Last revised: January 2004
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Apply for an OPTrust Disability BenefitIf you can no longer
work due to a medical or physical condition, you may be eligible to receive
a disability benefit provided by the OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust). OPTrust
offers disability benefits for qualifying members who are totally and
This Fact Sheet contains valuable information about OPTrust’s disability
benefits and the application process for OPSEU Pension Plan members, and
answers some important questions.
Will I qualify for a disability benefit?
To qualify for a disability benefit under the OPSEU Pension Plan, you must
be totally and permanently physically or mentally disabled as certified by a
medical doctor licensed to practice under the laws of Ontario. To receive a
disability benefit, you must apply to OPTrust and satisfy the above
criteria. You must also resign from your current employment.
Depending on your total credit or membership in the Plan, you may be
eligible for either a disability
pension or a special disability refund.
What constitutes being totally and permanently disabled?
- If you have less than 10 years of pension credit and membership, you do
not qualify for a disability pension. You may receive a special disability
refund under the Plan, plus interest.
- If you have more than 10 years of pension credit or continuous membership,
you may be eligible for a disability pension calculated using the Plan’s
basic pension formula.
The OPSEU Pension Plan defines “a total and permanent disability” as a
physical or mental impairment that prevents a member from engaging in any
employment for which the member is reasonably suited by virtue of his or her
education, training or experience. To meet the definition, the disability
must be reasonably expected to last for the remainder of the individual’s
How do I apply for a disability benefit?
If you can no longer work due to a physical or mental disability, you can
apply to receive an OPTrust disability benefit. As part of the application
process you must complete the following forms:
Termination of plan membership is not required before a disability
application is made.
- Member’s Statement on Disability form (OPTrust 3001) – to be completed by
- Employer’s Statement on Disability form (OPTrust 3002) – to be completed
by your human resources representative
- Medical Examination Report form (OPTrust 3003) – to be completed by your
attending physician or specialist.
You can also obtain these forms through your human resources representative
or by contacting OPTrust.
What happens once my forms have been submitted?
Once your termination documentation and disability forms are received, your
application will follow a
Your disability forms are provided to OPTrust’s medical consultant for an
assessment. At this time OPTrust will provide you with a consent form, which
you must complete and return to our office. This form allows
OPTrust’s medical consultant to request information from your attending
physician or specialists in order to complete the assessment.
If you are applying for a disability pension and you are age 55 or older,
you may elect to receive an immediate reduced pension while the disability
benefit application is processed. The advantage to this is you will receive
some pension income during the application period. If the disability pension
is later approved, OPTrust will pay you a retroactive benefit for the
difference between the disability pension awarded and the immediate
(unreduced) pension you have already received.
Note: This option is not available if you are applying for a disability
A medical assessment is made and provided to OPTrust. OPTrust uses the
medical assessment to make a decision.
If OPTrust finds that you are totally and permanently disabled, your
application proceeds and the appropriate disability benefit (i.e. a pension
or a refund) is paid. If OPTrust finds you do not meet the criteria, you
will be informed in writing.
How much will I receive?
If you are approved to receive a disability pension, the amount payable to
you is calculated using OPTrust’s early retirement pension formula; that is,
the formula applicable before age 65. Your pension benefit is based on your
credit in the Plan up to the date of your termination.
Special disability refund
A “special disability refund” is a lump-sum payment based on your
contributions, plus interest.
As mentioned earlier, if you have less than 10 years of credit, and less
than 10 years of continuous membership in the Plan, and you are considered
totally and permanently disabled, you may be entitled – upon application and
termination of plan membership – to a special disability refund.
In addition to your disability benefit refund, you also receive the Plan’s
normal termination benefits once you terminate your membership, which
includes the commuted value of your total credit earned in the Plan up to
your termination date.
* Commuted value refers to the amount of an immediate lump-sum payment in
today’s dollars estimated to be equal in value to a future series of pension
payments.How long is a disability benefit payable?
If you are qualified to receive a disability pension, it is payable for your
lifetime, provided that you remain totally and permanently disabled. Should
your medical condition improve and you are able to return to work, your
disability pension payments would immediately cease. A special disability
refund is a one-time lump-sum payment.
Should I apply for Long Term Income Protection benefits instead of a
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may consider Long Term Income
Protection Plan (LTIP). You have the option to apply for LTIP benefits
before you apply for a disability pension. If you are approved to receive
LTIP benefits, you will receive 66 2/3% of your monthly earnings. This may
provide you with a higher income than you would receive from a disability
Also, when you receive LTIP benefits, your employer continues to make
pension contributions on your behalf and you continue to accrue more credit
in the OPSEU Pension Plan. However, LTIP benefits are reduced for any other
benefits you may be receiving, such as a CPP disability pension or benefits
from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. An OPTrust disability pension
is not reduced for any other benefits you may receive. You should consider
all these factors when deciding whether to apply for a disability pension or LTIP. You may wish to consider getting independent advice.
Will I receive insured benefits?
The Government of Ontario provides post-retirement health and dental
benefits to eligible OPTrust pensioners. You, your spouse and your eligible
dependent children may be entitled to insured benefits, if you meet one of
the following criteria:
i) you are receiving a pension based on at least 10 years of credit in the
OPSEU Pension Plan or its predecessor, the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP),
ii) you are receiving a pension based on at least 10 years of continuous
employment and have some credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan for at least some
part of each of those 10 years.
Insured benefits for eligible pensioners include dental, supplementary
health and hospital and basic life insurance coverage. The Government of
Ontario pays the premiums for these benefits. For pensioners who require
vision care and hearing aid plan coverage, there is a small premium, which
is deducted from the monthly pension payment.
The premiums for basic life insurance are paid by your former employer and
are a taxable benefit. For details on insured benefits, please refer to the
Management Board Secretariat publication: A Guide to Your Benefits – After
Retirement. This booklet is available from OPTrust.
If you qualify for post-retirement benefits, you will be eligible for
coverage when you start to collect your disability pension from OPTrust. If
you do not qualify for a disability pension, but receive a disability
refund, you won’t receive insured benefits.
Will my disability pension be protected against inflation?
Every January your disability pension is adjusted for the increase in the
cost of living. The adjustment is applied the year after you start to
receive your disability pension. The first adjustment is pro-rated for the
length of time you received a disability pension in the previous year. The
inflation adjustment reflects the increase in the cost of living in Canada
(as measured by the Consumer Price Index). It is calculated by dividing the
Consumer Price Index average for the two 12-month periods ending the
Any pension paid to an eligible survivor will also be increased annually for
What happens to my disability pension when I die?
If you die while you have an eligible spouse, your spouse receives a
survivor benefit. If you do not have any eligible survivors – that is, there
is no eligible spouse, child, or payment recipient – any funds that may be
payable from the OPSEU Pension Plan will be paid to your estate. For
pensioners who have been on pension for some years and have no survivor,
there is usually no monies owed to the estate or to payment recipients.
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