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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. 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.

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 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.