Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2021.04. Disability retirement.

(a) Any teacher who completes 5 years of eligible service, and who, before becoming eligible for retirement under the conditions defined in §§ 38-2021.01 to 38-2021.03, acquires a physical or mental disability and is incapable of satisfactorily performing the duties of his position by reason of disease or injury not due to vicious habits, intemperance, or willful misconduct on the part of the teacher, shall upon his own application or upon order of the Board of Education as provided later in this section be retired on an annuity computed in accordance with the provisions of §§ 38-2021.05 and 38-2021.06 and beginning on the day after his pay ceases and he meets the service and disability requirements for title to annuity. Proof of freedom from vicious habits, intemperance, or willful misconduct for a period of more than 5 years next prior to having a disability for useful and efficient service shall not be required in any case. No claim shall be allowed under the provisions of this section unless the application for retirement shall have been executed prior to the applicant’s separation from the service or within 6 months thereafter. No teacher shall be retired under the provisions of this section unless examined under the direction of the Director of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia, and as a result of said examination, in his judgment, or in the judgment of the Superintendent of Schools concurred in by two thirds of the members of the Board of Education, shall have been found to be physically or mentally incapacitated for efficient service.

(b) Every annuitant retired under the provisions of this section, unless the disability for which retired be permanent in character, shall at the expiration of one year from the date of such retirement and annually thereafter, until reaching retirement age as defined in § 38-2021.03, be examined under the direction of the Director of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia in order to ascertain the nature and degree of the annuitant’s disability, if any. If an annuitant shall recover before reaching retirement age he shall be reappointed by the Board of Education in accordance with such rules and regulations as the said Board may prescribe to the first position, equal or similar to any position in the public schools occupied by the annuitant before retirement, which becomes vacant after the date the Board of Education receives written notification from the Director of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia that the annuitant has recovered and is able to discharge his duties as a teacher in the public schools of the District of Columbia. Payment of the annuity shall be continued until the date of reappointment by the Board of Education. In the event that the annuitant refuses to accept the employment prescribed in this section no annuity shall be paid after the date of such refusal. Should the annuitant fail to appear for examination as required under this section, payment of the annuity shall be suspended until continuance of the disability shall have been satisfactorily established. Upon written recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education may order or direct at any time such medical or other examination as it shall deem necessary to determine the facts relative to the nature and degree of disability of any teacher retired on an annuity under this section.

(b-1) Any initiation, termination, or change of annuity payments made under subsection (b) of this section shall be subject to review and final determination by the District of Columbia Retirement Board.

(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, if during any calendar year an annuitant who is receiving a disability annuity under this section and who has not reached retirement age (as defined in § 38-2021.03) receives income from wages or self-employment, or both, in an amount not less then 80% of the current rate of pay of the position occupied by the annuitant before retirement, the annuity of such annuitant shall be terminated by the District of Columbia Retirement Board effective January 1st of the first calendar year after such calendar year, except that this sentence shall not apply with respect to income received during the year in which the annuitant retired. The annuity of any annuitant whose annuity is terminated under the preceding sentence shall be restored, at the rate which would have been in effect but for such termination, effective January 1st of any year following a year during which the amount of such annuitant’s income from wages and self-employment is less than 80% of the current rate of pay of the position occupied by the annuitant before retirement, or effective immediately if the District of Columbia Retirement Board determines that, outside of normal fluctuations in such annuitant’s income, such annuitant’s income is reduced to a level which on an annual basis is less than 80% of such current rate of pay.

(d) In cases where the annuity is discontinued under the provisions of this section, as much of the annuity payments as would have been provided by an annuity whose actuarial value at the time of retirement was equal to the contributions accumulated with interest shall be charged against the teacher’s individual account and, unless the teacher shall become reemployed in a position covered under the Teachers’ Retirement Program established pursuant to the Chapter 9 of Title 1 [§ 1-901.01 et seq.], the teacher shall be considered as having been separated from the service for other than retirement purposes and entitled to the benefits set forth in § 38-2021.09.


(Aug. 7, 1946, 60 Stat. 877, ch. 779, § 4; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 6, 1952, 66 Stat. 17, ch. 95, § 3; June 4, 1957, 71 Stat. 46, Pub. L. 85-46, § 1; Dec. 29, 1967, 81 Stat. 747, Pub. L. 90-231, § 1(3); Nov. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 866, Pub. L. 96-122, § 256; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 55(b), 52 DCR 2638; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 56, 53 DCR 6198; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-312, § 2(c), 60 DCR 3434.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1225.

1973 Ed., § 31-724.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2021.05, § 38-2021.06, § 38-2021.09, § 38-2021.27, and § 38-2023.11.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354 added subsec. (b-1); and, in subsec. (c), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Board of Education”.

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “acquires a physical or mental disability and is” for “becomes physically or mentally disabled and” and “having a disability” for “becoming so disabled”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-312 rewrote (d).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of (d), see § 2(c) of the Retirement of Public-School Teachers Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-584, January 1, 2013, 60 DCR 134).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the Retirement of Public-School Teachers Omnibus Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-41, March 25, 2013, 60 DCR 5361, 20 DCSTAT 527).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(c) of D.C. Law 19-313 amended (d) to read as follows:

“(d) In cases where the annuity is discontinued under the provisions of this section, as much of the annuity payments as would have been provided by an annuity whose actuarial value at the time of retirement was equal to the contributions accumulated with interest shall be charged against the teacher’s individual account and, unless the teacher shall become reemployed in a position covered under the Teachers’ Retirement Program established pursuant to the Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Retirement Benefit Replacement Plan Act of 1998, effective September 18, 1998 (D.C. Law 12-152; D.C. Official Code § 1-901.01 et seq.), the teacher shall be considered as having been separated from the service for other than retirement purposes and entitled to the benefits set forth in section 9.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 19-313 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: Section 1 of the Act of August 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, provided that the Health Officer of the District of Columbia would be known as the Director of Public Health. The Health Department of the District of Columbia, including the office of the head thereof, was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 57 of the Board of Commissioners, dated June 30, 1953, and Reorganization Order No. 52, dated June 30, 1953, combined and redesignated Organization Order No. 141, dated February 11, 1964, established, under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Health headed by a Director, for the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public health and hospital care programs, and for performing certain other allied medical and paramedical functions. The Anatomical Board was established under the direction and control of the Director of Public Health consisting of members as prescribed in the D.C. Code. The Order prior to redesignation abolished the previously existing Health Department, Gallinger Hospital, Glenn Dale Sanatorium, and the Anatomical Board and transferred their functions and positions to the new Department. The organization of the new Department was set out in the Order. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions stated in Organization Order No. 141 were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980, which Plan established the Department of Human Services.