135-107. Optional Retirement Program.

(a) Any participant of the Optional Retirement Program who becomes a beneficiary under the Plan shall be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits so long as the beneficiary is disabled and is in receipt of a primary Social Security disability benefit until the time the beneficiary would first qualify for an unreduced service retirement benefit had the beneficiary elected to be a member of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System, and shall receive no service accruals as otherwise provided members of the Retirement System under the provisions of G.S. 135-4(y). In the event a beneficiary who was a participant in the Optional Retirement Program has not been approved and is not in receipt of a primary Social Security disability benefit, the long-term disability benefit shall cease after the first 36 months of the long-term disability period. However, a beneficiary shall be entitled to a restoration of the long-term disability benefit in the event the Social Security Administration grants a retroactive approval for primary Social Security disability benefits with a benefit effective date within the first 36 months of the long-term disability period. In such event, the long-term disability benefit shall be restored retroactively to the date of cessation.

(b) If a participant of the Optional Retirement Program owes an overpayment to the Disability Income Plan at the time the beneficiary would first qualify for an unreduced retirement benefit had the member elected to be a member of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System, then the participant shall pay the total overpayment amount due to the Disability Income Plan. If the participant fails to pay the total amount of the overpayment due to the Disability Income Plan within six months after the earliest age at which the member could retire on an unreduced retirement allowance, then the participant shall not be allowed to enroll in a new year of coverage under the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees until one of the following occurs:

(1) The Disability Income Plan receives from the participant payment in full of the total overpayment due.

(2) The participant has made payment arrangements approved by the Executive Director of the Retirement System. (1987, c. 738, s. 29(q); 2007-325, s. 3; 2021-75, s. 6.1(a).)