The disability benefit is reduced dollar for dollar based on Social Security benefits you may receive, including disability and retirement income. The offset does not include family benefits going to children. Following are considerations if you are disabled:
- Once you are approved for disability benefits, you must initiate Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you have participated in Social Security.
- The Board partners with Allsup Inc., a disability financial service, to assist with the SSDI application at no charge to you.
- If you have opted out of Social Security, and so are not eligible for SSDI, the disability benefit will be offset by an estimate of what would have been received without an opt-out — but only if the disability would have qualified for SSDI.
- You are not required to initiate your Social Security retirement benefit until you reach full retirement age, as determined by the U.S. Social Security Administration.
- If you are still receiving plan benefits when you reach full retirement age, the Social Security retirement benefit will offset the Benefits Plan payment.
- If you have opted out of Social Security, the estimated Social Security retirement benefit you would have received upon reaching full retirement age will offset the plan payment.
Once approved, disability benefits are intended to ensure continuous income protection. You are advised to apply first to the Board for benefits because Social Security estimates its approval process can be lengthy. Disability payments from the Board will include the amount of the SSDI benefit you are expected to receive until federal payments begin, after which the Benefits Plan payments will be offset by the Social Security payments.
If the first Social Security payment includes a lump-sum reimbursement for retroactive SSDI payments, you must immediately reimburse the Board for the amount it advanced on Social Security’s behalf.