Tier 1 Occupational Disability Benefits

Occupational disability benefits are paid if you are unable to work due to a work-related illness or injury. In order to receive occupational disability benefits from SERS you must:

  • File a claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission, the Risk Management Division of your agency, or the Department of Central Management Services to determine if your disability is work-related.
  • Complete and submit an application packet for occupational disability benefits to SERS.  

Applying for Benefits

You must apply in order to receive benefits. It is important to file an application for occupational disability benefits with SERS as soon as you are removed from your agency payroll. The application process requires you to obtain a medical report from an acceptable licensed health care professional certifying you are unable to perform in your position. You must also sign a release form giving SERS access to your medical records.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If your claim is denied, or you question the payment of any benefit, you or your representative may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

When Payments Begin & End

Occupational Disability Benefits Begin When:
  • SERS determines you are disabled.
  • You receive benefits under the Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act.
  • You are removed from your agency payroll.
Occupational Disability Benefits End When:
  • Your disability ends.
  • You resume employment.
  • You reach age 65. (If your disability begins after age 60, benefits are payable for 5 years).
  • Workers' Compensation TTD payments end.

If your disability benefit is terminated because of age, or the five-year limit, you are eligible for a retirement benefit.

Benefit Amount

Your disability benefit equals 75% of your salary rate or your average final compensation (FAC), whichever is higher. Your FAC is the highest 48 consecutive months of service within the last 120 months of service.  

Service Credit

While you receive disability benefits, your SERS account will continue to be credited with service and contributions as if you were working.

Benefit Increases

Each nonoccupational disability benefit paid by SERS is increased 7% on January 1 after four years of being granted the benefit. On each January 1 following the date of the 7% increase, there is a 3% benefit increase based on the net amount of your benefit.