Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Lawyer in Virginia Beach, Virginia

A Lawyer Can Help

Are you thinking about filing a claim for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement because of an injury or illness?  Have you been denied disability benefits?

With more than 35 years’ experience in injury and disability law, the Disability Law Center of David L. Horne, PLLC can help submit the initial application for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement or file an appeal when benefits are denied.

 The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Rules provide for an appeal process.  After the second denial of benefits, the last step is an administrative hearing with a hearing officer called a Fact Finder appointed by the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).

Why Hire an Attorney

We provide diligent and aggressive attorney representation through the administrative process and at the Fact Finding Hearing. Winning a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement claim involves a complex process requiring knowledge of Virginia law, and the presentation of medical evidence often using expert witnesses. Proving a disability claim requires experience in legal and medical issues. We gather medical documentation and work closely with our client’s physicians in developing proof of disability.

Attorney’s Fees

We understand the financial stress disability from injury and illness place on our clients and their families, and consider this in the fees we charge.  After applying for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement, it is required that a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) be filed. We will usually represent our client in both claims.  In the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim no legal fee is paid unless benefits are awarded.

We will evaluate the SSDI and VRS claims and try to structure a fee in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement claim that considers our client’s circumstances and the likelihood of success. In many instances we are able to structure a fee where a substantial portion of the fee is paid only if benefits are awarded.  Please call us for a fee quote.

Who is Eligible for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement?

A VRS-covered employee working for a school division or a VRS-participating political subdivision is eligible to file a claim. A state employee hired before January 1, 1999 who did not elect to transfer to the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) is also eligible to be considered for disability retirement.  A person is not eligible to retire on disability if he or she is a state employee covered under VSDP, has deferred retirement or has taken a refund of member contributions and interest.

How is Disability Determined?

To qualify for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement, a VRS–covered employee must meet the definition of disability.

A person is disabled under VRS rules, if because of a physical or mental condition(s) the person:

  • Becomes unable to perform his or her VRS covered position; and
  • The medical condition that prevents the further performance of the VRS covered position is likely to be permanent.

If the person suffered from the disabling medical condition before becoming employed in a VRS covered position, it must have significantly worsen while in a VRS-covered position to be considered for disability retirement.

 If the VRS employee is disabled from work, but has a disability that is not likely to be permanent, he or she will not qualify for benefits.

We Maximize Overlapping Benefits from All Claims

 We maximize benefits and compensation from all available sources. The coordination of benefits between Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability Retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and workers compensation is complex.

Disability programs and plans, and claims for personal injury and worker’s compensation frequently overlap. We can represent you in your claims for Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Disability , Social Security Disability (SSDI) and other types of disability and injury claims such as  long term disability insurance (LTD), personal injury (PI) and workers compensation

Find Out Your Benefit Amount*

The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) has an enormous amount of helpful information online at its website at www.varetire.org. Call VRS toll free at 1-888-VARETIR (1-888-827-3847).

The Virginia Retirement System Disability Retirement Handbook for Members in Plan 1 and Plan 2 is available on the website. The VRS recommends that Plan 1 members open up an account on line through “myVRS” to find out your monthly disability amount.  (Plan 1 covers those that were members before July 1, 2010.)

There are significant differences in benefits if the disability is from a work injury or occupational disease covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act (Work Related Disability) and if it is not (Non-work Related Disability).

Non-work Related Disability. The disabled member will receive the greater of the VRS formula or the Minimum Guaranteed Benefit.

For Non-work Related Disability the Minimum Guaranteed Benefit will be equal to 33 percent of your average final compensation. If you do not qualify for primary Social Security benefits, the Minimum Guaranteed Benefit will be equal to 50 percent of your average final compensation.

Work Related Disability. There are different complex rules for Work Related Disability. If you retire on Work Related Disability, you will receive a refund of your member contribution account balance in addition to a monthly benefit.

If retiring on Work Related Disability then the disability benefit calculation will be adjusted first by any primary Social Security benefit. The amount will then be adjusted by any workers’ compensation benefits received. Workers’ compensation will become the primary disability benefit.

In general, if your workers’ compensation benefit is equal to or greater than your VRS disability retirement benefit, you will not receive the VRS Work Related Disability benefit while receiving workers’ compensation payments.

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits. VRS disability retirement benefits are adjusted if the employee is receiving any primary Social Security benefit. A primary Social Security benefit is a full (normal) Social Security retirement benefit or a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit. If the VRS-covered employee is not eligible for full Social Security when retiring on disability, she must apply for benefits under Social Security Disability (SSDI) even if receiving early Social Security benefits.

*CONTACT YOUR HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICE OR THE VIRGINIA RETIREMENT SYSTEM (VRS) FOR AN ACCURATE BENEFITS ESTIMATE

 

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757-490-6271

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