2006 Changes to the Disability Retirement Process
On March 8, 2006, ERSGA notified state agencies on the Disability Retirement Application Process changes to be effective March 15, 2006. The changes consist of (1) the redesigned five-part Application for Disability Retirement which must be completed (all five parts) in order to be processed by ERSGA and (2) the requirement of an employing agency to place an employee making application for disability retirement with ERSGA in a leave status, either leave with pay or leave without pay. The latter is covered in Parts II and III of the application where the employee and the Human Resources Director separately certify that the employee is no longer working and that upon return to work, the application is void. The ERS Disability Retirement Application can be accessed by clicking . The PSERS Disability Retirement Application can be accessed by clicking .
Additionally, there were recent changes to the Disability Retirement Application Process that impact the process for the applicant, the employer and ERSGA. Information about these most recent changes were provided to state agencies on June 13, 2006, including a copy of Act 519, Georgia Laws 2006, effective July 1, 2006, which amends O.C.G.A.§47-2-123(b).
With the implementation of Act 519 effective July 1, 2006, the most challenging part of the process for the employer is the first forty-five (45) days following the employee’s notification to the employer that he/she is applying for disability retirement. During this 45 day period, the agency head or designee must interview the employee within the first ten (10) business days of receipt of the notification of application for disability retirement, then seek to find and to make a written offer of such alternative position to the employee which meets the requirements of the law during the remaining days of the 45 day period. Basically, Act 519 provides the following: (1) the member of ERSGA applying for disability retirement shall notify the employing agency and ERSGA; (2) the employing agency shall determine if an alternative position is available for such employee; (3) the alternative position must meet certain prescribed conditions and must be offered in writing with employee acceptance or appeal of the alternative employment; and (4) such employee who refuses to accept an offer of alternative employment shall not be eligible for a disability retirement.
Below is more information, as well as a copy of the Alternative Position Form to be used in the 45 day process:
For the employing agency, the first 45 days is critical to the process. Employers are encouraged to adopt procedures to facilitate these changes.