Question 1:  Am I a failure for considering disability retirement?

No. You are just a normal person suffering from the cumulative effects of a high stress job.  Aside from suffering from physical ailments that can have a negative impact on his or her everyday life, the worker who is subjected to extraordinary stress has an increased potential for development of a primary psychiatric illness, including anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical injury with resultant chronic pain and disability.  All of these disorders are associated with a higher than average risk of suicide. Consequently, workers in these situations have more of a risk than the average person for the development of suicidal potential and death.”

McCafferty, F. et al., Stress and suicide in police officers: paradigm of occupational stress, Southern Medical Journal Vol. 85, No. 3, 1992)

Question 2: Is it common for public employees to seek disability retirement benefits?

Yes.  In Ohio, there are hundreds of disability retirement pension claims filed every month and thousands are filed every year.  Although injuries or stress can leave you feeling alone and scared, rest assured that you are not alone.  Large numbers of public employees share these same problems.  You have paid large sums of money into the pension system during your career—money that otherwise would have been in your pocket.  These payments were made to protect your future.  If you are injured, disabled, or otherwise no longer able to perform your job duties up to your own standards, then you have every right to pursue pension benefits.

Question 3:  Am I too young to apply for disability?

The average age when a person decides to take disability retirement is relatively low.  For instance, the average age at disability retirement for police officers is 45.6 years and for firefighters 48.1 years.  Age is not a primary factor when pursuing disability benefits.

(Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, Annual Report 2005)

Question 4:  Is it true that I can receive both disability pension and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time?

 

Yes.  Disability pension compensation is not considered income by the BWC when determining workers’ compensation benefits; therefore, the disabled retiree may qualify to receive disability pension and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time.

(Tax Code 1954 104A1-or105D, Tax Code 1843)

Question 5:  Can I work after disability?

Yes. However, each pension system has specific criteria associated with doing so.

Question 6:  How are fees calculated for your services?

Unlike others that charge either an hourly fee or take a percentage of your disability benefit, Disability Assistance charges a one-time flat fee.  This gives the worker peace of mind and ensures that costs for services are predictable and will not be excessive.  Once you retire, you want to enjoy your pension benefits and not be obligated to make continuing payments to your service provider.  Disability Assistance’s fee structure enables you to plan for your financial future without such continuing obligations.  Our fee is normally 50-75% less than what others would charge.  Credit card payments are accepted.