Active employees with 10 years or more of creditable service may be eligible for a disability retirement should the following apply:
- The employee is unable to do their job because of physical or mental incapacity
- The disability was not a result of United States armed forces service, chronic alcoholism addiction to narcotics, intentionally self-inflicted injuries, or injuries received while committing a felony
- The condition is likely to be permanent
- The employee’s doctor is willing to recommend the employee for a disability retirement
- The employee is not receiving employer-provided payments for disability
Disability retirements are subject to review by the Board of Trustees who has the legal authority to require anyone receiving a disability retirement allowance to undergo a medical examination if they have not yet reached retirement age. Should the retiree refuse, the Board has the authority to revoke the employee’s disability benefit.
Disability Retirement Process
The Employee’s Responsibilities Before Retirement:
- A letter from the employee (in their own words) requesting a disability retirement. The letter must state the employee’s condition and how it prevents them from doing their job. It’s helpful to include current contact information for future use by Retirement Office personnel should it become necessary. NOTE: This letter does not have to be typed and can be hand written if necessary.
- A letter from the employee’s physician stating the following:
- How the employee is incapacitated from further performance of duty
- The disability is likely to be permanent
- The doctor needs to state a recommendation that the employee be retired because of their disability
- The letters are to be submitted to the employee’s department head
- Gather any and all doctor’s records supporting your request for disability for future evaluation by the Board’s Physician
- Meet with Board’s Physician at the appointed time
The City of Montgomery’s Responsibility:
- The request passes through the chain of command to the Mayor’s Office
- Representatives in the Mayor’s Office review the request and either forward it on to the Retirement Office for processing or send it back to the Department for further evaluation
The Retirement System’s Responsibility Before the Employee’s Retirement:
- Schedule an appointment with one of the Retirement Board’s Physicians
- Contact the employee to notify them of their doctor’s appointment, gather additional information, and schedule an appointment to sign retirement paperwork
- Prepare the necessary disability application and related paperwork
- Meet with employee to answer questions, collect information and sign paperwork
- Present the completed disability package to the Board of Trustees for evaluation at the next regularly scheduled meeting
Disability retirements are calculated using the same formula and information as a service retirement.
Important Facts To Know About Disability Retirement and Gainful Employment
It is the Retiree’s Responsibility to notify the Retirement Office immediately upon finding Gainful Employment if hired during the post- retirement period up to the date the employee would have been eligible to retire on a service retirement.
Upon a retirees’ acceptance of gainful employment their Disability Retirement allowance becomes subject to adjustment based on parameters established by law.
The Board of Trustees has a legal right to investigate potential gainful employment of any member retiring due to a disability up to the time they attain minimum service retirement age and adjust benefit allowances in accordance with the law.
Should you become re-employed with the City of Montgomery or Airport Authority your disability retirement and all elections will be voided and your allowance will cease immediately.
A retiree’s refusal to comply with a Board of Trustee request pertaining to gainful employment can be considered grounds for benefit allowance termination. The law provides that the Board of Trustees is within their rights to demand answers to questions concerning the disability and gainful employment, federal income tax returns and any other pertinent information.
Other Important Facts To Know About Disability Retirement
Disability retirements are calculated using the same formulas and information used in calculating a service retirement.
Should a retiree’s disability retirement be voided for any reason any and all elections are also void.
Should an employee become disabled under a circumstance which fails to meet the requirements, they may elect to receive either a return of contributions or a deferred retirement allowance commencing at such time as they would be eligible to receive a service retirement allowance.
NOTE: this is a simplified overview of the disability retirement law and should not be considered exhaustive.