Other IMRF Benefits Continue
While you are on disability, you:
- Continue to earn Regular or SLEP service credit toward your pension as if you were working. This service credit is granted without any cost to you.
- Have the same IMRF death benefit protection you had when you were working. If death occurs while IMRF is paying disability benefits, your beneficiary(ies) will be eligible for death benefit options calculated as if you had been working. Your beneficiary would receive one year's salary plus a refund of your member contributions plus interest.
Another benefit is that your original salary, not the disability benefit amount, is used to determine your final rate of earnings (FRE) and to calculate a retirement benefit. As a result, your retirement benefit will not be affected by the amount of your disability benefits.
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
You will be eligible for ECO disability benefits if
- You elect to receive ECO disability benefits instead of Regular disability benefits
- You are unable to reasonably perform the duties of office and no longer hold the office
- You are making ECO contributions at the time disability occurred
- Two licensed physicians approved by IMRF certify that you are permanently disabled
The following eligibility requirements apply to both Regular/SLEP and ECO disability benefits
- 12 consecutive months of service credit required
- Pre-existing exclusions may apply
- 30-day waiting period before benefits are payable
- Benefit payment is offset by Social Security and workers’ compensation
Disability Benefit Payments
If you are eligible for disability benefits, you may choose to receive benefits under the Regular plan or under the ECO plan.
Under the Regular Plan
The maximum benefit payable is 50% of last 12 months’ salary.
Under the ECO plan
Benefit payable is an amount equal to the pension earned to date.
- 3% of ECO monthly final rate of earnings for each of the first eight years of ECO service credit, plus
- 4% of ECO monthly final rate of earnings for each of the next four years of ECO service credit, plus
- 5% of ECO monthly final rate of earnings for each year of ECO service credit in excess of 12 years to a maximum of 80% at 20 years of service.
Why You May Not Be Eligible for Disability Benefits
Pre-existing Condition Investigation
Pre-existing condition investigations apply only to total and permanent disability benefits.
|If you become eligible for total and permanent disability benefits and have|
|Five or more years of service credit prior to the date of disability, and during that time you did not receive IMRF disability benefits||Your disability claim will not be investigated for a pre-existing condition.|
|Less than five years of IMRF service credit on the date of disability||Your disability claim will be investigated for a pre-existing condition.|
Duration of Benefits
IMRF disability benefits are not paid for the first 30 days of disability.
If you are approved for total and permanent disability benefits, assuming you remain disabled, you may receive IMRF total and permanent disability benefits until the later of the following:
- You reach full Social Security Retirement Age*, or
- The last day of the month which is five years after you became eligible for IMRF disability benefits.
*The age for Social Security full retirement benefits is increasing from age 65 beginning with individuals born in 1938. For details, refer to IMRF's Disability Benefits booklet, the Social Security web site, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
For complete information on IMRF disability benefits, please refer to the IMRF Disability Benefits booklet.
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. IMRF must receive a completed "Request for a Hearing" form within 63 days of the date of your denial letter. The form and additional information about the appeal process will be included with your letter.
The hearings are held in the IMRF Oak Brook offices. You can:
- Come to your hearing in person, with or without your attorney
- Have a representative or attorney attend for you
- Request a video conference from our Springfield office
- Request a telephone conference at your request
- Present a written appeal without attending in person
After your hearing the Benefit Review Committee will make a recommendation to the full IMRF Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision and IMRF will take no further action. If you disagree with this final decision, you can file an action for Administrative Review in the appropriate Circuit Court. You must file this action within 35 days of the date of the notice of the Board’s decision.