woman at desk

Disability Retirement Benefits

If you develop an illness or sustain an injury that prevents you from working in any gainful occupation, you may be eligible for PSRS disability benefits. The cause of your disability does not have to be work-related. 

Disability benefits are paid for life, as long as you meet ongoing medical and earned income requirements and do not exceed the limits on working after disability retirement.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible to receive PSRS disability retirement benefits, you must submit an Disability Retirement Application and meet the following requirements:

    • End all PSRS-covered employment
    • Have at least five years of PSRS-covered employment
    • Be under age 60
    • Become permanently disabled while working in PSRS-covered employment or within one year after, if the condition causing the disability began while you were employed
    • Be incapable of earning a livelihood in any gainful occupation. A gainful occupation is one that replaces not less than 75% of the average of your last three years of salary and is reasonably found in your geographical area as established by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Medical and Income Requirements

    Disability retirees under the age of 60 are required to provide documentation showing that they continue to meet eligibility requirements for disability benefits. If these requirements are not met, your benefits will be stopped.

    • Medical Certification: Until you reach age 60, you may be required to complete a Medical Certification of Disability Status form. If a medical certification shows that you may have recovered from your disability prior to age 60, PSRS may request a follow-up physical examination.
    • Annual Earned Income Verification: Until you reach age 60, you must also complete an annual Affidavit of Earned Income and, if you have earned income, submit income verification documents (W-2’s, pay stubs, etc.) to verify you did not exceed the earnings limit. The earnings limit used by PSRS is the substantial gainful activity limit for non-blind Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which is set by the Social Security Administration. The limit for 2022 is $16,200.
  • Applying for Disability
    • You must apply for disability retirement benefits. 
    • Please contact us as soon as you know the disability will result in the end of your employment.
    • You must provide medical records as part of the application process.

    When we receive your application, we contact your employer to verify your last day of covered employment. For this reason, you should inform your employer that you are filing for disability retirement, but that you won't know if it is approved until after you file.

    Need help filing for retirement? Contact us with questions or to set up a counseling session.

     

  • Working After Disability Retirement

    If you are thinking of going back to work while receiving PSRS disability benefits, it is important to understand how working after retirement can affect the payment of your disability benefits.

     The effect of work on your disability benefits depends primarily on whether you have reached age 60. 

    Before age 60, your disability benefits stop if:

    • You are employed in any capacity for a PSRS-covered employer.
    • You are employed in any type of non-PSRS-covered employment and have earnings in excess of the substantial gainful activity limit for non-blind Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which is set by the Social Security Administration.
    • You request a trial return to work. While you work on a trial basis, your disability benefits are put on hold. If you are unable to complete the trial, PSRS will request a medical examination to determine your disability status.

    At or after age 60:

    • Once you reach age 60, work limits apply to those working for PSRS-covered employers in any position, and to those working for third-party providers or as independent contractors in certificated positions while performing duties at PSRS-covered schools. Work in other types of positions will not affect the payment of your benefits.
    • The work limits vary depending on your employer and in some cases, whether the position in which you work as a retiree requires you to have an educator certificate issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). When reported by your employer as working after retirement, you will receive information from us regarding your limits. To learn more, visit Working After Retirement

    Disability retirees age 60 or older may work full-time for up to a total of two years at PSRS-covered employers that have declared a critical shortage of employees, without losing PSRS benefits.