Disability Retirement

Disability Retirement
If you are no longer able to work because of a serious illness or injury, you may qualify for a disability retirement benefit.
Contact Us

(800) 348-7298, Ext. 6010
communit@nystrs.org

The information below summarizes the rules for a disability retirement benefit. If you suffer a disability or are critically ill, promptly call NYSTRS at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6010 to discuss filing for disability retirement immediately.

Tiers 1 and 2

You must: a) have at least 10 years of New York State service (and, if you are a Tier 2 member, at least five years of the service must have occurred since last becoming a member), and b) be totally and permanently incapacitated from further teaching service, and c) cease teaching because of the disability.

Tiers 3-6

You must: a) have at least 10 years of NYS service (or five years, if you are a Tier 3 member eligible for Social Security disability benefits who is retiring under Tier 3), and b) be totally and permanently incapacitated from all further gainful employment, and c) file a disability application with NYSTRS within 12 months from the last date you were on the payroll (or, if you are placed on leave of absence without pay for medical reasons, no later than 12 months after the date your leave has been terminated).

Under Tiers 3-6, the service requirement is waived if the disability resulted from an accident sustained in the performance of your teaching duties.

For all tiers, a disability retirement benefit is generally one-third of your final average salary. However, the benefit may be more or less depending on your age and service credit.

For an estimate of your disability retirement benefit, please refer to your annual Benefit Profile or contact the System at (800) 348-7298, Ext. 6010. We will provide you with an estimate, as well as information and instructions on how to file for disability retirement.

Please Note: Before you can receive a disability benefit, NYSTRS' Medical and Retirement Board must review and approve your retirement.

If you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, or are having surgery or treatment for a medical condition, consider filing a disability retirement application. Doing so provides an important safety net for you and your beneficiaries.

Watch our video Filing for Disability Protection: What You Need to Know. Refer to the Benefits chapter of the Active Members' Handbook for specific filing instructions.

If your condition improves and the protection is no longer needed, you can rescind the application and return to active service. Or, if you decide to retire for disability, you will have 30 days to change your option following approval by NYSTRS' Medical Board.

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