Participation in disability rehabilitation services increased in 2016
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System provides a disability benefit to those who are found to be disabled through an independent, medically based decision, with the goal of returning them to wellness and maximizing their employability. One important component of the disability program is rehabilitative services.
Eligible members may qualify for a disability benefit if they are disabled to the extent that they are unable to perform the duties of their last public employment position(s) and their condition(s) is expected to last not less than 12 months.
OPERS experienced a slight increase in total disability benefit applications received in 2016 (944) over 2015 (825), and the approval rate remained relatively consistent with the prior year. The moderate uptick follows one of the lowest recorded application totals in the past five years.
Participation in the Rehabilitative Services Program continues to grow, which affords OPERS the opportunity to impact the lives of many of our members. At the close of 2016, the Rehabilitative Services Program posted a 75 percent participation rate, a 12 percent increase from 2015.
Clinical and vocational resources
OPERS realizes many of our disabled members can eventually enjoy productive lives. OPERS created the Rehabilitative Services Program to support members in reclaiming their health and returning to work when possible with clinical and vocational resources.
Through clinical rehabilitative services, disability benefit recipients undergo appropriate continued medical treatment. Participants receive direct access to clinical case managers to assist them in improving their disabling condition(s).
Members who participate in vocational rehabilitative services are provided with vocational resources and tools, connecting them with additional local and state resources to assist them in their self-directed efforts to seek employment. Members undergo a survey of transferable skills to assist them in their job search.
To learn more
OPERS recently produced two videos aimed at explaining the Rehabilitative Services program. One describes how the program works, and the other is a testimonial-style piece that includes input from a member currently going through the program.
The 2016 OPERS Disability report, videos on the disability program and more information about rehabilitative services can be found on a newly designed page on the OPERS website.