You may be eligible for disability benefits through NMERB if:
- You have accumulated ten or more years of earned service credit,
- You are totally disabled and unable to continue your employment, and
- You are unable to obtain and retain other gainful employment commensurate with your education, background, and experience.
Where do I start?
In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must first contact NMERB and request a Disability Benefit Application form. Staff will verify that you have ten or more years of earned service credit with NMERB and will send you the following forms:
- Request for NMERB’s Disability Benefit Application Form along with an
- Option B form, to designate a survivor beneficiary; and
- estimate of disability benefits.
- Once you have completed and returned the required forms and documents, including proof of age for both you and your designated beneficiary (acceptable documents: birth certificate, baptismal, driver’s license and passport, certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaskan Native Blood (CDIB).
- NMERB will forward your request to NMERB’s Disability Evaluation Service provider, Maximus Federal Services, Inc. Within 1-2 business days Maximus Federal Services, Inc. will you a Disability Application.
What do I do once I receive the Disability Application?
Once you have received the application from Maximus Federal Services, Inc. you must complete the application and return your application and related documentation directly to Maximus Federal Services, Inc. You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the application. You will continue to receive guidance from Maximus Federal Services, Inc. in the form of communication based on your preference until a determination on your application is complete.
If Maximus approves your disability application, the effective date of disability benefit will be either the first day of the month following termination of employment or the first day of the month following filing your application with Maximus, whichever is later. For example, if you terminated employment on June 30 and you filed your application with Maximus on July 31, the effective date for your disability benefit will be August 1.
How long will I receive a disability benefit?
If you are receiving disability benefits and have a determination of annual or temporary disability, your case is subject to review by NMERB. This review will occur at least annually and, at the discretion of NMERB, may be required more frequently. If NMERB determines you are able to return to work, your disability benefits will cease. If your physical condition improves significantly, you are required to report your improved condition within 30 days. Failure to do so can carry a legal penalty. If you are receiving disability benefits when you turn 60, your disability benefit becomes a retirement benefit. At age 60, the retiree will be offered survivor benefits. This is a one-time choice and is irrevocable. The benefit you receive after the disability benefit is converted will be the same amount as the prior disability benefit, subject to survivor benefits, if applicable.
When I am eligible for a cost of living adjustment (COLA)?
If you are receiving a disability benefit, you are eligible for a COLA on July 1 of the third complete calendar year following your receipt of disability benefits.
Disability COLA Eligibility
If you retired from the NMERB earlier than you would have because you were totally disabled at the time of your retirement, and could not have continued your employment due to this disability, and could not have obtained or retained employment commensurate with your background, education and experience, you may be eligible for an early COLA commencing on July 1 of the third full year following the year in which you retired. Members are not eligible to apply for a disability COLA until after they have retired. For information regarding a disability COLA, please contact the NMERB at (505) 827-8030.
Managing the retirement assets of New Mexico Educators since 1957.
701 Camino de los Marquez
Santa Fe, NM 87505
PO Box 26129
Santa Fe, NM 87502
Email or call ahead for an appointment.
8500 Menaul Blvd. NE, Suite B-450
Albuquerque, NM 87112