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Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 38 Public Officers and Employees - Section 38-797.07 LTD program benefits; limitations; definitions

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38-797.07. LTD program benefits; limitations; definitions

A. The LTD program is subject to the following limitations:

1. Except as provided in paragraph 9 of this subsection, monthly LTD program benefits shall not exceed two-thirds of a member's monthly compensation at the time disability commences, reduced by:

(a) For a member whose disability commences before July 1, 2008, sixty-four per cent of social security disability benefits that the member and the member's dependents are eligible to receive.

(b) For a member whose disability commences on or after July 1, 2008, eighty-five per cent of social security disability benefits that the member and the member's dependents are eligible to receive, but not including:

(i) The amount of attorney fees approved pursuant to social security administration rules and reasonable documented costs paid to an attorney to secure that disability benefit.

(ii) Any cost-of-living adjustments that are granted after the member commences benefits under this section.

(c) For a member whose disability commences before July 1, 2008, eighty-three per cent of social security retirement benefits that the member is eligible to receive.

(d) For a member whose disability commences on or after July 1, 2008, eighty-five per cent of social security retirement benefits that the member is eligible to receive, but not including any cost-of-living adjustments that are granted after the member commences benefits under this section.

(e) All of any workers' compensation benefits.

(f) All of any payments for a veteran's disability if both of the following apply:

(i) The veteran's disability payment is for the same condition or a condition related to the condition currently causing the member's total disability.

(ii) The veteran's disability is due to, or a result of, service in the armed forces of the United States.

(g) All of any other benefits by reason of employment that are financed partly or wholly by an employer, including payments for sick leave. This subdivision does not include any retirement benefit that is received by the member pursuant to a state retirement system or plan other than ASRS.

(h) Fifty per cent of any salary, wages, commissions or other employment related pay that the member receives or is entitled to receive from any gainful employment in which the member actually engages.

2. For a member whose disability commences on or after the effective date of this amendment to this section, a member's monthly income from the monthly LTD program benefits and sources listed in paragraph 1 of this subsection shall not exceed one hundred per cent of the member's monthly compensation at the time disability commences. ASRS shall offset the member's monthly LTD program benefits by the amount necessary to reduce the member's total monthly income to meet the limit prescribed in this paragraph.

3. Monthly LTD program benefits are not payable until a member has been totally disabled for a period of six consecutive months.

4. Monthly LTD program benefits are not payable to a member who files an initial claim for disability more than twelve months after the date of the member's date of disability unless the member demonstrates to ASRS good cause for not filing the initial claim within twelve months after the date of disability.

5. Monthly LTD program benefits are not payable to a member who is receiving retirement benefits from ASRS.

6. Monthly LTD program benefits are not payable to a member whose disability is due to, or a result of, any of the following:

(a) An intentionally self-inflicted injury.

(b) War, whether declared or not.

(c) An injury incurred while engaged in a felonious criminal act or enterprise.

(d) For a member whose most recent membership in the LTD program commences before July 1, 2008, an injury or sickness for which the member received medical treatment within three months before the date of the member's coverage under the LTD program. This subdivision does not apply to a member who either:

(i) Has been an active member of an employer for twelve continuous months.

(ii) Is employed by an employer before July 1, 1988.

(e) For a member whose most recent membership in the LTD program commences on or after July 1, 2008, an injury or sickness for which the member received medical treatment within six months before the date of the member's coverage under the LTD program. This subdivision does not apply to a member who has been an active member of an employer for twelve continuous months.

7. Monthly LTD program benefits cease to be payable to a member at the earliest of the following:

(a) The date the member ceases to be totally disabled.

(b) The date the member:

(i) Ceases to be under the direct care of a doctor.

(ii) Refuses to undergo any medical examination or refuses to participate in any work rehabilitation program for which the member is reasonably qualified by education, training or experience and that is requested by the insurance company or claims administrator that is selected by the board to administer the LTD program.

(c) The date the member withdraws employee contributions with interest and ceases to be a member.

(d) The later of the following:

(i) The member's normal retirement date.

(ii) The month following sixty months of payments if disability occurs before sixty-five years of age.

(iii) The month following attainment of seventy years of age if disability occurs at sixty-five years of age or after but before sixty-nine years of age.

(iv) The month following twelve months of payments if disability occurs at or after sixty-nine years of age.

(e) If the member is convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to more than six months in a jail, prison or other penal institution, the first day of the month following the first thirty continuous days of the member's confinement for the remainder of the confinement.

8. Monthly LTD program benefits are payable only for disabilities that commence on or after July 1, 1988.

9. The minimum benefit for a member who is entitled to receive monthly LTD program benefits is fifty dollars per month.

10. Members are eligible to receive the LTD program benefits and payments described in paragraph 1 of this subsection, and the reductions provided by paragraph 1 of this subsection apply even though the social security benefits are not actually paid as follows:

(a) For primary and dependent social security benefits, the members are eligible for the social security benefits until the social security benefits are actually awarded, or if the social security benefits are denied, until the member pursues the social security appeal process through a hearing before a social security administrative law judge or until the insurance company or claims administrator determines that the member is not eligible for social security benefits.

(b) For benefits and payments from any other source provided in paragraph 1 of this subsection, the members are eligible for the benefits if it is reasonable to believe that those benefits will be paid on proper completion of the claim or would have been paid except for the failure of the member to pursue the claim in time.

11. A member shall be considered totally disabled if based on objective medical evidence:

(a) During the first thirty months of a period of disability, the member is unable to perform all duties of the position held by the member when the member became totally disabled.

(b) For a member who has received monthly LTD program benefits for twenty-four months within a five-year period, the member is unable to perform any work for compensation or gain for which the member is reasonably qualified by education, training or experience in an amount at least equal to the scheduled LTD program benefits prescribed in paragraph 1 of this subsection.

B. A member who receives monthly LTD program benefits is entitled to receive service credit pursuant to article 2 of this chapter from the time disability commences until LTD program benefits cease to be payable, except that for a member who receives monthly LTD program benefits on or after June 30, 1999 the number of years of service credited to the member's retirement account during the period the member receives LTD program benefit payments shall not cause the member's total credited service for retirement benefits to exceed the greater of thirty years or the total years of service credited to the member's retirement account on the commencement of disability.

C. This section does not prohibit a member whose disability has been established to the satisfaction of the board from relying on treatment by prayer through spiritual means in accordance with the tenets and practice of a recognized church, religious denomination or Native American traditional medicine by a duly accredited practitioner of the church, denomination or Native American traditional medicine without suffering reduction or suspension of the member's monthly LTD program benefits.

D. ASRS may suspend or terminate benefits under this article if a member fails to provide information, data, paperwork or other materials that are requested by ASRS or the insurance company or claims administrator that is selected by the board to administer the LTD program. If the member provides the information requested, ASRS shall retroactively reinstate the benefits or claim for which the member qualifies under this article.

E. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Objective medical evidence" means evidence that established facts and conditions, as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices or interpretations, and includes x-rays, quantitative tests, laboratory findings, data, records, reports from the attending physician and reports from a consulting physician, as applicable.

2. "Received medical treatment" means that the member consulted with or received the advice of a licensed medical or dental practitioner, including advice given during a routine examination, and it includes situations in which the member received medical or dental care, treatment or services, including the taking of drugs, medication, insulin or similar substances.

3. "Social security" and "social security disability" includes the railroad retirement act of 1974 (P.L. 93-445; 88 Stat. 1305; 45 United States Code sections 231 through 231u).

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Last modified: August 21, 2013