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The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) is an independent state agency that administers retirement and other benefits to members

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“The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) is an independent state agency that administers retirement and other benefits for members of VRS, the State Police Officers’ Retirement System (SPORS), the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS) and the Judicial Retirement System (JRS)… Members include full-time permanent, salaried state employees; public college and university employees and faculty; school division employees; and employees of VRS-participating political subdivisions. Some part-time permanent, salaried state employees also are covered under VRS.” -

Automatic VRS membership applies for those in a ‘covered position’ (a covered employee is a full-time permanent salaried position with an employer that participates in the VRS or under an optional retirement plan (ORP) administered by VRS. Some part-time permanent, salaried state positions and non-adjunct faculty positions requiring at least 20 hours, but less than 40 hours a week are also covered).
​- Also eligible are “state employees hired before January 1, 1999, if [they] retained [their] eligibility to be considered for VRS disability retirement instead of electing to transfer to the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP)”

State agencies, public colleges and universities and local public school divisions provide VRS retirement. Counties/ cities/ towns, public authorities, commissions and other political subdivisions may elect to participate in VRS instead of offering their own plans as well.

So who is NOT eligible?

  • You are not eligible for disability retirement if you are not working in a VRS-covered position or you are:
  • Covered under the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP)
  • Defer retirement
  • Leave employment and take a refund of your member contributions and interest
  • Participate in an optional retirement plan administered or authorized by VRS
  • Have a disability that is not likely to be permanent.

Like SSDI (social security disability benefits), a candidate is most likely going to get denied twice so they should not get discouraged

“Under the Code of Virginia, “disability” means the VRS member is, and has been continuously since the effective date of retirement, mentally or physically incapacitated for the further performance of duty and the incapacity is likely to be permanent. A VRS member shall not be retired for disability for any condition which existed at the time of becoming a member unless medical evidence, convincing to the Medical Board, supports the fact that the pre-existing condition has worsened substantially.

If a VRS member is mentally or physically unable to perform their job, but the disabling condition is not likely permanent, the individual will not qualify for VRS disability retirement benefits.” (

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