thursday 111 Hwy 10 E Detroit Lakes, MN TRA Website: General information address: 15

20 Notes 16

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