One of the most common misconceptions is that suffering from pre-existing diseases and/or conditions is an automatic disqualifier from receiving accidental disability retirement benefits. Nevertheless, many applications for accidental disability retirement benefits are denied by the various pension boards due to an employee’s total and permanent disability being attributable to a pre-existing disease or condition.

When filing an application for disability retirement benefits with any of New Jersey public employee pension systems, there are a myriad of considerations that must be taken into account and certain pitfalls that can occur along the way. One of the considerations and/or pitfalls that must be considered is whether a member has any active

As indicated in our post last week, deciding whether to utilize an attorney when filing for application for disability retirement benefits is an important initial consideration. Many individuals utilize the services of an attorney, while others do not. Nevertheless, many applications for disability retirement are routinely rejected by a Board of Trustees of a pension

Our office receives daily telephone calls and emails from New Jersey public employees who have either been injured at work, or are experiencing an unfortunate medical episode that leaves them with the inability to continue public employment. While each call has unique facts and circumstances, they are very much the same in that the individual

As reported in multiple news sources, the current New Jersey State budget signed into law by Governor Philip Murphy increased state spending by more than one billion dollars and a large portion of that increase is going to the state’s grossly underfunded public-employee pension system.

The new budget adds $700 million to what the state

As reported by NJ.com, Governor Phil Murphy’s administration is rolling back a change to New Jersey’s public worker pension system that Chris Christie slipped in during the waning days of his administration that raised government contributions by more than $800 million. The acting State Treasurer, Elizabeth Muoio, said Christie’s surprise reduction in assumed rate

The Appellate Division once again the considered the “undesigned and unexpected” standard as it pertains to qualifying for accidental disability retirement benefits in the case of Mason v. Bd. of Trustees, Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. In the case, the appellant alleged she was injured while qualifying with a firearm for her work as

This blog entry will focus upon our review of certain statutory proposals currently pending in the New Jersey Legislature concerning the pay status of law enforcement officers when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days. These proposals are set forth in Assembly Bill Number 3481

Assembly Bill 3481 concerns the suspensions of certain law enforcement officers and firefighters and supplements Title 40A of the New Jersey statutes and specifically amends N.J.S.A. 40A:14-150 and N.J.S.A. 40A:14-22. In essence, the bill allows certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to regain pay status when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days.

The first part of the bill provides:

When a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency…that is subject to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes is suspended from performing his official duties without pay for a complaint or charges, other than (1) a complaint or charges relating to the subject matter of a pending criminal investigation…whether pre-indictment or post indictment, or (2) when the complaint or charges allege conduct that also would constitute a violation of the criminal laws of this State or any other jurisdiction, and the law enforcement agency employing the officer…seeks to terminate that officer’s…employment for the conduct that was the basis for the officer’s…suspension without pay, a final determination on the officer’s…suspension and termination shall be rendered within 180 calendar days from the date the officer…is suspended without pay.Continue Reading Legislative Proposal Seeks to Provide Law Enforcement Officers Pay Status When Appeals of Termination Are Not Resolved Within 180 Days

Following up on our previous entry, this article will help our readers understand the criteria that must be met in order for a public employee to qualify for an ordinary or accidental disability pension within one of the following State pension systems, the Public Employees Retirement System, the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund, the State Police Retirement System, and the Judicial Retirement System. While these pension plans are similar in defined benefits and criteria for eligibility, each has their own specific nuances that are particular to the membership they serve. 

Accidental v. Ordinary Disability Benefits

Public Employees Retirement System and Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund

In accordance with the Public Employees Retirement System (“PERS”) and Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (“TPAF”) handbooks, in order to qualify for an ordinary disability retirement, an employee must:

·         Have an active pension account;

·         Have 10 or more years of New Jersey service credit;

·         Be considered totally and permanently disabled; and

·         Submit medical reports certifying the disability.

In order to qualify for an accidental disability retirement, a member must:

·         Be an active member of PERS or TPAF on the date of the “traumatic event”;

·         Be considered totally and permanently disabled as a result of a “traumatic event” that happened during and as a direct result of carrying out the member’s regular or assigned job duties;

·         File an application for disability retirement within five (5) years of the date of the “traumatic event”; and

·         Be examined by physicians selected by the retirement system.

If an employee claiming membership to either one of these retirement funds qualified for accidental disability, his/her annual retirement allowance will be 72.7% of their salary at the time of the “traumatic event.”

Should the public employee be receiving periodic workers’ compensation benefits, the accidental disability retirement benefits will be reduced dollar for dollar by the periodic benefits paid after the retirement date. However, the retirement benefit is not reduced by any Social Security or private insurance benefits that may be payable.

The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits reports accidental disability retirement benefits as exempt from federal income tax. The benefits are also Continue Reading The Difference Between Accidental and Ordinary Disability Benefits Under PERS, TPAF, SPRS, and JRS