Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dr. Leone explains why STRS reviews disability retirements every two years

From Dennis Leone, October 25, 2012
About 10 years ago, STRS changed internal procedures for reviewing those who had been granted disability retirement. One change included re-evaluating recipients every 2 years to determine the appropriateness of the original disability retirement decision. This was necessary because STRS learned that many were engaged in activities that were clearly inconsistent with the reasons associated with the original decision.
The examples were pretty bad, which caused a re-evaluation of everyone every two years. If the 5-member Medical Review Board at STRS determines the recipients are "disabled" during the re-evaluation in the same manner they were when the original decision was made, then nothing is changed and everything is fine.
STRS is NOT trying to remove retirees from their disability retirement. There is no sinister motivation to do it. Rather, STRS desires to keep the process squeaky clean, honest and accurate. That is all. I recall as a Board member that we could not use personal doctor letters as the final judgment. If STRS did that, no disability retirement EVER would be denied......not one. Historically, I would guess that about two-thirds of original requests are denied by the Medical Review Board. When one receives it initially, he/she has personally convinced the Medical Review Board that it was right thing to do medically.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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