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- Alaska Statutes.
- Title 14. Education, Libraries, and Museums
- Chapter 25. Teachers' Retirement
- Section 485. Occupational Disability Benefits and Reemployment of Disabled Members.
previous: Section 480
. Medical Benefits.
next: Section 486
. Disability Benefit Adjustment.
AS 14.25.485. Occupational Disability Benefits and Reemployment of Disabled Members.
- (a) A member is eligible for an occupational disability benefit if employment is terminated because of a total
and apparently permanent occupational disability before the member's normal retirement date.
- (b) The occupational disability benefits accrue beginning the first day of the month following termination of
employment as a result of the disability and are payable the last day of the month. If a final determination granting the benefit is
not made in time to pay the benefit when due, a retroactive payment shall be made to cover the period of deferment. The last payment
shall be for the first month in which the disabled member
- (1) dies;
- (2) recovers from the disability;
- (3) fails to meet the requirements under (f), (h), or (k) of this section; or
- (4) reaches normal retirement age.
- (c) If the disabled member becomes ineligible to receive occupational disability benefits before the normal
retirement date, the disabled member shall then be entitled to receive retirement benefits if the member would have been eligible for
the benefit had employment continued during the period of disability. The period of disability constitutes membership service in regard
to determining eligibility for retirement.
- (d) The monthly amount of an occupational disability benefit is 40 percent of the disabled member's gross
monthly compensation at the time of termination due to disability. Notwithstanding AS 14.25.390 (b), at the time a member is appointed to disability, the member
becomes fully vested in the employer contributions made under AS 14.25.350 (a). A disabled member is fully vested in the contributions to
the member's individual account made under this subsection. A member is not entitled to elect distributions from the member's individual
contribution account under AS 114.25.410 while the member is receiving disability benefits under this
section. While a member is receiving disability benefits, based on the disabled member's gross monthly compensation at the time of
termination due to disability, the employer shall make contributions to the
- (1) member's individual account under AS 14.25.340 on behalf of the member, without deduction from the member's
disability payments; and
- (2) appropriate accounts and funds on behalf of the member under AS 14.25.350.
- (e) A member is not entitled to an occupational disability benefit unless the member files an application for an
occupational disability benefit with the administrator within 90 days after the date of terminating employment. If the member is unable
to meet a filing requirement of this subsection, the filing requirement may be waived by the administrator if there are extraordinary
circumstances that resulted in the member's inability to meet the filing requirement.
- (f) A disabled member receiving an occupational disability benefit shall undergo a medical examination as often
as the administrator considers advisable, but not more frequently than once each year. The administrator shall determine the place of
the examination and engage the physician or physicians. If, in the judgment of the administrator, the examination indicates that the
disabled member is no longer incapacitated because of a total and apparently permanent occupational disability, the administrator may
not issue further disability benefits to the member.
- (g) A disabled member's occupational disability benefit terminates the last day of the month in which the
disabled member first qualifies for normal retirement. At that time, the member's retirement benefit shall be determined under the
provisions of AS 14.25.420 - 14.25.440, 14.25.470, and 14.25.480. A member whose occupational disability benefit terminates under
this subsection shall be considered to have retired directly from the plan.
- (h) A member appointed to disability benefits shall apply to the division of vocational rehabilitation of the
Department of Labor and Workforce Development within 30 days after the date disability benefits commence. The member shall be enrolled
in a rehabilitation program if the member meets the eligibility requirements of the division of vocational rehabilitation. Unless the
member demonstrates cause, benefits shall terminate at the end of the first month in which a disabled member
- (1) fails to report to the division of vocational rehabilitation;
- (2) is certified by the division of vocational rehabilitation as failing to cooperate in a vocational rehabilitation
- (3) fails to interview for a job; or
- (4) fails to accept a position offered.
- (i) Upon the death of a disabled member who is receiving or is entitled to receive an occupational disability
benefit, the administrator shall pay the surviving spouse a surviving spouse's pension, equal to 40 percent of the member's monthly
compensation at the time of termination of employment because of occupational disability. If there is no surviving spouse, the
administrator shall pay the survivor's pension in equal parts to the dependent children of the member. While the monthly survivor's
pension is being paid, the survivor is not entitled to elect distributions from the member's individual contribution account under AS 14.25.410 . The first payment of the surviving spouse's pension or of a
dependent child's pension shall accrue from the first day of the month following the member's death and is payable the last day of the
month. The last payment shall be made the last day of the last month in which there is an eligible surviving spouse or dependent child,
or the last day of the month in which the member would have first qualified for normal retirement if the member had survived, whichever
day is sooner. A retirement benefit shall be determined under the provisions of AS 14.25.420 - 14.25.440, 14.25.470, and 14.25.480 based on the date the member would have first qualified for
normal retirement if the member had survived. In addition to the payment of the member's individual account, the surviving spouse or,
if there is no surviving spouse, the surviving dependent children of the member, shall receive an additional benefit in an amount equal
to the accumulated contributions that would have been made to the deceased member's individual account under AS 14.25.340 (a) and 14.25.350(a), based on the deceased member's gross monthly compensation
at the time of occupational disability, from the time of the member's death to the date the member would have first qualified for normal
retirement if the member had survived. Earnings shall be allocated to the additional benefit calculated under this subsection based on
the actual rate of return, net of expenses, of the trust account established under AS 14.25.350 (e) over the period that the contributions would have been made.
This additional amount and allocated earnings shall be paid in the same manner as determined for the member's individual account under AS 14.25.420 - 14.25.460 to the extent permitted by the Internal Revenue
Service. For the purpose of determining eligibility of a survivor who is receiving a benefit under this subsection for medical benefits
under AS 14.25.470 and 14.25.480, a member who died while receiving disability benefits shall be
considered to have retired directly from the plan on the date the member would have first qualified for normal retirement if the member
had survived. The period during which the member was eligible for a disability benefit and the period during which a survivor's pension
is paid to a survivor under this subsection each constitute membership service for the purposes of determining eligibility for medical
benefits under AS 14.25.310 - 14.25.590 and AS 39.30.300 - 39.30.495.
- (j) While a survivor under (i) of this section is receiving a survivor's pension, the employer of the deceased
member shall make contributions with respect to the survivor based on the deceased member's gross monthly compensation at the time of
termination due to disability
- (1) that would have been paid to the member's individual account under AS 14.25.340 and 14.25.350(a) to the trust account established under AS 14.25.350 (e), without deduction from the survivor's pension; and
- (2) to the appropriate accounts and funds under AS 14.25.350 (b) - (e).
- (k) In this section, "occupational disability" means a physical or mental condition that the administrator
determines presumably permanently prevents an employee from satisfactorily performing the employee's usual duties or the duties of
another comparable position or job available to the employee and for which the employee is qualified by training or education; however,
the proximate cause of the condition must be a bodily injury sustained, or a hazard undergone, while in the performance and within the
scope of the employee's duties and not the proximate result of the wilful negligence of the employee.
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