The Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) in Minnesota is a statewide public pension fund that exists to provide retirement, disability, and death benefits to Minnesota public school teachers, college faculty, and administrators. Since 1915, the TRA has established a mission to help members and their beneficiaries plan for a financially secure retirement.
Minnesota public school teachers, administrators, and college faculty members have dedicated their careers to educating the next generation of leaders. Whether you work as an elementary school science teacher, a high school career counselor, or a college art history professor, you play a vital role in helping influence and motivate children and young adults.
If you sustained an injury or illness that resulted in a disability preventing you from working, you might be entitled to disability benefits from the TRA. The knowledgeable injury lawyers at Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law can help you receive the maximum amount of TRA disability benefits for your unique situation.
What Is a Disability?
Some policies describe a disability as an impairment that prevents you from performing your current job. Still, others define it as the inability to complete any job, not just your current one. To receive disability benefits from the TRA specifically, you must be “totally and permanently disabled.”
This requirement means that the physical or mental impairment must prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity (not just teaching), and it must be expected to last for a minimum of one year. The disability must have occurred during the time you were teaching, but it does not have to be caused by your occupation for you to qualify for benefits.
Examples of disabilities that TRA disability benefits may cover include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Heart failure
- Back injuries
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory illness
- Vision or hearing loss
- Neurological disorders (MS, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy)
- Mental illnesses (Depression, PTSD, anxiety)
- Immune system disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Hematological disorders
Who Is Eligible for TRA Disability Benefits?
TRA disability benefits are available to current vested TRA members at no additional cost beyond the required percent of salary contributions. TRA members are vested in the TRA plan after three years of service. If you have changed jobs and pension plans in the Minnesota state government over the years, you may be eligible for a combined service annuity. You may combine service from any of these Minnesota public retirement funds:
- Minnesota State Retirement System
- Public Employees Retirement Association
- St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association
To be eligible for disability benefits from the TRA, you must be actively teaching, working as a school administrator, or on an approved leave of absence when the disability occurs. The physical or mental disability must prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity beyond teaching. The impairment must be expected to last at least one year.
There are additional eligibility requirements to keep in mind with the TRA:
- The disability must be the primary reason for ending your teaching service as certified by your employer.
- Three years of membership is required to receive benefits.
- If you previously ended your membership and later rejoined the TRA, at least two of the three required years must have been completed after last becoming an active member.
- You must apply for disability benefits within 18 months of ending your employment because of your impairment.
If you are placed on a medical leave of absence without pay, you may still be entitled to disability benefits. If not through the TRA, you may be eligible for compensation directly through your employer or the Social Security Administration. The experienced attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk can help you navigate this situation and secure the maximum amount of benefits.
It’s Vital to Work With a Disability Attorney
Working with a skilled disability attorney will significantly increase your chances of getting approved for the highest amount of benefits available. Whether you are filing a disability claim for the first time or your benefits have been denied, an attorney can help you get back on your feet and win you the compensation you need.
Applications for disability benefits are long and complex. A professional disability attorney will have the legal knowledge to support your case and help you file a complete and compelling application. If your benefits have been denied, it is essential to rely on an attorney to help you file an appeal. In this case, you must act fast because TRA petitions for review must be postmarked no later than 60 days after the notice of denial.
Contact a trusted attorney as soon as possible so you can feel confident applying for the benefits you deserve.
Secure Disability Benefits With the Help of Mottaz & Sisk
Before you apply for disability benefits from the TRA in Minnesota, you must speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your claim without delay. The helpful attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law have filed hundreds of TRA disability applications for injured and disabled teachers, administrators, and college faculty members in Minnesota. Our team will work tirelessly on your case to win you the maximum amount of compensation and benefits you deserve.
If you need an empathetic legal partner to fight for your disability case, contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law to schedule a free consultation today.