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FAQs - Disablility Retirement Benefits

Disability retirement benefits provide valuable protection for participants who suffer serious injury or illness that permanently incapacitates them from performing their job. The following questions and answers are related to the disability retirement benefits available to participants of the County’s Retirement and Pension System. Please note that this provides general information; the complete disability retirement provisions are contained in Article 5 of the County Code. For more information on disability retirement, contact the Benefits Office at (410) 222-7400.
Q. What is disability retirement?
A. Disability retirement is a benefit of Anne Arundel County Government, which, after meeting certain threshold requirements, an employee can collect a portion of his or her salary if an illness or injury, prevents him or her from continuing work in a County job.  Regular retirement provides retirement benefit payments if you reach certain service and/or age requirements, whereas disability retirement allows you to receive benefit payments if you become disabled, even if you haven’t yet reach retirement age or have enough service to qualify for normal retirement. There are two types of disability retirement available to participants of the County Retirement and Pension System:
  1. Service-Connected Disability Retirement is available if you become disabled die to a work related occupational illness or accidental injury which prevents you from working.
  2. Non-Service Connected Disability Retirement is available if you have a severe medical condition, not work-related, that prevents you from working.
Q. What qualifications do I have to meet to apply for disability retirement?
A. Your disability cannot result from or consist of:
  1. The participant currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs or narcotics
  2. A willful effort on the participant’s part to bring about injury or illness to the participant or another person, while the participant is sane or insane.
  3. The participant engaging in any illegal or criminal enterprise or activity
  4. Injuries incurred on the job while under the influence of alcohol
  5. Injuries incurred as a result of military service
Q. How do I apply for disability retirement?
A. You must submit a notarized Disability Retirement Application to the Office of Personnel prior to your separation from County service.
Q. How and when will I be notified if I am approved for a disability retirement?
A. The Personnel Officer will notify you by letter if your disability retirement has been approved or denied.  Since decisions are made on a case-by-case basis the time it takes for your decision to be finalized may vary depending on your specific circumstances.  If you are denied a disability retirement in a final decision by the Personnel Officer you can them appeal to the County Board of Appeals or request arbitration to resolve your case.
Q. What is a Service-connected Disability Retirement and how do I qualify?
A. Service-connected Disability Retirement may be granted if you sustained a work-related illness or injury, which prevents you from performing your regular job.  Your illness or injury must be compensable under the State Workers’ Compensation Law and you must have a claim filed with the State Worker’s Compensation Commission.  The County may require you to be examined by a physician to determine if your medical condition resulted from the performance of your regular occupation, whether you are totally and permanently disabled and that you are unable to continue performing the duties of your job or another job with the County (Employees’ Plan members) or with your department (Public Safety Plan members).  Please note that if you elect to receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in lieu of receiving pay from the County during any absence fro employment due to a work-related illness or accident and you do not make required employee contributions to the retirement plan, you will be required to repay contributions not paid to the plan if you are approved for disability retirement.
Q. What is a Non-Service Disability Retirement and how do I qualify?
A.  Non-Service Connected Disability Retirement may be granted if you are unable to perform the duties of your job or another job within the County (Employees’ Plan members) or within your department (Public Safety Plan members) because of a serious medical condition or illness that is not work-related. Employees Plan members must be approved for Social Security benefits prior to being approved for non-service connected disability retirement. The County may require you to be examined by a physician to determine if your medical condition prevents you from working in any County position. Additionally, you may be required to provide medical verification from your physician.
Q. If I've exhausted all of my sick and annual leave, can I go on leave without pay (LWOP) pending approval of my disability retirement?
A. A decision to grant LWOP is left to the discretion of the Appointing Authority. LWOP may be approved for up sixty days upon the approval of the Appointing Authority and the Personnel Officer. Your physician may have to provide a written response to questions in conjunction with absences which fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act and disability retirement. You should contact the County’s Fitness For Duty Coordinator at (410) 222-7595 if you have questions about leave of absences. Leave without pay is governed by Article 6, §1-304 of the County Code.
Q. Is it possible to be terminated as the result of sickness or injury?
A. Yes. If you are unable to perform the duties of your job, the County may terminate your employment under §808(a) of the County Charter. In this case you should contact the Benefits Office immediately to file a disability retirement application prior to your termination date. In some cases, if you have not received a final decision of your request for a disability retirement before your employment is terminated under 808(a), you will receive a final decision from the Personnel Officer after your separation from County employment. 
Q. If I work after I am granted a disability retirement are my earnings from other employment limited?  
A. If you are granted a disability retirement, you may be subject to an earnings limitation. Your monthly pension is subject to an adjustment or suspension if your annual pension benefit received during a calendar year when added together with employment earnings, if any, exceeds the current salary of a similarly classified position from which you retired. However, any offset will not be greater than your annual pension amount. You will be required to report employment earnings to the County annually and failure to do so may result in cessation of your retirement benefits. Prior to returning to work you should contact the Benefits Office to discuss any impact to your retirement benefits.
Q. How can I find out more information about disability retirement?
A. Contact a staff member in the Office of Personnel Benefits Office at (410) 222-7400 to discuss your specific circumstances or to request a disability retirement application.
 
 

 

  

 

 

    
Page last published:May 23, 2013 10:54 AM

 


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