As an active member of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS) with five (5) or more years of actual credited service with ATRS and under the age of 60, you may apply for disability retirement benefits if you demonstrate total and permanent incapacity to perform the duties of your position and meet all eligibility requirements.  Reciprocal service may be used to meet this five (5) year minimum requirement; however purchased service, such as out-of-state or private school, does not qualify.

Important Beginning July 1, 2015, ATRS disability retirees under the age of 57 must be declared disabled by the Social Security Administration within 36 months of their effective disability retirement date to remain on ATRS Disability. A member who fails to be declared disabled by the Social Security Administration may seek to extend their ATRS disability status and benefits by submitting an Application for Disability Review to ATRS within three (3) months of the date their benefits would otherwise end.

 

MEMBER DOES NOT NEED TO BE APPROVED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BEFORE APPLYING FOR ATRS DISABILITY 

 

Eligibility


  • You must be an active member currently working for an ATRS covered employer and eligible to receive service credit, or you are considered active status for the purpose of Disability Retirement eligibility.
  • You must have a minimum of five (5) years of actual credited service with ATRS.  For the purposes of disability retirement eligibility, reciprocal service CAN BE USED to meet the five (5) year minimum.  However, purchased service such as out-of-state or private school cannot be used to meet the disability eligibility requirement.
  • Final determination of the existence of a qualifying disability is based upon the recommendation of the ATRS Medical Committee. The ATRS Medical Committee reviews the application and supporting medical documents to determine the following

Once a Disability Retirement Application is received by ATRS, your completed application and required supporting documents will be submitted to the ATRS Medical Committee for review at the next regularly scheduled meeting. If the member does not submit the required documentation or submits an incomplete application, they will be allowed six (6) months from the date of receipt to provide the required documentation and/or completed application. At the end of that six (6) month period, an incomplete application will be withdrawn. A member may re-apply, provided they meet eligibility requirements, by submitting a new Disability Retirement Application and supporting medical reports.

Important - ACTIVE STATUS   A member must be active (see above) to be eligible to apply for Disability.  Please contact ATRS to confirm your eligibility in regards to your status as an active member.

The Medical Committee Meeting is scheduled to meet on the following dates:

  • June 15, 2022
  • July 13, 2022
  • August 17, 2022
  • October 3, 2022
  • November 2, 2022
  • December 7, 2022

 *Dates are subject to change.

Effective Date and Payment of Disability Retirement Annuity


NO LONGER EMPLOYED

If you are no longer employed with an ATRS covered employer upon approval by the ATRS medical committee for disability benefits, the effective date of your disability retirement will be the month your application was received by ATRS.

Once ATRS has received all the necessary documents to begin the annuity payment process, the payment of Disability Retirement Benefits will begin with the next monthly annuity distribution. If for some reason (lack of required documents, payroll deadline, etc.) ATRS is unable to distribute your check, you may receive your payment the following month, including the prior month's benefit.

EMPLOYED 

If you are still employed by an ATRS covered employer upon approval by the ATRS medical committee for disability benefits, you will have up to two (2) full calendar months to terminate employment/active membership with the ATRS covered employer. Please contact ATRS for information regarding termination of employment/active membership.

  • Your disability retirement will become effective the first day of the calendar month following the last day you were employed by an ATRS covered employer.
  • ATRS issues the monthly annuity near the end of the month. There will be no retroactive payments granted to the member in this situation.
  • If you fail to terminate employment/active membership by the end of two (2) months, your Disability Retirement will be withdrawn. A member may re-apply, provided they meet eligibility requirements, by submitting a new Disability Retirement Application and supporting medical reports.

For more information, see: Disability FAQs

 

Contact ATRS at (501) 682-1517 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
for more information on Disability or to request a Disability Retirement Application.