The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), provides a basic level of financial support for local and state government officials who become disabled. These benefits are provided to people who become injured or ill before they turn 62 and can no longer perform their public sector jobs. Many workers become confused over the process of seeking these benefits. Understanding the qualifications will help disabled workers get the help they deserve.
What Are the Participation Rules?
As with all governmental benefits, there are participation rules and deadlines that apply to all workers. Unfortunately, some people are unfairly denied. When a worker receives a denial, they need to contact the top opers disability attorneys right away. If OPERS disability coverage is the primary coverage for the worker, they must meet the following general requirements for eligibility.
- The worker must have made five years of uninterrupted payments into their OPERS account.
- Their final OPERS contribution must have been made within two years of becoming disabled.
- The worker cannot be receiving any other OPERS benefits at the time of disability.
It is important to note that some additional regulations may apply to law enforcement officers who have been injured on active duty. Other rules may also apply to workers who have health issues that prevent them from meeting the two-year post-employment deadline.
What Disabilities Qualify for Benefits?
Workers need to realize disabling injuries and illnesses do not necessarily have to be work-related to qualify for OPERS. Individuals will simply need to have their physician fill out the Report of Physician form, detailing why they are no longer able to work. The form includes a long checklist of all the physical tasks a person can no longer perform, including the following.
- Reaching overhead or straight out
Any disabilities must persist for at least twelve months to qualify for OPERS. The information provided by the worker’s physician will go through validation by an OPERS physician and occupational therapist.
Anyone applying for OPERS will learn their disability benefits are subject to reconsideration or even cancellation. The common reasons a person loses their benefits are improved health and the ability to return to work or a failure to comply with plans for rehabilitation or treatment.
What Happens With Denials?
Public employees in Ohio who suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from working have the right to receive OPERS benefits. When an application is denied, people have the liberty to seek an appeal.
Sometimes, the battle for pursuing fair OPERS benefits can become lengthy. It is especially arduous when workers try to go through the process without legal intervention.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment With a Lawyer
Those who have questions about OPERS benefits and want assistance with the application process or have been denied should call to schedule a consultation appointment with a lawyer. Disability lawyers often offer free consultation appointments. A lawyer will work to ensure their client receives the benefits they are qualified to receive.
Lawyers become advocates for their injured clients. A lawyer will fight for the rights of the injured worker and protect them every step of the way.
There is no need for fighting an OPERS claim denial alone. Getting legal help from the very beginning will ensure a better chance of getting approval. Even after a denial, individuals still have the right to further pursue the matter.