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Questions about Bill 124? Visit our News section and Bill 124 FAQs in both the working members and retired members sections.

Life’s unexpected events

At some point in your career, you may become disabled or ill and unable to work. We have several benefit options that may help you deal with some of life’s unexpected events.

If someone is contacting us on your behalf, you'll need to provide one of these two documents:

  • Power of Attorney for Property (if you cannot personally sign the application)
  • Written authorization (to release your personal information to a third party assisting with the application process)

Long-term income protection

Many teachers have long-term income protection (LTIP) agreements with their employers that provide coverage during a period of long-term disability (LTD). If you have such an agreement and become disabled, you'll continue to earn credit in the plan while you receive:

  • Sick pay or LTIP benefits through your employer
  • Payments for loss of earnings from the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)

In most cases, this applies even if you're on integrated sick leave or rehabilitative employment. 

If you began collecting LTIP through your employer as a result of a disability that occurred after August 31, 2001, your pension contributions are waived and your pensionable salary is adjusted automatically for inflation each subsequent school year at no cost to you. This helps you build the biggest pension possible during your time away from work.

If you're like most disabled members, you may find it best to stay on WSIB or LTIP benefits for as long as you can, especially if your employer continues to provide benefits such as health and life insurance. Carefully weigh your options before making any decisions.

Buying back credit

You only accumulate credit during a break in employment for health reasons if you're receiving WSIB loss of earnings payments, sick pay or LTIP benefits through an employer-sponsored program. If you have a break in employment where this is not the case, you can apply to buy back credit.

Contact us for more information.

Disability pensions

If you become disabled while employed in education, you may be eligible for a full or partial disability pension. To qualify, you must:

  • Have at least 10 qualifying years of service in the plan
  • Terminate employment in education and stop receiving any LTIP or WSIB loss of earnings benefits
  • Provide full and complete documentation of medical evidence that meets the requirements of the plan for a full or partial disability pension, as of the date you terminated employment
  • Be under age 65

If you're receiving a disability pension and return to work, you must notify us immediately.

Other benefit options

Instead of a disability pension, you may qualify for an immediate or deferred pension.

If you’re under age 50, you can choose either a deferred pension or you can transfer the commuted value of your pension to another locked-in retirement savings arrangement to collect as income when you reach retirement age. The option to transfer funds ends when you apply for a disability pension, providing your application is approved.

Keep in mind that pension benefits are payable only after you terminate employment and stop receiving LTIP benefits for a period of LTD. Make sure you understand your choices before making a decision.

Shortened life expectancy benefits

If you’re facing a life expectancy of less than two years, you have the option of withdrawing the commuted value of your pension any time before retirement without having to sever your employment relationship. The commuted value of your pension is the estimated lump sum you would need today to pay for your future pension. You can also leave your benefits in the plan and remain eligible for pre- and post-retirement death benefits.

Before applying for this benefit, we recommend contacting your employer and LTD carrier. Check with them to see if you'll continue to qualify for medical and LTD benefits if you withdraw your pension funds before retirement.

To receive a shortened life expectancy benefit, you must provide a statement from a doctor licensed in Canada, outlining the illness or physical disability that’s likely to shorten your life expectancy to less than two years. Your spouse would also need to consent to the withdrawal. Why? They’ll be forfeiting the right to survivor benefits if you choose this option.

Once you receive the benefit, no further entitlements are provided under the plan, even if you live longer than expected.

Are you retired? Please visit Facing a shortened life expectancy to learn about your options.

The value of shortened life expectancy benefits can vary greatly for working and retired members. If you’re close to retirement, contact us as soon as possible to better understand the implications of applying for this benefit before or after you retire.