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Richmond, VA 23219

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Applying for Disability Retirement

Retirement Date and Monthly Benefit Payments

Disability retirement is effective on the first of the month. Your monthly benefit will begin following a bona fide break in service of at least one full calendar month from your retirement date over a period you normally would work.

Forms and Documents

Read the directions on all forms carefully and provide all signatures and required documents. If you need help applying for disability retirement, your human resource office, a family member or an individual authorized to act on your behalf, such as an agent named under a power of attorney or a legal guardian, may be able to assist you. For more information, call VRS toll-free at 1-888-VARETIR (1-888-827-3847). Read more about authorizing others to access your VRS accounts.

Your application must include:

  • Application for Disability Retirement (VRS-6). If you are married or separated, your spouse must complete the spouse certification section and sign on or after the date you sign the application. Your employer also must certify and sign your application and include a copy of your job description.

  • If you are not eligible for a full Social Security retirement benefit, documentation that you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, such as a copy of the Receipt of Application, decision letter or online confirmation

  • If you are applying for work-related disability retirement, copy of the letter from the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission approving your claim or copy of your workers' compensation award letter as well as an accident report, if applicable

  • Explanation of Disability (VRS-6A)

  • Physician's Report (VRS-6B). Each doctor you list on the Explanation of Disability (VRS-6A) must complete this form and attach all relevant objective medical evidence.

  • Employer Information for Disability Application (VRS-6D)

  • Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2)

  • Request for Income Tax Withholding (VRS-15). Submit this form if you are applying for non-work related disability retirement. If you are applying for work-related disability retirement, you will be asked to submit this form if you will be receiving the formula amount. This form is not required if you will be receiving the work-related guaranteed benefit; this benefit is tax exempt.

  • Authorization for Direct Deposit of Monthly Benefit (VRS-57)

If you are a state employee, you also must submit the State Health Benefits Enrollment Form for Retirees, Survivors and VSDP/LTD Participants. You must submit this form with your application or within 31 days of your retirement date, whether you are electing or waiving coverage. Note that if you waive coverage, you will not be able to enroll in the program at a later date. For more information about the program, visit the Department of Human Resource Management website.

If you are an employee of a school division or a political subdivision, contact your human resource office about retiree health insurance your employer may offer. Some employers have arranged with VRS to deduct retiree health insurance premiums from the monthly benefit.

Other forms and documents you may need:

Service Retirement Pending Approval of Disability Retirement

If you are eligible for service (regular) retirement when you apply for disability retirement, it may be to your advantage to apply for both:

  • If you apply for non-work related disability retirement and your application is denied, you can begin receiving a service retirement benefit, even if you decide to appeal the denial.

  • For work-related disability retirement, VRS cannot process your service retirement application while your disability retirement application is pending. However, if your disability retirement application is denied, the retirement date and benefit payout option you elect on your service retirement application will be honored.

Applying for Service Retirement

If you are eligible for service retirement, it may be to your advantage to apply for service retirement as well as disability retirement. Complete the Application for Service Retirement (VRS-5), electing the Basic Benefit or Survivor Option, and submit the application with your disability retirement application. Your employer will certify these applications. If you wish to retire under the Partial Lump-Sum Option Payment (PLOP) or Advance Pension Option in the event your disability application is denied, include a second service retirement application electing one of these payout options; your employer does not have to certify this application. For more information about applying for service retirement, refer to your Handbook for Members.

Is Disability Retirement Your Best Option?

Select VRS Disability Retirement from the key topics in the right column for more information.

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