As used in this section, "qualifying service credit" has the same meaning as in section 3307.58 of the Revised Code.
(A) The state teachers retirement system shall provide disability coverage to each member participating in the STRS defined benefit plan who meets either of the following:
(1) If the member earned service credit before July 1, 2013, has at least five years of qualifying service credit;
(2) If the member did not earn any service credit before July 1, 2013, has at least ten years of qualifying service credit.
Not later than October 16, 1992, the state teachers retirement board shall give each person who is a member on July 29, 1992, the opportunity to elect disability coverage either under former section 3307.43 of the Revised Code or under former section 3307.431 of the Revised Code. The board shall mail notice of the election, accompanied by an explanation of the coverage under each of the Revised Code sections and a form on which the election is to be made, to each member at the member's last known address. The board shall also provide the explanation and form to any member on the member's request.
Regardless of whether the member actually receives notice of the right to make an election, a member who fails to file a valid election under this section shall be considered to have elected disability coverage under section 3307.63 of the Revised Code. To be valid, an election must be made on the form provided by the board, signed by the member, and filed with the board not later than one hundred eighty days after the date the notice was mailed, or, in the case of a form provided at the request of a member, a date specified by rule of the board. Once made, an election is irrevocable, but if the member ceases to be a member of the system, the election is void. If a person who makes an election under this section also makes an election under section 145.35 or 3309.39 of the Revised Code, the election made for the system that pays a disability benefit to that person shall govern the benefit.
Disability coverage shall be provided under section 3307.631 of the Revised Code for persons who become members after July 29, 1992, and for members who elect under this division to be covered under section 3307.631 of the Revised Code.
The board may adopt rules governing elections made under this division.
(B) Application for a disability benefit may be made by a member, by a person acting in the member's behalf, or by the member's employer and if the member has disability coverage under division (A) of this section.
The application for a disability benefit shall be made on a form approved by the board. The benefit payable to any member whose application is approved shall become effective on the first day of the month next following the later of the following:
(1) The last day for which compensation was paid;
(2) The attainment of eligibility for a disability benefit.
(C) Medical examination of the member shall be conducted by a competent, disinterested physician or physicians selected by the board to determine whether the member is mentally or physically incapacitated for the performance of duty by a disabling condition, either permanent or presumed to be permanent for twelve continuous months following the filing of an application. The disability must have occurred since last becoming a member, or it must have increased since last becoming a member to such an extent as to make the disability permanent or presumably permanent for twelve continuous months following the filing of an application.
(D) Application for a disability benefit must be made within a two-year period from the date the member's contributing service terminated, unless the board determines that the member's medical records demonstrate conclusively that at the time the period expired the member was physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to make application, except that if the member did not earn any service credit before July 1, 2013, application must be made within a one-year period from the date contributing service terminated. Application may not be made by any person receiving service retirement benefits under section 3307.58 or 3307.59 of the Revised Code or any person whose accumulated contributions standing to the credit of the person's individual account in the teachers' savings fund have been paid under section 3307.56 of the Revised Code.
(E) If the physician or physicians determine that the member qualifies for a disability benefit, the board concurs with the determination, and the member agrees to medical treatment as specified in division (G) of this section, the member shall receive a disability benefit under section 3307.63 or 3307.631 of the Revised Code. If such physician or physicians determine that the member does not qualify for a disability benefit, the report of the examiner or examiners shall be evaluated by a board of medical review composed of at least three physicians appointed by the retirement board.
(F) The state teachers retirement board shall render an order determining whether or not the applicant shall be granted a disability benefit. Notification to the applicant shall be issued, and upon the request of an applicant who is denied a disability benefit, a hearing or appeal relative to such order shall be conducted in accordance with procedures established by the retirement board.
(G) The state teachers retirement board shall adopt rules requiring each disability benefit recipient, as a condition of continuing to receive a disability benefit, to agree in writing to obtain any medical treatment recommended by the board's physician and submit medical reports regarding the treatment. If the board determines that a disability benefit recipient is not obtaining the medical treatment or the board does not receive a required medical report, the disability benefit shall be suspended until the treatment is obtained, the report is received by the board, or the board's physician certifies that the treatment is no longer helpful or advisable. Should the recipient's failure to obtain treatment or submit a medical report continue for one year, the recipient's right to the disability benefit shall be terminated as of the effective date of the original suspension.
(H) If an employer files an application for a disability benefit as a result of a member having been separated from service because the member is considered to be incapacitated for the performance of duty, and the board denies the disability benefit, the board shall so certify to the employer and the employer shall restore the member to the member's previous position and salary or to a similar position and salary.
(I) The recipient of a disability allowance under section 3307.631 of the Revised Code whose allowance terminates under division (C)(3) of that section due to age is not eligible to do either of the following:
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.147, SB 342, §1, eff. 1/7/2013.
Effective Date: 04-01-2001