Learn about disability benefits, including eligibility requirements.
If you become totally and permanently disabled before age 61, you may be eligible for a disability benefit from BC’s Teachers' Pension Plan. This pays you a monthly benefit and replaces any termination benefits or retirement pension you would normally receive as a plan member.
Why would you take a disability benefit?
- If you become disabled before your earliest retirement age (55), you will not be eligible for a regular pension, but you may be eligible for a disability benefit
- If you become disabled after your earliest retirement age but before you turn 61, a disability benefit may provide you with a higher benefit than a regular pension
Are you eligible?
To be eligible for a disability benefit, you must:
- Not be eligible for coverage under an approved group disability plan
- Have at least two years of contributory service
- Apply by age 61
- Apply in writing to the plan within two years of the date of your last contribution to the plan
- End your employment with all plan employers
- Have a report from both your doctor and a doctor appointed by the plan declaring that you are totally and permanently disabled
You are not eligible for a disability benefit if you have accepted a lump-sum payment to settle a long-term disability claim. If you have accepted a lump-sum payment, you may be entitled to termination benefits or a retirement pension.
If you are age 55 or older, you may be eligible to apply for a regular pension. Contact the plan to discuss your options.
How is a disability benefit calculated?
We calculate disability benefits the same way we calculate regular pensions, except:
- There is no bridge benefit
- Disability benefits are never reduced because of your age or years of service
The following rules apply to disability benefits (just like regular pensions):
- The calculation is based on your years of pensionable service and the average of your five highest years of salary
- You are able to choose from the same pension options and guarantees
- The amount of your disability benefit may increase annually to reflect changes in the cost of living (but this is not guaranteed)
- Depending on the pension option you selected when you applied for your disability benefit, your spouse or beneficiary(ies) may be eligible to receive a benefit upon your death
- The disability benefit may provide you with access to medical, extended health and dental benefits
What happens if you are no longer disabled?
If you are no longer disabled, we will stop paying you your disability benefit.
If you return to work for an employer participating in the plan, you and your employer will resume making pension contributions to the plan. When you retire, you will be eligible for a regular pension.
If you do not return to work, or you return to work for an employer that does not participate in the plan, contact the plan to learn about your pension options.
If you are eligible for a regular pension or termination benefit, we will calculate it using your total years of service:
- You will not receive service for the period you were receiving the disability benefit
- There is no adjustment for the disability benefit that was already paid
The rules for calculating disability benefits are complex. Contact the plan for information or to discuss your individual situation.