Meeting CalPERS Disability Retirement Requirements Under the “Nolan” Case
As the Long Beach and Anaheim area’s leading CalPERS attorneys, many clients have come to our office because they were wrongly denied Disability Retirement benefits. One of the most common reasons for their denial is that they did not understand what they needed to “prove” in order to be awarded CalPERS Disability Retirement benefits.
Fortunately, this is an area in which our skilled and experienced CalPERS attorneys have a lot of experience – and we can help client overcome this obstacle.
Why CalPERS Disability Retirement is Denied Under the “Nolan” Case
Much of the confusion and difficultly for CalPERS Disability Retirement applicants comes from a single California Supreme Court decision issued back in 2004. That case, Nolan v. City of Anaheim, affects many applications for CalPERS disability retirement.
The retirement law itself seemed pretty straightforward up until this case. Government Code Section 21156 expressly states that a CalPERS member may qualify for disability retirement by establishing that they are “incapacitated physically or mentally for the performance of their duties in State service”.
So, in accordance with the letter of the law, CalPERS previously defined “their duties in State service” to mean the actual duties the employee was performing when they became disabled under their current government employer. In other words, before Nolan, when you submitted an application for disability retirement, and you established that you were unable to perform your current duties, the application was approved.
But the California Supreme Court’s decision in the Nolan case changes that. Now, it is not enough that an employee establish substantial incapacity from performing their usual work duties for your current employer.
Under Nolan an employee must also show that they are incapacitated from performing any of the usual duties of the position for all other CalPERS employers. Stated another way, if a worker is capable of performing the usual duties of any another CalPERS covered position or job, and if there are positions available that are similar in pay, benefits, and promotional opportunities, they will not qualify for disability retirement.
Our CalPERS Attorneys Can Help
Unfortunately, because of the large amount of money at stake, CalPERS will often question or deny Disability Retirement Benefits. This can be devastating for the disabled public servant who has devoted their career to public service.
An experienced CalPERS attorney understands these requirements and can fight to prove that you are unable to perform any CalPERS jobs, and/or that there are no positions available that are similar in pay, benefits, and promotional opportunities.
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 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