Duty Disability (DD) Benefits

 

What is Duty Disability (DD)?

 

Duty Disability is a benefit provided to employees who become disabled as the result of a work related injury or illness compensable under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act or the Illinois Workers' Occupational Diseases Act. It is paid by the Retirement Fund and is a separate benefit from Worker's Compensation.

 

DD Eligibility

 

Duty Disability is payable until the Law Department advises the Fund that the injured employee is fit to return to work. There are age and duration limitations. The Fund's benefit is payable up to age 65, maximum, unless the injury occurred at age 60 or later. If this is the case, the benefit is only payable for a maximum of five (5) years.

 

DD Application Process

 

The DD application process is:

  • Complete the District's process for a work-related injury or illness through the Claims Section.
  • The Claims Sections advises the Fund that the claimant is off of work due to a work-related injury or illness.
  • The Fund sends the employee a DD Application.
  • When the Fund receives the completed application Fund staff will review the file for payment.

 

How the DD Benefit is Calculated

 

The amount of duty disability to which you may be entitled is dependent on the tier in which you participate. Refer to the definitions below:

 

Tier I Participant: An employee of the District who first became a member before January 1, 2011 under any reciprocal retirement system or pension fund established under Chapter 40 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes except Judges, General Assembly, police and fire pension plans (both Chicago and downstate). This includes any Commissioner who fits the criteria above who elects to participate in the Fund within 90 days after becoming a Commissioner.

Tier II Participant: An employee of the District who first became a member on or after January 1, 2011 except for those who were members of any reciprocal retirement system including the IMRF, Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, Laborers' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, County Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County, Forest Preserve of Cook County Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund, Chicago Park Pension, State Employees Retirement System, State Universities Retirement System, Illinois Teachers Retirement System,  or Chicago Teachers Pension Fund prior to January 1, 2011. This includes any Commissioner who fits the criteria above who elects to participate in the Fund within 90 days after becoming a Commissioner.

How the Benefit is Calculated for Tier I Participants

 

The Duty Disability benefit equals 75% of your bi-weekly salary on the date of injury or illness less Workers' Compensation payments. If the disability resulted from a physical defect or disease that existed at the time such injury was sustained or such illness commenced, the duty disability will be 50% of your bi-weekly salary on the date of injury or illness less Workers' Compensation payments.

 

How the Benefit is Calculated for Tier II Participants

 

The Duty Disability benefit calculation is similar to the calculation for Tier I Participants. However, all benefits payable from this fund to Tier II Participants are limited to a salary cap. In 2012, the highest salary upon which a benefit may be based is $108,882.60 annually. This salary cap is adjusted each January 1st by the lesser of 3% and one-half of the CPI-u for the 12 months ending with the September preceding each November 1, including all previous adjustments.

 

If the disability resulted from a physical defect or disease that existed at the time such injury was sustained or such illness commenced, the duty disability will be 50% of your bi-weekly salary (also subject to the cap) on the date of injury or illness less Workers' Compensation payments.

Example 1: Trent the Treatment Plant Operator is a Tier II Participant. He was injured on the job and was approved for Workers' Compensation payments by the Claims Section. His bi-weekly salary was $3,000 at the time of injury. He was off for a full bi-weekly pay period, or ten (10) working days. He was paid $2,000 in Workers' Compensation benefits by the Claims Section. To calculate his bi-weekly DD benefit:

1)    Test his salary for the cap. $3,000 x 26 = $78,000, which is less than the 2012 salary cap of $109,971.43.

2)    Calculate 75%. $3,000 x 75% = $2,250

3)    Subtract the Workers' Compensation benefit. $2,250 - $2,000 = $250.

 

Trent will receive a DD check in the amount of $250 less any applicable deductions for health, dental, and term life insurance as well as any medical spending contribution and credit union deduction.

Example 2: Mike the Master Mechanic is a Tier II Participant. He was injured on the job and was approved for Workers' Compensation payments by the Claims Section. His bi-weekly salary was $4,400 at the time of injury. He was off for a full bi-weekly pay period, or ten (10) working days. He was paid $2,900 in Workers' Compensation benefits by the Claims Section. To calculate his bi-weekly DD benefit:

 

1)    Test his salary for the cap. $4,400 x 26 = $114,400, which is greater than the 2013 salary cap of $109,971.43. Therefore, we must base his benefit on the cap.

2)    Figure the bi-weekly cap. $109,971.43/26 = $4,229.67

3)    Calculate 75%. $4,229.67 x 75% = $3,172.25

4)    Subtract the Workers' Compensation benefit. $3,172.25 - $2,900.00 = $ 3272.25.

 

Mike will receive a DD check in the amount of $340.84 less any applicable deductions for health, dental, and term life insurance as well as any medical spending contribution and credit union deduction.

 

Payment of DD Benefits

 

The Fund's portion of the duty disability benefit is paid on the Wednesday after the bi-weekly payroll. Duty Disability benefits are paid in the form of a check. The Retirement Fund does not currently offer direct deposit of this payment, but efforts are being made to that end.

DD benefits are based upon your salary on the date of injury or illness, subjected to the salary cap for Tier II Participants. Salary increases granted after you become disabled do not increase your disability benefit unless the salary increase is retroactive to the date of injury or illness.

Although the DD benefit is 75% (or 50% as mentioned above) of lost pay (subject to the salary when applicable) as of the date of injury, the amount paid by the Fund is offset by Workers' Compensation payments. Workers' Compensation payments are two thirds of the average pay for the year prior to the injury. The benefit paid by the Fund is approximately 8.3% of lost pay.

Also, if you were hired prior to June 13, 1997, and you have children under the age of 18, you are entitled to an additional $10.00 per month ($0.46 daily) for a child benefit provided that the Fund has the child's birth certificate in your file.

 

Ancillary Benefits of DD:

 

  • Pension service credit continues as if you were working.
  • Medical, dental and term life insurance continue while you are on DD. The appropriate premiums are deducted from the DD check. If applicable, deductions for the flexible Medical Spending Account are taken.
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