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During your career you may become sick or injured while teaching, and may need to take time off. Read more to learn how disability affects your pension.


During your career you may become sick or injured while teaching. You will need to be away from work and apply for long-term (extended) disability benefits with your employer’s insurance provider.When you are approved by your employer’s insurance provider for long-term (extended) disability benefits, you will have the opportunity to continue to accrue pensionable service in the Teachers’ Pension Plans and have your contributions waived.

You may accrue pensionable service at no cost to you for any period after August 31, 1992, during which you were disabled and not actively teaching. If your employer does not have a long-term disability benefits insurance provider or if you are in receipt of long-term disability benefits from a provider other than your employer’s provider, such as the Workers’ Compensation Board, please reach out to us.

Note: If your period of disability occurred before September 1, 1992 you may purchase this service at a later date.

Eligibility to Accrue Pension Service

You are eligible to accrue pensionable service with the Teachers’ Pension Plans (the plans) if you receive long-term disability from your employer’s provider on or after September 1, 1992.

You are also eligible if before the period of disability:

  • you were a contributing active member, on a leave of absence, or on strike; and
  • you were eligible to receive or are receiving a long-term (extended) disability benefits through your employer during the period of disability; OR
  • you withdrew from service because of a mental or physical disability that prevented you from teaching.

Income Tax

As a registered pension plan, ATRF must issue a pension adjustment (PA) for any pensionable service that you accrue during a period of disability. This PA represents the value for tax purposes of the additional pension benefit you will receive as a result of accruing pensionable service.

The PA must be issued for any taxation year that pensionable service has accrued. It will also reduce your RRSP deduction room for the following calendar year but only up to $600.

Gradual Return to Work

When your insurance provider approves you for a gradual return to work, your pensionable service and salary will be adjusted accordingly.

For instance, if you typically work full time and are returning to work part time (0.5 FTE) on a gradual basis, you would pay half your normal pension contributions and your employer’s insurance provider would top up the remaining 50%.

In terms of your pensionable service, you will also receive a top-up (from ATRF), meaning you will continue to accrue the same service amount as if you were working full time.

Special Circumstance

If your employer’s disability provider does not approve you for long-term (extended) disability benefits, then you are not eligible to accrue pensionable service.

If you feel your situation qualifies you to accrue pensionable service even though you are not eligible to receive long-term disability benefits, please contact our office as soon as possible. You will need to provide supporting documents for your situation.

Short-Term Disability

During the period when you are eligible for short-term disability from your employer or an insurance carrier, you will remain an active member of the plan.

Service and Salary
You will continue to accrue pensionable service and your salary will remain the same as if you were continuing to work.

You and your employer will continue to pay contributions based on your salary (and full time equivalent) while you are on short-term disability.

Long-Term Disability

When you are approved by your insurance provider for long-term (extended) disability benefits, you will remain a participant of the plans as a disabled member until you no longer qualify for long-term disability benefits with your insurance provider.

Service and Salary
You will continue to accrue pensionable service and your salary will be credited at the same rate you were earning at the onset of disability with an adjustment to that salary every September 1.

The adjustment is equivalent to the average increase/decrease paid by the collective agreements of the Edmonton Public School District, Edmonton Catholic Separate School District, Calgary Public School District, and Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District at the four-year education maximum grid level.

You and your employer will not be required to pay contributions. Contributions will appear as $0.00 on your plan member statement.

When you want to apply for a pension or a termination benefit, you will need to resign from your teaching position and end your long-term disability benefits.

If you remove your funds from the plans prior to your long-term disability benefits being approved, you will not be eligible to accrue any additional service in the plans.

If you pass away while accruing pensionable service during a period of disability, we will credit your pensionable service to the date of your death. A death benefit will be calculated and payable to your pension partner, beneficiary, or estate.

Important Reminder

When you receive your insurance letter, please email or mail a copy to us as soon as possible and ensure that the following details are included:

  • Start Date
  • Gradual Return to Work Date
  • Change of Employment Status Date
  • End Date