Disability Benefits

for Original ECO Plan Members

Disability Benefits Under the ECO Plan

If you are eligible for disability benefits, you might have the choice to receive benefits under the Regular/SLEP plan or under the ECO plan. While the Regular/SLEP and ECO disability plan benefits share most of the same requirements and processes, the ECO plan has additional eligibility requirements and different payment amounts. The information in this box includes the benefits and eligibility requirements specific to the ECO plan.

Most ECO members who apply for IMRF disability do so under the Regular/SLEP plan. If you are an ECO member who is planning to apply for disability benefits under the ECO plan, please contact IMRF at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (275-4673).

Eligibility for Disability Benefits Under the ECO Plan

If you meet the requirements for Regular/SLEP disability benefits, you can choose to receive ECO disability benefits if:

  • You are unable to reasonably perform the duties of the office and no longer hold the office
  • You are making ECO contributions at the time disability occurs
  • Two licensed physicians approved by IMRF certify that you are permanently disabled, and you must resign your elected position
  • You elect in writing to receive ECO disability benefits instead of Regular/SLEP disability benefits

Disability Benefits Under the ECO Plan

The maximum benefit payable would be an amount equal to the pension earned to date. The monthly amount could be more than Regular/SLEP disability benefits. Call IMRF at 1-800-ASK-IMRF (275-4673) for additional details.

Two types of benefits

IMRF provides two types of disability benefits:

You always start out receiving temporary disability. If your temporary disability benefits run out and you are still disabled, your claim will be investigated to determine your eligibility for total and permanent disability benefits.

IMRF disability benefits protect you

While you are on IMRF disability:

How much are disability payments?

You could receive monthly payments up to 50% of your average monthly salary (based on the 12 months before the month you became disabled).

If you are eligible for other sources of disability income, such as workers’ compensation or Social Security, the amount of your IMRF disability payments will be reduced. Click the links below to learn more about how IMRF disability payments are affected by:

When do my benefits start?

IMRF disability benefits are not paid for the first 30 days of disability.

Temporary disability benefits are effective on the 31st day following the date of disability, as long as you are no longer receiving salary, sick, holiday, or vacation pay from your employer. If you are still getting paid by your employer, your benefits will begin the day after the last day you were paid.

How long will my benefits last?

Why can my IMRF disability benefits be reduced?

If you receive Social Security disability, workers' compensation benefits, or other outside earnings, by law your IMRF disability benefits must be reduced by the amount you receive from these benefits. However, even if the amount you receive from Social Security disability and/or workers' compensation exceeds 50% of your income, IMRF will always pay you a minimum benefit of $10.00 a month to make sure your other IMRF benefits are protected.

To learn more about why you should still apply for IMRF disability benefits if your benefit will be reduced, click here.

Trial work periods

If your employer offers a trial work period, you may be able to return to work part time without losing all of your IMRF disability benefits. To learn more about the trial work period, click here.

If you are denied benefits

IMRF will send you a denial letter if we deny or terminate your disability benefits. If you do not agree with this decision, you can request a hearing before the IMRF Board of Trustees Benefit Review Committee. To learn more about what to do if you are denied benefits, click here.

IMRF is authorized to determine continuing eligibility

If you are granted IMRF disability benefits, IMRF is authorized to conduct periodic checks/investigations to determine continuing eligibility. These periodic checks/investigations may result in a determination of ineligibility.

IMRF is not legally authorized to pay a benefit to an ineligible member. If IMRF finds you ineligible, your benefit will stop the month after this determination. You will have an opportunity to appeal to the IMRF Benefit Review Committee under IMRF’s disability appeal procedures.

By applying for these benefits and signing the "Members Application for IMRF Disability Benefits" form, you indicate you understand your benefits may be terminated if a written report by an IMRF-appointed physician finds that you are no longer disabled, as defined by the Illinois Pension Code.