16 CSR 10-5.020 Disability Retirement

Title 16—RETIREMENT SYSTEMS
Division 10—The Public School Retirement System of Missouri
Chapter 5—Retirement, Options and Benefits

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

16 CSR 10-5.020 Disability Retirement.  The Public School Retirement System is amending this rule.

PURPOSE: The Public School Retirement System (PSRS) is amending this rule regarding disability retirement provisions. The amendments reflect a few policy changes recently approved by the PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees including setting forth what constitutes "earning a livelihood" under Section 169.060 RSMo. for PSRS disability retirees. The amendment also includes provisions regarding a new verification of income process to be implemented by PSRS and provides for the use of multiple medical advisors in the application process. The amendment also updates language regarding working after retirement as it applies to disability retirees as a result of amendments to Section 169.560 RSMo. Finally, the amendment also removes unnecessary language, clarifies language regarding existing PSRS policies and practices, and reorders some provisions to provide for a more logical flow. 

(1) A member claiming disability retirement must file an [written] application for retirement with the board of trustees on a form provided by the board. [If a member, because of physical or mental disability, is unable to make application for disability retirement, the written application may be completed by a guardian or trustee designated by a court and the completed application shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the court order designating the guardian or trustee].

(2) The board of trustees shall designate [a] one or more medical advisers whose duties[y it] shall be to review and determine eligibility for all disability retirement [assign] applicants, including assigning physicians for [disability benefits to physicians for] examinations and reports[.], when necessary.  [(3)] The board of trustees shall pay the fees of the assigned examining physicians [ers] and shall pay the medical advisers a fee for each application. [(4)] The medical advisers shall report [to the board] on the findings of the examining physicians and the board of trustees or designated staff shall act on these findings.

(3)  The earliest date on which disability retirement may become effective is the first day of the calendar month following the calendar month in which the services of the member are terminated, or the first day of the month following the month in which the claim is approved, whichever is later; except that the earliest date on which disability retirement may become effective for a member retiring after receiving credit for a year of membership service shall be July 1, the first day of the school year following the termination of services.  Termination from employment covered by the retirement system prior to the effective date of disability retirement is required to be eligible for a disability retirement benefit.

(4) The first payment after approval shall include any benefits which have accrued between the date of disability and the date of the first payment, provided, however, that benefits shall not accrue for more than sixty (60) days prior to the date of filing the application.

(5) [The recipient of] Until the member receiving disability benefits reaches age 60, the member may be required to submit yearly Certification of Disability Status forms as completed by the member's physician or the member may be required to obtain [to] periodic examinations [until age sixty (60)] by physicians selected and paid by the board, provided there shall not be more than two (2) examinations in any year. [If the member fails to submit to a periodic examination or provide the board of trustees with a completed Certification of Disability Status form, the member's disability benefit shall be suspended until such certification of the member's continued disability is received by the board of trustees.

(6) The payment of the first disability benefits to a member shall be made not later than the calendar month immediately following the month in which the claim is approved. The first payment after approval shall include any benefits which have accrued between the date of disability and the date of the first payment, provided, however, that payment shall not be made for such time as the member is receiving any salary from an employer; and provided, that benefits shall not accrue for more than sixty (60) days prior to the date of filing application.

(7)] (6) Any member [person] who is receiving a disability retirement allowance from the retirement system and who has attained age sixty (60) may be employed in any capacity for, and receive income of any amount from, any employer except a school district included in the retirement system. [Notwithstanding any provision of section 169.560, RSMo, to the contrary, a] Any such member [person] may be employed in a district included in the retirement system [on either a temporary-substitute or part-time basis] without a discontinuance of the retirement allowance if such employment does not exceed [either] the limitations [on hours worked or limitation on compensation] set forth in section 169.560, RSMo, and 16 CSR 10-5.010(6). Pursuant to § 169.560 RSMo., the limitations apply to disability retirees over age 60 who are employed by a third party or as an independent contractor, if such disability retiree is performing work in a district included in the retirement system as a temporary or long-term substitute teacher or in any other position that would normally require that person to be duly certificated under the laws governing the certification of teachers in Missouri if such person was employed by the district.

[(8)] (7) Any [person] member who is receiving a disability retirement allowance from the retirement system and who has not attained age sixty (60) may not be employed in any capacity by a district included in the retirement system and continue to receive the disability retirement allowance. Any such person may not be employed in any capacity for any other employer, the compensation for which employment would constitute a livelihood, and continue to receive the disability retirement allowance. The board of trustees will determine that a member who is receiving a disability retirement allowance is earning a livelihood for any given year when the member earns more than twelve times the Substantial Gainful Activity monthly limit for non-blind Social Security Disability Insurance recipients for that year. Income is earned for purposes of this section when it is received as a result of wages, including bonuses, commissions or severance pay, or is net earnings from self-employment.  Investment income, pensions, capital gains, legal settlements or judgments, rental income that is not a part of self-employment (e.g., someone who is in the business of renting property), support or alimony payments, and inheritances are some examples of unearned income which would not count toward the earnings limit. [The executive director, and/or the board of trustees shall determine what constitutes a livelihood in such instance.] The recipient of disability retirement benefits who has not attained age sixty (60) shall [may] be required to submit an annual verification of income and may be required to submit tax returns, W-2 forms, pay[check] stubs, and other forms of documentation as evidence of continued eligibility for disability retirement. 

(8) If the member fails to provide the board of trustees with the completed Certification of Disability Status form or obtain a periodic examination as required by section (5), fails to provide the income verification as required by section (7), or earns a livelihood in excess of the limits set forth in section (7), the member's disability benefit shall be suspended until such certification of the member's continued disability can be made  or until the member reaches age sixty (60).

[(9) The surviving spouse and/or children of a deceased disability retiree shall have the same rights to benefits under sections 169.070 and 169.075, RSMo, as does the surviving spouse, children, or both, of a member who dies while teaching in a district included in the retirement system.

(10)] (9) A recipient of disability benefits may make a written request to the board of trustees to return to full-time or part-time employment on a trial basis. The written request shall include the proposed employer and the proposed start date of employment.  The written request shall then either be approved or denied by the board of trustees. If the request is approved, the recipient's disability benefit shall be placed on hold by the board of trustees for the duration of the trial period, which is not to exceed twelve (12) calendar months.  If the recipient is unable to complete his or her trial basis employment period, the recipient must provide written documentation to the board of trustees stating that he or she is not able to complete the trial period. The board of trustees may require the recipient to again submit to a periodic examination by physicians selected by the board of trustees, to determine if the recipient remains incapable of earning a livelihood in any occupation. If determined to still be incapable of earning a livelihood in any occupation, the recipient shall again be considered a disability retiree and receive a disability retirement benefit without resubmitting an Application for Disability Retirement; any contributions paid to the retirement system by the recipient and his or her employer during the incomplete trial basis employment period will be refunded to the employer, which shall then refund its employee for any employee-paid contributions. The recipient shall receive no additional service credit for the incomplete trial basis employment period.  If the recipient does successfully complete his or her trial basis employment, his or her disability retirement will be terminated and his or her membership status as of the date of the member's disability retirement shall be restored; any contributions paid by the recipient and his or her employer to the retirement system [by the recipient and his or her employer] during the trial basis employment period will be retained by the retirement system and applied to the member account as payment toward any disability benefits paid during the member's retirement. [, and t] The recipient will be granted service credit for the trial basis employment period.  In no event shall the recipient receive a benefit payment in the same calendar month in which the recipient either works for his or her trial basis employer or receives service credit.

(10) Upon the death of a disability retiree, his or her beneficiary is entitled to the same benefits as the beneficiary of a member who dies while employed in a district included in the retirement system as outlined under sections 169.070 and 169.075, RSMo.

AUTHORITY: section 169.020, RSMo Supp. 2012.* Original rule filed Dec. 19, 1975, effective Jan. 1, 1976. Amended: Filed Aug. 11, 1977, effective Nov. 15, 1977. Amended: Filed Aug. 14, 1989, effective Nov. 11, 1989. Amended: Filed April 13, 1994, effective Sept. 30, 1994. Amended: Filed July 31, 1995, effective Feb. 25, 1996. Amended: Filed Aug. 9, 1999, effective Feb. 29, 2000. Amended: Filed Sept. 1, 2005, effective Feb. 28, 2006. Amended: Filed Jan. 4, 2010, effective July 1, 2010. Amended: Filed Feb. 15, 2013, effective July 30, 2013. Amended: Filed May 20, 2020.

*Original authority: 169.020, RSMo 1945, amended 1951, 1953, 1967, 1973, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2009.

PUBLIC COST: This proposed amendment will not cost state agencies or political subdivisions more than five hundred dollars ($500) in the aggregate.

PRIVATE COST:  This proposed amendment will not cost private entities more than five hundred dollars ($500) in the aggregate.

NOTICE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS:  Anyone may file a statement in support of or in opposition to this proposed amendment with the Public School Retirement System of Missouri, attn: General Counsel, at P.O. Box 268, Jefferson City, MO  65102.  To be considered, comments must be received within thirty (30) days after publication of this notice in the Missouri Register.  No public hearing is scheduled.