Disability Retirement

Overview

Disability Retirement

Members who become “permanently incapacitated”—mentally or physically—from performing their jobs may be eligible for a disability retirement. Permanent incapacitation means the substantial inability to perform the usual duties of a job indefinitely. Members who are permanently incapacitated may be eligible to receive a service-connected or nonservice-connected disability retirement following an in-depth application process. If the Board of Retirement approves a member’s application, he/she will receive a lifetime retirement benefit.

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Nonservice-Connected Disability Retirement

A nonservice-connected disability (NSCD) is an incapacitating injury or illness that was not caused by employment. To be eligible for an NSCD, a member must have five or more years of eligible retirement service credit, regardless of age.

If granted by the Board, an NSCD retirement benefit will typically be up to one-third of the member’s final average compensation. (If you are eligible to retire and your regular service retirement would pay more than an NSCD retirement, applying for a regular service retirement would be more financially advantageous than applying for an NSCD retirement.)

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Service-Connected Disability Retirement

A service-connected disability (SCD) is an incapacitating injury or illness that was substantially caused by employment. There is no minimum age or service credit requirement to be eligible for an SCD.

If granted by the Board, an SCD retirement benefit will be equal to 50% of the member’s final average compensation and may have certain tax advantages. 

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Disability Reassignment

At the time of application for disability retirement, members may also apply for a disability reassignment to enable them to continue employment in a position compatible with any permanent work restrictions. Doing so would allow them to continue receiving employment benefits and earning retirement service credit until they are ready to retire for service.

If you believe that you may be able to perform duties of another position within your range of capabilities, and if you would like to work with the County or other VCERA employer to find a suitable position, you can elect the “Reassignment” option on your disability application. If your disability is granted and you accept a lower-paying position, VCERA will pay you a disability reassignment allowance that minimizes (or eliminates) the difference between your previous salary and your new salary. As an active member, retirement contributions and taxes would apply to your new earnings.

Safety members who are rehired in a non-safety position will retain their safety status. For additional information about disability reassignment, please contact VCERA.

Please consult VCERA prior to accepting another position with your employer before the Board of Retirement makes a determination on your disability application, as doing so may adversely impact your application.