Disability Application Processing - Big Picture

To help you understand the process and better guide your employees, we’ve outlined the eight steps of the disability application process. Beginning with the application and arriving at the Board’s decision takes time and can be complex. Seeing it step by step should clarify the process.

  1. Application Process (1-2 weeks)
    • Application received
    • Review for completeness/timeliness
    • Verify eligibility
    • Manager assigns to investigator
    • E to D transfers and late applications reviewed by legal counsel
    • Information input into Tracker database
    • Acknowledgment letter sent to member
  2. Investigative Process (receipt of records takes 1-4 months)
    • Investigator reviews case
    • Checks for possible subrogation (auto accidents, lawsuits, etc.)
    • Orders records
      • Physicians' reports
      • Workers’ Compensation records
      • Hospital records
      • Personnel records
      • Other: depositions, investigative reports, etc.
  3. Interview Process (no later than 4 months from date application assigned)
    • Applicant interviewed
    • Witnesses interviewed
  4. Case Preparation Process (1-2 weeks)
    • Investigator prepares Disability Retirement Evaluation Report
      • Administrative record
      • Medical records
      • Personnel records
      • Legal documentation
    • Case is reviewed by supervisor
    • Report goes to word processing for typing
  5. Medical Exam Process (2-3 months per doctor)
    • Medical exam scheduled
    • Letters of appointment sent to physician and applicant/attorney
    • Records sent by certified mail to physician
    • Physician’s report is received and reviewed (no later than 30 days from exam date)
    • Physician may be asked for a supplemental report to answer Panel Physicians Guidelines or clarify information
    • If physician finds applicant not disabled and there are multiple types of injuries/illnesses listed, schedule a medical exam with a specialist to address those conditions
    • A “cropped” medical report is added to the Disability Retirement Evaluation Report
  6. Staff Recommendation Prepared (response from department varies from days to months)
    • Contact department regarding accommodations for any work restrictions in the panel physician’s report; Involve CEO’s office or department management as necessary. NOTE: The application process cannot continue without a response from the department
    • Develop the staff recommendation based on the physician’s recommendation and the department’s ability to accommodate
    • Determine if eligible for retroactive benefits
  7. Case Prepared for Board (2-4 weeks)
    • Prepare Disability Retirement Evaluation Summary (cover page) and assign case number
    • Case is reviewed by supervisor, manager, and legal counsel (legal recommendation written if necessary)
    • Disability Retirement Applications agenda prepared
    • Cases delivered to board members (twice a month)
  8. Board Decision Process
    • Cases are reviewed and approved/denied by the Board of Retirement on the first Wednesday of each month. Occasionally, the board may have additional questions and return case to staff for more information
    • Employee and department are notified of board’s decision