(800) 270-1271

Missouri Department of Transportation & Missouri State Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System

(800) 270-1271

People insure their lives, health, homes, and other possessions; however, what about one of their most important assets….the ability to earn income? Disability insurance protects your earning ability by providing partial income replacement in the event you become disabled. 

How does disability insurance work? Do you have to pay for it yourself? How much of your income will be replaced?  These questions and more are answered in the frequently asked questions below.  

Appeals

If my application is denied by Standard, can I appeal the decision to the MPERS Board of Trustees?

No, you may not appeal the decision to the MPERS Board; however, you may request that Standard review the decision to deny your claim. A review will be conducted by someone other than the person who initially denied the claim.

Application Process

Do I apply for disability through MPERS or my employer?

To begin the disability benefits application process, you must complete the forms contained in the disability packet found on our website. The packet contains three components: 1) the employee’s statement for the employee to complete, 2) the employer’s statement for the employer to complete, and 3) the physician’s statement for the physician(s) to complete.

All forms must be sent directly to Standard. Once Standard receives all three components of the packet, they will begin their official review of the claim. A determination will be made within 45 days from the date the review began.

Disability Payments

How much does the disability benefit pay?

Long-term disability benefits pay 60% of pre-disability earnings reduced by deductible income. Deductible income includes other sources of income that you may be earning while disabled such as Social Security disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or work earnings.

Work-related disability benefits, which are benefits paid when it is determined that the disability arises out of or in the course of employment, pay the lesser of 70% of pre-disability earnings not reduced by deductible income or 90% of pre-disability earnings reduced by deductible income.

What happens to my disability payment when I reach normal retirement eligibility with MPERS?

Generally speaking, long-term disability benefits end when you become eligible for normal retirement. Work-related disability benefits can potentially continue beyond normal retirement eligibility. To ensure you are not without income, MPERS will send you a retirement packet approximately 120 days prior to your normal retirement eligibility date.

When do disability benefit payments begin?

Long-term disability benefits become payable 180 days after the employee’s date of disability (as determined by Standard) or the exhaustion of the employee’s sick leave, whichever is later.

Work-related disability benefits become payable once maximum medical improvement is attained under Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law or the exhaustion of the employee’s sick leave, whichever is later.

When do disability benefit payments end?

Assuming that the employee continues to meet Standard’s definition of disability, long-term disability benefits end when the employee reaches normal retirement eligibility or chooses to receive early (reduced) retirement benefits, whichever is earlier.

Assuming that the employee continues to meet Standard’s definition of disability, work-related disability benefits end when the employee chooses to receive early or normal retirement benefits or reaches age 65, whichever is earlier. If the employee was approved for work-related disability after the age of 60, work-related disability benefits can potentially continue beyond age 65.

Who actually pays me the disability benefit?

The Standard pays out the disability benefit. Any concerns regarding payments should be directed to Standard for resolution.

Death

What payments are made to my survivors if I pass away while on disability?

If you pass away while receiving disability benefits and have been continuously disabled for at least 180 days, Standard will pay a survivor benefit to your eligible survivor. This benefit is a lump sum equal to three times your monthly disability benefit, without reduction by deductible income.

If you are vested on your date of death, MPERS will also pay a surviving retirement benefit to your eligible survivor based on the retirement benefit that was accrued until your date of death. That benefit is subject to the laws governing survivor benefits under the retirement plan.

Employer Notification

When will MPERS notify my employer that I have applied for disability?

Your employer will be notified of your plans to apply for disability when you provide them with the employer statement that they are required to complete as part of the application process. Additionally, MPERS will provide the employer a notice when Standard either approves or denies the claim for disability benefits.

General Questions

Am I covered by disability insurance?

All active members of MoDOT, the Highway Patrol, and MPERS are covered by disability insurance.  Coverage begins on the first day of your benefit-eligible position. 

Also covered are participants of the Employee’s Cooperative Educational Training Program who meet the requirements of Personnel Policy 6500 of the MoDOT Personnel Policy Manual. 

I see TV commercials featuring a duck where people are discussing disability insurance. What are they selling?

That insurance company is selling short-term disability insurance. Your employer must engage with companies that offer those types of “employer-sponsored plans” and MPERS has no connection to those types of programs or companies. As noted above, the state considers your accrued sick leave to be your short-term disability program as it allows you to continue receiving pay while you are unable to come to work due to medical conditions, illness, or injury.

Is disability insurance provided directly from MPERS or does another entity provide it?

Any member of MPERS that becomes disabled on or after July 1, 2004, will be provided disability benefits through The Standard Insurance Company (Standard) as they are under contract with MPERS to provide such coverage. If you were disabled prior to July 1, 2004, and have questions about your disability plan, please call MPERS directly.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance provides partial income replacement if an employee becomes disabled.  It helps bridge the gap between their date of disability and the date they either recover or retire, whichever comes first.  

Long-Term Disability (LTD)

Where can I find out more about the long term disability program?

One of the best sources of information is our Disability Handbook which is located on our website. You may also contact one of our benefit specialists at (800) 270-1271.

Premium

Do I have to pay for disability insurance coverage?

If you are an active member of MPERS, your employer pays the premium for disability insurance.

What happens if I go on an unpaid leave of absence from work?

If you take an unpaid leave of absence and you wish to continue your coverage, you may do so for up to 24 months. You will be billed directly for the premiums.

Retirement

Do I earn service credit while I'm on disability?

Yes, anyone receiving disability benefits through Standard continues to accrue service credit towards the calculation of their future retirement benefit through MPERS. You will earn one month of retirement service credit for each month you receive disability benefits. Your retirement service credit stops accruing when you reach normal retirement eligibility.

What happens to my disability payment when I reach normal retirement eligibility with MPERS?

Generally speaking, long-term disability benefits end when you become eligible for normal retirement. Work-related disability benefits can potentially continue beyond normal retirement eligibility. To ensure you are not without income, MPERS will send you a retirement packet approximately 120 days prior to your normal retirement eligibility date.

Short-Term Disability

Is there such a thing as short-term disability?

While members may hear of such programs in the private sector, the granting of sick leave by the employer is considered a short-term disability program. In fact, if an employee is approved for disability, their entire balance of sick leave must be exhausted before they can receive disability benefit payments.

Taxes

Do I get a W2 form for my end-of-year tax filing?

Members that are on disability during a calendar year will receive a W2 form from Standard showing the amount of taxable income received from the program. If you have questions about that form, please contact the Standard at 800-368-1135.

Work-Related Disability (WRD)

What is Work-Related Disability?

If your disability arises out of or in the course of your employment and you complete the benefit waiting period, you may be eligible for a work-related disability benefit.