Disability Administration Review – Update

November 01, 2017

In a previous e-news, we announced that a review of our disability administration process and communication materials was underway. The purpose of the review was to streamline processes, enhance education and training materials, simplify communications, and address pain points that were brought forward from our members and employers.

This review included extensive discussions with our members, employers and stakeholders to better understand the issues and obstacles that they face.

What We Heard

Members, employers, and stakeholders feel that our communications and forms are confusing, the process is complex and our current approach allows too much discretion.

Employers asked us to provide:

  • Consistent administration guidelines.
  • Additional support tools, including an OMERS disability expert to assist with complex cases.
  • More follow-ups with members.
  • An automated and simplified process.

Our Response

Over the next eight months, we will be making changes to our disability administration process in four distinct areas:

1. COMMUNICATION

  • Simpler communications in general
  • Streamlined letters and forms
  • New follow-up procedures for members who do not respond

2. CONSISTENT ADMINISTRATION GUIDELINES

Effective June 1, 2018, all employers must report an employee's disability by the first day of the fifth month following the month in which their disability occurred. This change is designed to address concerns that the current approach makes it difficult to ensure consistency and fairness.

UPDATE: The above change will not take effect June 1. Instead, it will take effect on July 1, 2018 when the other disability changes are implemented.

The new process will be:

  • When a member’s absence from work, due to illness or injury, continues beyond four months, the employer will notify OMERS by the first day of the fifth month, through the submission of the Request for an OMERS Plan benefit – e-Form 143.
  • OMERS will send the disability application package to the member.
  • OMERS will notify the employer whether the disability benefit is approved.
  • While employers have until June 1, 2018 to make this change, we strongly encourage you to implement it sooner if possible.

3. STRENGTHEN SUPPORT FOR DISABILITY ADMINISTRATION

We are creating a new Disability Claims Manager role to strengthen support for disability administration. The Disability Claims Manager will provide clarification and assist employers, members and unions/associations with complex cases, including modified work, rehabilitation and return-to-work protocols.

4. SYSTEM ENHANCEMENTS

We are in the process of updating our pension administration system and as a result, system enhancements will be considered at a future date. System enhancements could include:

  • The ability for employers to upload and pull reports through e-access
  • Self-service functionality.

5. ADMINISTRATIVE TRAINING AND SUPPORT

We will continue to engage with our employers over the next few months as we develop business processes in support of these changes, which take into consideration our employers' administrative views. We will provide:

  • Updated training materials and administrative guidelines.
  • Enhanced administrative support.
  • Go-Live "tool kit" with information to help employers with the new process.

Next Steps

We’ll keep you posted as we work through the details, update our training and supporting materials and move closer to implementing these changes. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact OMERS Client Services.