Applying for Disability


How do I Apply for Disability Retirement?
Disability retirement benefits provide valuable protection for members who are disabled from performing their job

Two types of disability retirement

The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System provides benefits for two types of disability retirement, ordinary and accidental/special.

  • Ordinary disability covers any permanent mental or physical incapacity for the further performance of the normal duties of your position.
  • Accidental or special disability generally covers an accident that occurred in the actual performance of work duties at a definite time and place without willful negligence. Accidental disability applicants must be totally and permanently incapacitated for the further performance of their normal duties as the natural and proximate result of the accident.

All disability claims will be evaluated for ordinary disability if the member has at least five years of eligibility service.

If an applicant/member does not apply for accidental or special disability, he or she may not later apply for accidental or special disability or submit a new claim based on an accident that took place prior to the date the claim is submitted.

Rules for LEOPS and State Police

To be eligible for accidental disability retirement, a member of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System must be totally and permanently incapacitated for duty arising out of, and in the course of, the actual performance of duty without willful negligence by the member. The same standard applies for State Police; however, the term “special disability” is used instead of “accidental disability.”

Participants in the Deferred Retirement Option Program are not eligible to file for ordinary disability retirement. They can, however, file for accidental or special disability retirement, if eligible.


To be eligible to apply for ordinary disability retirement, a member must have at least five years of eligibility service. There is no service requirement for members to apply for accidental or special disability retirement. Members who terminate employment and withdraw their employee contributions are not eligible for disability benefits. Retirees, also, are not eligible to apply.

Filing requirements

By signing and submitting a claim for disability, you certify that you are mentally or physically incapacitated for further performance of the normal duties of your job, and that this incapacity is likely to be permanent. Additionally, you are affirming that under the penalties of perjury, all information provided is true to the best of your knowledge and belief.

Members filing for disability must actively pursue their claim and comply with all requests by the Maryland State Retirement Agency.

Timely filing is essential

Submission of the required forms to the Retirement Agency is your responsibility. Information and documentation from your treating physician and employer (sections 2 and 3 of Form 20) must be properly completed and submitted to the retirement agency within 45 days of the date your claim is submitted. If you fail to meet this deadline, your disability claim will be terminated.

Members may file for disability benefits while on payroll or within a set period of time, depending on their system, after leaving payroll, as follows:

  • Members of the Teachers’ Retirement System may file up to five years after leaving payroll. A one-year filing extension may be available.
  • Members of all other systems may file up to four years after leaving payroll. For these members, a two-year filing extension may be available (excludes Judges’ and Legislative Plans.)

Applications for accidental disability retirement must be filed within five years from the date of the accident. This filing deadline for accidental disability does not apply to the State Police, Correctional Officers’ or Law Enforcement Officers’ systems.

When all documentation necessary to submit a disability claim has been received by the Retirement Agency, the applicant will be informed in writing that the medical evaluation of his or her claim has begun. Applicants will be notified promptly in writing of a claim decision as soon as it is rendered by the System’s Board of Trustees.