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OPERATING ENGINEERS
TRUST FUNDS

Definition of Total and Permanent Disability

You are considered to be Totally and Permanently Disabled if the Trustees find that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of sickness or accidental bodily injury or both. Your disability can be physical or mental, but it must be so severe that it is expected to result in your death or that it has lasted or will last for at least 12 months. You will not be considered Totally and Permanently Disabled if your injury or disease was self-inflicted, caused by the use of narcotics that were not prescribed for you by a physician, or was due to your commission or attempt to commit a felony.

You will not be considered Totally and Permanently Disabled just because you can no longer do your job as an Operating Engineer or perform the normal duties of an Operating Engineer. You must be so disabled that you cannot perform any type of substantial gainful employment. This means work that involves significant physical or mental duties which are productive and the work is done for profit. The Trustees will consider your age, education and work experience as well as the nature of your disability to determine if you are Totally and Permanently Disabled.

Proof of Total and Permanent Disability

The Trustees may obtain competent medical evidence to assist them in determining if you meet the Plan’s definition or they may accept as proof of your disability, a Social Security Disability Award.

In order to determine that you continue to meet the Plan’s definition of Total and Permanent Disability, the Trustees will, from time to time, require that you submit documents and other evidence, including results of medical examinations.

Changing from an Early or Service Pension to a Disability Pension

You may change your Early or Service Pension, to a Disability Pension, by filing a written request for the change and meeting the following requirements:

Using Medical Evidence

  • You must have filed an application for a Disability Pension on or before the effective date of your Early or Service Pension
  • You must have met the service requirements for a Disability Pension when you applied for your Early or Service Pension
  • You must provide competent medical evidence that you were Totally and Permanently Disabled before the effective date of your Early or Service Pension

The Disability Pension will be effective on the first of the month following the receipt by the Trustees of the medical evidence.

Using a Social Security Disability Award (SSDA)

  • You must be awarded a Social Security Disability benefit
  • You must have met the service requirements for a Disability Pension when you applied for your Early or Service Pension
  • You must have applied for an Early or Service Pension on or after October 1, 1999

The Disability Pension will be effective on the first of the month following the effective date of the Social Security Disability benefits.

If your SSDA is effective after the effective date of your Early Pension, the higher amount of the Disability Pension will not be paid to you until the difference between the Early Pension and Disability Pension equals the total amount paid to you as an Early Pension before your SSDA was effective.

Recovery from a Disability

If you recover from your disability or you lose your Social Security Disability Award, you must report your recovery or loss, in writing, to the Trustees within 30 days. If you fail to timely report, your eligibility for pension at a subsequent retirement will be postponed for six months plus the number of months you received Disability Pension payments to which you were not entitled. The six-month period will not extend beyond your Normal Retirement Age. However, the Trustees will recover the overpayment from your pension by deducting 100% of the first pension payment due to you when payments resume and 25% per month after that until the full amount is recouped.

If you recover from your disability you can return to work as an Operating Engineer, if you wish, and continue to earn Pension Credits.

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