Public employees who become disabled may be entitled to disability retirement. But if the employee’s disability application coincides with discharge, consider aggressively challenging the application and asking for further medical review.
Recent case: Beth Kleja worked as an elementary school teacher until, while driving to work, she crashed her car into the back of a school bus. She was charged with driving under the influence and put on paid leave.
Later, she turned in her teaching license rather than fight to keep it—and was thus discharged.
She sued for benefits and got her doctors to certify she was disabled due to various ailments—none alcohol-related. But medical experts said she wasn’t disabled. She didn’t get the benefits. (Kleja v. State Teachers Retirement Board, No. 08-AP- 326, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2009)