Members with five or more years of service credit who become disabled while in Indiana teaching service may apply for a disability benefit. There are two types of disability benefit:
- Classroom Disability Benefit
- Disability Retirement Benefit
Classroom Disability Benefit
Classroom disability requires approval by the Fund Physician and benefits are $125.00 per month plus $5.00 for each year of service over five years. Re-examination is required, as specified, by the Fund Physician until age 65. The member must be out of service for a continuous period of six months without pay before disability will be paid and no teaching service may be rendered while receiving the benefit.
In the event of death, all lump sum death settlements and/or survivor benefits are reduced by any classroom disability benefits paid to the member before death. As long as a member receives the classroom disability benefit, the account will continue to be invested with the Fund under the same guidelines applicable to an annuity savings account.
If the member elects to transfer from the disability benefit to a retirement benefit, all contributions and interest in the account will be used to determine a monthly benefit amount or could be withdrawn at the time of transfer.
If a member dies before transferring to the retirement benefit, the total disability payment made to the member would be deducted from any lump sum death settlement. If a member dies after classroom disability has been transferred to a retirement benefit, no disability payments will be deducted from any lump sum death settlements.
If a member transfers from a classroom disability to a retirement benefit, no money for classroom disability will be deducted from the member's retirement benefit.
The Fund can send a member the following information on a Classroom Disability: (1) a rough estimate of retirement benefits that the member could receive were he/she to transfer to a disability or regular retirement as of a given date; and (2) an information sheet that explains the retirement benefits.
To be eligible for a Disability Retirement benefit, the member's disability must occur after June 30, 1984 and proof of the member's qualification for Social Security disability must be furnished to the Fund. The Disability Retirement benefit is computed the same as a regular retirement benefit without reduction for early retirement options. Effective January 1, 2008, the benefit may not be less than $180 per month.
Any member applying for a Social Security disability benefit, who also intends to apply for a Fund Disability Retirement benefit, should immediately complete a Fund Disability Retirement Application form and file this form with the Fund, even if the member has yet to receive an award letter from the Social Security Administration. A copy of the member's application to Social Security for a disability benefit should be attached to the Fund's Disability Retirement application form, but the member should never wait to file the Fund's Disability Retirement Application with the Fund until the Social Security award letter is received.
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY MUST BE EFFECTIVE BACK TO THE TIME THE MEMBER LEFT INDIANA TEACHING IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR A FUND DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFIT.
Confirming Social Security Eligibility
The Fund is required to confirm, at least once each year, that a member continues to remain eligible for Fund Disability Retirement benefits due to the member's continuing qualification for Social Security disability benefits.
Accordingly, the member must sign a Consent for Disclosure of Information form authorizing the Social Security Administration to release information to the Fund verifying the member's eligibility to receive Social Security disability benefits.
The ability of the Fund to continue a member's benefits without interruption will depend on the prompt return of the "Consent for Disclosure of Information" form, properly completed and signed by the member. A member's signed "Consent for Disclosure of Information" form should be returned to the Fund within 30 days of the date of the request letter from the Fund in order to prevent any interruption in Fund benefits.
A "Consent for Disclosure of Information" that is effective until revoked in writing by the member will authorize the Social Security Administration to confirm the member's disability to the Fund each year, as necessary, without the member having to sign a new form each year. This method is a more certain way of protecting against any interruption in Fund benefits.