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. As long as you're receiving WSIB loss of earnings benefits or benefits under a valid LTIP agreement with your employer, your credit can grow seamlessly until you start your pension.
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 absence 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 such absences.
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 long-term income protection (LTIP) benefits for a period of long-term disability (LTD). Make sure you understand your choices before making a decision.
Shortened life expectancy benefits
If you have a shortened life expectancy, you can apply to withdraw 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 lump sum you would need today to replace your future pension.
To qualify for shortened life expectancy benefits, you must provide complete medical evidence, from a doctor licensed in Canada, of a life expectancy of less than two years. Your spouse would also need to provide permission because he or she will be forfeiting the right to survivor benefits if you choose this option.
Before applying for this benefit, check with your employer and long-term disability carrier to ensure you'll continue to qualify for medical and long-term disability benefits if you withdraw your pension funds early.