New CalPERS Disability Retirement Rules:
Is Someone Watching You?
In 2017 the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) issued additional new mandates, in a Circular Letter informing all of their contracting public agencies of six requirements pertaining to the disability retirement of local safety members.
In the year since the release of these requirements, our Anaheim area CalPERS attorneys have been closely monitoring the effect that these requisites will have on CalPERS disability retirement cases.
Two of the most sweeping issues created by the new CalPERS mandate is are the establishment of a longer time period for extended and uncertain disabilities, as well as a duty to reevaluate (and even place under surveillance!) disability retirees.
Evidence of Continuous Disability
To qualify for CalPERS disability retirement, a workers’ disability must be permanent or “extended and uncertain.” Previously, “extended and uncertain” was accepted by CalPERS as lasting for a time period of six-months. Although this length of time was “unofficial” it had been adopted as the standard used.
The new mandate, however, expressly states that for a disability to be considered “extended and uncertain” the disability must last at least twelve consecutive months from the date of the disability retirement application.
Of course, CalPERS also requires medical records and documentation of the physical or mental incapacity to perform their duties – from one year before their last day of physical work continuously to the present.
Duty to Re-Evaluate Disability Retirees
The 2017 Circular Letter also required that regular re-evaluations of disability be performed for all disability retirees who are under voluntary service retirement age. These re-evaluations are supposed to “to verify whether the recipient remains physically or mentally disabled from the position which they disability retired for the condition(s) that they were approved for.”
In other words, CalPERS will be watching and reevaluating you even after you have been approved for disability retirement benefits. The CalPERS mandate recommends gathering all sorts of additional information, including:
- a duty statement and physical requirements of the job for comparison
- an independent medical examination if deemed necessary
- a list of treating physician(s) and contact information
- medical records since retirement
Further, if the disabled retiree is not being treated or the medical records are insufficient, the CalPERS member may be evaluated by an Independent Medical Examiner.
And the Circular Letter goes even further telling the employer to consider surveillance! In other words, don’t be surprised if you are followed to the grocery store, snooped on while you are playing golf. In some cases our attorneys have even heard of applicants’ friends and neighbors being questioned for evidence that the worker are not disabled.
Our CalPERS Attorneys Can Help
Unfortunately, because of the large amount of money at stake, CalPERS will often question or deny Disability Retirement Benefits. And the 2017 Circular Letter gives government employers even more ammunition to use against public servants who truly deserve disability retirement benefits.
For this reason it is more important than ever the consult with an experienced Anaheim area CalPERS disability retirement attorney.
Our experienced CalPERS attorney have assisted hundreds of injured, ill or disabled teachers, police officers, administrators, transportation & airport workers, firefighters, corrections personnel and other public employees collect the maximum Disability Retirement Benefits for which they qualify.
Free Consultation with a CalPERs Disability Retirement Attorney: 800-964-8047
This article applies to members of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS); and does not reflect the rules, laws or regulations governing how other public retirement systems are administered. If you have question about another public employee retirement system, find your system, below – or call our office at: 562-622-4800