Law enforcement and firefighters play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. They protect us from crime, help keep roads and highways safe, and respond to emergencies. But when it comes to disability, they need to be particularly aware of the laws in place in accordance with the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund.
Who is Eligible?
Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) members who can no longer perform their duty due to a disability, or a combination of disabilities, may be eligible for disability benefits. While the condition may or may not be related to their job, it must be permanent and not temporary. These grants can either be service-incurred (on-duty) or non-service incurred (off-duty), and these two categories have different eligibility requirements and benefit formulas.
Additionally, to be eligible for disability benefits from the OP&F, a member must either be making contributions or have kept their contributions on deposit. They must also submit their application within one year of last earning a regular salary, compensation, or earnings through work or accumulated time. Failing to do so will result in an automatic denial of the application.
It is not necessary to terminate employment before filing for disability benefits. Additionally, unlike sick leave or workers’ compensation benefits that are designed to provide income support during temporary disability, OP&F’s disability benefits are meant for permanent disabilities.
Applying for OP&F Disability
To apply for disability benefits from the OP&F, you must submit a completed Disability Benefits Application. You must also provide copies of documents, including injury reports and current and past medical evaluations.
There will then be two evaluations — one with an independent medical assessor appointed by the OP&F and a vocational evaluation. Following these examinations, the Disability Evaluation Panel will meet to discuss an applicant’s submission. The panel will determine if disability should be awarded and how much or deny an application.
If You Were Denied Disability Benefits, You Have the Right to Appeal
It is not uncommon for disability benefits to be denied to law enforcement and firefighters. That is why an appeal process is in place, and you shouldn’t fight your appeal alone. Our experienced Ohio Police & Fire disability attorneys at Zamora & Hogan Co., L.P.A. have a long track record of helping clients win their claims and appeals. We understand the complexities of OP&F rules and will work tirelessly to get you a positive outcome. With Zamora & Hogan Co., L.P.A. on your side, you can feel confident that you have an experienced team advocating for your rights. Contact us online or by phone to schedule a free consultation. (614) 344-6822