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Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) > My Fund > Teachers > TRF Member Handbook: Disability Benefits TRF Member Handbook: Disability Benefits

If you become disabled while working in a TRF-covered position, you may qualify for a disability benefit. You must have at least five years of service with TRF.

There are two types of disability benefits for teachers:

Classroom Disability Benefit

If you are no longer able to teach in a classroom, you may qualify for classroom disability. This can be a mental or physical condition. Your condition does not need to be confirmed as a disability by the Social Security Administration.

If you qualify, you receive $125 per month. You also get an extra $5 for each year you worked in a TRF-covered position after five years. You will not earn more service credit while receiving this benefit.

You must be out of the classroom, due to your disability, for six months in a row. During this time you cannot be paid[1]. After that, you can start receiving your classroom disability benefit.

You must apply for classroom disability within one year of being told by a doctor you have a disability. We select a doctor to confirm your disability. Your case will then be reviewed each year until you are 65. Once you are 65, you can apply for a disability retirement.

If you pass away while you are receiving a classroom disability benefit, your beneficiary will receive less money. Before calculating the benefit for your beneficiary, the amount of money paid to you as a classroom disability will be deducted from your ASA. This will also happen if you go back to work but pass away before you can retire.

For additional information, refer to the “Death of a Member” section of this handbook.

Disability Retirement

You may qualify for a disability benefit. Your disability must be confirmed by the Social Security Administration. You must have at least five years of creditable service in a TRF- and/or PERF-covered position.

To get a disability benefit, your condition must develop while working in a TRF- or PERF-covered position. You also must be:

  • receiving disability insurance payments from your employer, or
  • receiving workers’ compensation.

You must show proof you qualify for a Social Security disability. You can apply for disability retirement while waiting to receive an award letter from the Social Security Administration. Just attach a copy of the application you sent to Social Security.

Note: The Social Security Administration will decide on an “onset date” for your disability. To qualify for a disability retirement benefit, your “onset date” must be during the time you worked in a TRF-covered position, on FMLA leave, were getting disability insurance payments from your employer. You can also qualify if on that date you were off on workers’ compensation.

We will check once a year to confirm your Social Security disability benefits. You can also let us know of changes by calling (888) 286-3544.

If you apply for disability benefits, the payment options are mostly the same. We also calculate your disability benefit the same way.

Here is the difference:

  1. you cannot choose the Social Security Integration option,
  2. generally, you will only get service credit for your work up to the “onset date” of your disability,
  3. your monthly benefit will not be reduced for early retirement, and
  4. we will not pay you any less than $180 each month.

You normally cannot change your payment options once you are receiving a disability benefit. It works the same for regular retirement. See the “Payment Options” section for details on when you can make changes.

You could be receiving a disability that will be switched to a regular retirement when your age and service requirements align with the benefits of a regular retirement. When your benefits transfer to a regular retirement, the annual disability confirmation will no longer be required. Your benefit will be recalculated to include this change.

Disability Alternatives[2]

Normally, you can withdraw money out of your Annuity Savings Account (ASA) when you are on disability. You do not have to wait to get a “disability determination” from the Social Security Administration. You can withdraw your ASA while waiting for your letter from Social Security.

To withdraw your ASA, you can log on to your member account here. You can also call us at (888) 286-3544.

[1] Being paid means getting a check while working for your employer. It does not include any checks you get more than 30 days after your last day of work. These checks could be for work, sick time, compensatory time, vacation, or time on leave.