New York State, New York City and many local municipalities provide retirement disability benefits to their public employees who can no longer work because of illness, accidents or other disabilities. Unfortunately, getting a pension for a disability is not as easy as filling out an application. A poorly prepared or incomplete application presented by an individual increases the likelihood that the application will be denied. Additionally, retirement system reviewers are just not going to accept you or your doctor at your word. They are going to require very specific and substantial medical evidence and other substantiating documentation.
You can avoid getting off to such a poor start by seeking legal advice right at the start of this process. In fact, the best opportunity to guarantee a successful outcome to your case is right at the beginning by getting the help of people who are experts in the various disability pension systems and who can help you avoid all the pitfalls.
Understanding Municipal Disability Pensions
If you have a permanent injury or illness and are no longer able to perform the duties of your job title, you may be eligible to apply for a Municipal Disability Pension. If you are employed by a municipality, such as a City, County, Town or Village, or if you are a New York State employee, you are most likely a member of the New York City Retirement System, or the New York State and Local Retirement System.
It is important to know what system you are a member of, as well as your Tier. This will determine what type of Disability Pension you can apply for and how much the benefit will pay. Your Tier is determined by the day that you joined or rejoined a Retirement System.
An application must be filed with the appropriate retirement System within that System's strict time limits. Each System also has very specific requirements regarding such issues as time on the job, whether the injury is due to an accident or incident, documentation, proof and deadlines for filing. The law firm of McIntyre, Donohue, Salmonson, Accardi, & Riordan, LLP has dedicated many years to helping workers sort through the many confusing issues involved with filing and processing these applications. We are with you at every step, from beginning to successful conclusion.
Types of Municipal Disability Claims
There are many different types of Applications. They can sometimes fall into two general categories: Accidents and Incidents. Accidents are generally known as unusual events, such as motor vehicle accidents, slips on debris, chairs breaking, assaults, etc. Incidents are generally known as exertional type injuries resulting from events such as lifting, carrying, bending, twisting, etc. or repetitive strain type injuries. Your years of creditable service, tier, and whether the event can be classified as an accident or incident are very important in determining the proper type of application to file for and in determining possible benefits.
Other Rights and Remedies
In addition to a Disability Pension, you may be entitled to Workers' Compensation, and a possible Negligence Lawsuit (if your injuries were caused by someone other than your employer or fellow employee). If you are unable to return to any other gainful employment you may also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
To qualify for a Disability Pension, you must prove that you are permanently disabled and unable to perform your job duties. In many instances you must also prove that your injury is the result of an on the job "Accident". If you must prove this, it is very important to describe the incident with enough detail to satisfy the requirements for your type of Pension benefit. This is a deceptively complicated area of the law, and therefore we highly recommend anyone interested in filing for these type of benefits to contact us immediately.