Every month the Medical Examining Board will issue decisions on behalf of the Retirement Services Division and State Employees Retirement Commission. They will release a list of Connecticut State Employees who are applying for State Disability Retirement benefits. A typical decision will grant or deny a Connecticut worker disability benefits.

The Connecticut state retirement summary plan description and C.G.S. § 5-169 provide the definition of disability.

Definition of Disability

At first, disabled means you are permanently unable to perform the duties of your job. After you have received disability benefits for 24 months, you are considered disabled only if you are totally unable to work at any suitable and comparable job. Your disability may be service-connected or non-service connected.

Time Periods Filing Your Claim

The time period for filing an application for disability retirement benefits or petition for service-connected disability retirement shall begin on the day after the applicant’s last day of paid employment by the State of Connecticut and shall end at close of business on the date that is twenty-four months after the applicant’s last day of paid employment. Regs. Conn. State Agencies § 5-155a-2(d).

If you miss that two-year filing window, The Commission, in its sole discretion and after hearing held by it, may allow equitable tolling of any of the time periods set out in this regulation and thus extend the time period for filing a claim. In order to equitably toll all or a portion of said time period, a petitioner shall show that extraordinary circumstances prevented him or her from filing his or her petition within the specified time period. Regs. Conn. State Agencies § 5-155a-2(i).

Waiver of Overpayment

Sec. 5-156c. Erroneous payments; adjustment; waiver of repayment; regulations.

(a) Should any change or error in records result in any member or beneficiary receiving from any retirement system administered by the State Employees Retirement Commission more or less than he would have been entitled to receive had the records been correct, then upon discovery of any such error the Retirement Commission shall notify the member or beneficiary affected and correct the same, and as far as practicable shall adjust the payments in such manner that the actuarial equivalent of the benefit to which such member or beneficiary was correctly entitled shall be paid, provided if such change or error results in any member or beneficiary receiving less than he would have been eligible to receive, such member or beneficiary may elect to have such benefit paid in a single payment.
(b) If a member or beneficiary has been overpaid through no fault of his own, and he could not reasonably have been expected to detect the error, the Retirement Commission may waive any repayment which it believes would cause hardship.
(c) The Retirement Commission shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 establishing criteria for the waiver of repayment.

Special Provision for Correction Officers Only

Sec. 18-101e. Calculation of disability retirement income for correction officers upon designation of extraordinary circumstances. (a) Whenever a correction officer who is a member of a state employee organization and a member of the state employees retirement system, as a result of a special hazard inherent in the duties of a correction officer, becomes (1) permanently disabled or permanently unable to render service as a correction officer, and (2) permanently unable to engage in other suitable, comparable employment, the state employee organization representing such member may, but is not required to, petition the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management on behalf of such member for a designation of extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of calculating such member’s disability retirement income.

(b) If such petition is granted by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or a designee, or as a result of an arbitration conducted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the Department of Correction shall (1) elevate such correction officer to the highest pay grade in the member’s bargaining unit, effective not later than the member’s last day of active state service, and (2) prepare an application for disability retirement benefits under the state employees retirement system that reflects the salary of such highest pay grade. The Retirement Commission shall use the salary of such highest pay grade in determining such member’s disability retirement income in accordance with the provisions of chapter 66.

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