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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Long Term Disability

If you become disabled while working for Gwinnett County Public Schools and meet the GRS Plan definition of Disability, you may qualify for GRS Long Term Disability benefits.

Definition of Disability

A medically determinable physical and/or mental impairment that is severe enough to prevent an individual from doing “substantial gainful work” (as defined below), resulting from an anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormality which is demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques, and which is expected to last for at least twelve (12) months or to result in death. During the first 24 months, “substantial gainful work” shall mean the duties that the individual was hired to perform for the Board. After the first 24 months, “substantial gainful work” shall mean any occupation for which the individual is reasonably suited by reason of education, training, or experience. Disability shall not include any physical or mental impairment occurring within five (5) years following date of Employment for which medical treatment was provided within twelve (12) months immediately preceding Employment.

Determination of Disability

The determination of whether you meet the definition of Disability will be made by the Committee (or its delegate), in their sole discretion, in accordance with uniform principles consistently applied and upon the basis of such evidence as the Committee deems necessary and desirable.

Disability Income Benefits

Should you become disabled, you will be entitled to a monthly income equal to one-twelfth of sixty percent (60%) of your Earnings for the 12-month period preceding your Disability. Disability Income Benefits will be the amounts necessary, when added to benefits available under other plans, to provide the 60% benefit level.

Other plans include the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, the Public School Employees Retirement System of Georgia, workers’ compensation, Social Security, and any successors thereto. You must first apply for benefits from such other plans. If you do not apply for benefits from another plan for which you could be eligible, no Disability Income Benefits are payable or will accrue under the Plan.

Disability Income Benefits will begin on the first day of the month following the completion of the last of the following conditions

  • You must have completed a leave of absence lasting 180 consecutive days from the first day you were absent from employment based on your disability.
  • You must have been determined to meet the Plan's definition of Disability.
  • You must have exhausted all other paid absence benefits, including short-term disability payments, sick leave payments, and paid vacation.

Disability Accrual Benefits

After you begin receiving Disability Income Benefits, your Retirement Income Benefits will continue to accrue. In determining your Accrued Benefits, your annual Earnings will be considered to be equal to your Earnings in the last complete calendar year preceding your commencement of Disability Income Benefits. Upon reaching Normal Retirement Age, your benefit will be the greater of your Accrued Retirement Benefits or the Disability Income Benefit you were receiving immediately prior to your Normal Retirement Date.

Termination of Disability Benefits

Disability Income Benefits will terminate if any of the following conditions occur:

  • If you are able to engage in any Substantial Gainful Work as defined under the Plan; or
  • If it is determined by medical examination that you no longer meet the Plan's definition of Disability; or
  • If you refuse to undergo a medical examination at the Committee’s request; or
  • If it is determined that you are no longer under the regular care of a physician; or
  • If you fail to provide medical documentation or verification of continuing Disability when requested; or
  • If you return to active employment with GCPS, or if you return to active employment with any employer and you receive monthly earnings exceeding the Disability Benefit; or
  • If you cease to be an employee of GCPS; or
  • When you reach your Normal Retirement Date and become eligible for retirement benefits; or
  • Upon your death

Recovery from Disability

Should you recover from Disability before your Normal Retirement Date, your Disability Benefits will terminate and you will begin to accrue Retirement Benefits upon your re-employment.

Upon recovery, if you do not return to work with GCPS, your Employment will be considered to have terminated as of your Severance from Service Date and you may be entitled to Termination Benefits calculated as of your Severance from Service Date.