This page is about disability pension – not Social Security Disability.
First, my best advice: consider an attorney -- but not just any attorney - a disability attorney. You must find a retiree with the disability specialty.. not your sister's divorce attorney! Attorneys specialize and you need special attention...
Most disability pension lawyers will do a free consultation with you. They will determine if they can likely win the pension and will take on your case with no fees -- Until you win.
Why hire an attorney?
Another huge reason is that someone with a disability has disability medical concerns and multiple prescriptions, household expenses, and more - all which may cloud your logical thinking process. You might be slightly depressed, angry, and don't need this additional stress.
Hire an Attorney - Let them deal with it...
Save your Energies to Get Well!!
Now - If you are a member of a defined benefit pension plan, you might have a disability retirement option. Normally, there are eligibility requirements before you can apply to assure you are eligible for a disability retirement... for example, ten years of service.
The employee applies for the disability retirement and might sign off on a medical waiver so that the employer can request medical documentation. Most retirement administrators will then schedule the applicant for a medical examination -- usually an IME (independant medical examination). This is a medical consultant service -- not the employer's doctor, and not the employee's doctor. That allows the exam and the medical opinion to be fair and unbiased.
IF the Disability Retirement is approved, the applicant becomes a retiree with retirement benefits like other retirees.
Many plans also require annual independent medical exam's until normal retirement age happens.
Disability could happen to you, Nobody ever plans a Disability Retirement...
If you are ill or injured but continue to work -- start a file now. Keep dates of medical appointments and procedures and copies of bills. I've seen huge binders full of medical documentation -- and it all helps later for both disability pensions and Social Security disabilities!