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Disability Retirement

Should you become totally and permanently disabled, you may be eligible for a disability pension, provided you have at least five years of City service. The five-year eligibility requirement is not applicable if your disability is the result of an on-the-job injury. An independent, Board-appointed physician must find you permanently and totally incapacitated either physically or mentally, for the performance of duty in order for you to qualify for a disability retirement.

Applying for Disability Retirement 

The first step is to request a Disability Retirement Estimate.  Retirement staff prepares this estimate, as well as a regular retirement estimate if you are eligible for service retirement, so that you can see how a disability retirement benefit compares to a regular or early retirement benefit.


If you wish to proceed with the disability application, you must submit an Application for Disability Retirement Part 1 and Application for Disability Retirement Part 2

Part 1 of the application requests that you, the member, to describe the physical and/or mental condition or conditions that you assert to be disabling and to sign a release authorizing the Retirement staff to access and release any medical information necessary to process the disability retirement application.

Part 2 of the application, which you submit to the treating doctors requests the treating doctor to transmit the relevant records to the Retirement Office so that the Retirement Office can submit the records to an independent medical examiner (IME).  You will bear any costs associated with obtaining your relevant medical records and transmitting the records to the Retirement Office.  You are responsible for obtaining your relevant medical records from the treating doctors.


The IME will be provided with Part 1 and Part 2 of the Disability Retirement Application, including any job classification descriptions reviewed by the treating doctors and including any of your medical records the treating doctor(s) provided to the Retirement Office.  The IME will be instructed to answer a series of questions and to provide a written report to the Retirement Office for the purpose of establishing whether or not you meet the TERS criteria for disability retirement.


Board Approval 

Usually, within a month of your IME, we will receive the written report from our doctor(s).


The Retirement Board has appointed a Disability Committee to review the doctors' reports and make recommendations to the Retirement Board about each application.  The final decision regarding your disability retirement application will be based upon the evaluation of the IME.


If the Disability Committee and Retirement Board approve your application, your disability retirement will become effective on the first day of the month in which you are eligible.  The Retirement Office will contact you regarding any additional paperwork necessary to get your retirement set up.


If your application is denied, you will have an opportunity to re-apply within six months, but must provide new medical information or diagnosis.

Disability Retirement Application Procedures and Criteria for Disability Retirement
Tacoma Municipal Code 1.30 Retirement & Pensions

Contact Information

(253) 502-8200