How Do I Qualify for Benefits Through the STRS?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: June 25th, 2015 | Categories: State Employee Disability (STRS, OPERS, PERS, OP&F)


The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) of Ohio is widely recognized as one of the leading retirement systems in the country. In addition to providing retirement security to its membership of public educators, the system provides disability benefits during your career. To qualify for disability benefits, you must suffer from a disabling illness or condition that prevents you from performing your most recent job duties. Your condition must be expected to last at least 12 months from the date STRS Ohio receives your completed Disability Benefit Application.

STRS Ohio members participating in the Defined Benefit Plan have two disability programs: disability allowance and disability retirement. Eligibility for either program is determined by the date your membership began. If your STRS Ohio membership began after July 29, 1992, you have protection under the disability allowance program. Those who became members on or before July 29, 1992, participate in either the disability allowance plan or the disability retirement program. Members of the Defined Contribution Plan are ineligible for disability benefits.

Eligibility Requirements for Disability Allowance Benefits

  • For existing members on June 30, 2013, you must have at least five years of qualifying service credit on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within two years of the last date of earned service. For new members on or after July 1, 2013, you must have at least ten years of qualifying service credit on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within one year of the last date of earned service.
  • You must not be receiving service retirement benefits.
  • You must have the most service credit with STRS Ohio (versus OPERS or SERS). If OPERS or SERS has the most service credit, contact the system with the most service credit for a disability application packet.

Eligibility Requirements for Disability Retirement Benefits

  • An STRS Ohio member who earned service credit before July 1, 2013, must have at least five years of qualifying service credit on account with STRS Ohio and submit a completed application packet within two years of the last date of earned service.
  • You must not be receiving service retirement benefits.
  • You must be younger than 60 when the disability application is filed.
  • You must stop teaching before reaching age 60.
  • You must have the most service credit with STRS Ohio (versus OPERS or SERS). If OPERS or SERS has the most service credit, contact the system with the most service credit for a disability application packet.

The application deadlines mentioned above do not apply if the State Teachers Retirement Board reviews your medical records and determines that you were physically or mentally incapacitated from your most recent job duties and unable to apply for disability.

How to Apply for Disability Benefits with STRS Ohio

Contact STRS Ohio and request a disability application packet, which includes the following:

  • Disability Benefit Application
  • Report by Employer for a Disability Benefit Applicant
  • Attending Physician’s Report
  • Disability Benefit Application Checklist
  • Questions and Answers Booklet

The assistance of an Ohio STRS disability attorney is highly recommended to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your application, therefore maximizing your chances of receiving benefits. Call Jones Law Group at (614) 545-9998 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.



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