If you cannot work because of a disability and it is expected to last one year or longer, you may apply for a monthly benefit from SDRS.
You are eligible for disability benefits after three years of consecutive contributory service. However, if you are accidentally disabled while performing the usual duties of your job, you are immediately eligible to apply for benefits. You must be a contributing member at the time you become disabled.
A disability is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which prevents you from performing the usual duties of your job. Your employer must also certify that it is unable to provide you with comparable level employment. You will not qualify for benefits under this plan if your disability is the result of a willful or self-inflicted injury.
Amount of Benefit
If you are approved for a disability retirement benefit, your benefit will be the greater of:
- 25 percent of your final average compensation at the time of disability; or
- Your unreduced accrued retirement benefit at the time of disability
Provided you remain disabled, the disability retirement benefit will be payable for your lifetime. SDRS disability retirement benefits receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment. If you recover from your disability, your benefit will terminate 30 days after your health care provider certifies that you are no longer disabled.
If you do not apply for disability benefits within three years of termination of your employment, you will forfeit your disability benefit.
While you are receiving SDRS disability benefits you are required to report any changes in your employment status to SDRS.
When You Reach Normal Retirement Age
When you reach age 65 (age 55 for Class B Public Safety), your disability retirement benefit will be considered your retirement benefit.
Disability Retirement brochure
Note: If SDRS received your disability application prior to July 1, 2015, your benefit structure is different than that described above. Please contact SDRS for further details.