In New Jersey, public employees are entitled to disability pension benefits when they either:
There are several different types of New Jersey Disability Pensions, including the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) and the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Each has its own requirements and rights, and PFRS members have additional pensions available to them.
Members with active pension accounts, 10+ years of New Jersey service credit in the pension system and proof that they are considered totally and permanently disabled and unable to perform their job duties with no hope for significant improvement, qualify for this benefit. It provides 43.6 percent of their Final Average Salary (FAS which is the average over the 36 months immediately preceding the retirement, or the three highest fiscal years of salary if those last 36 months were not their highest salary years. The pension isn’t reduced by Social Security, private insurance payments or Workers’ Compensation payments, though Workers’ Compensation may be reduced by the disability pension.
Members who suffer a disabling accident on the job and who have active pension accounts, who are active members of PERS or TPAF on the date of the accident and who are totally and permanently disabled as a result, with no hope of returning to their duties, are entitled to accidental disability pension. A traumatic event is defined as having a violent level of force or impact not induced by normal work effort and that was involuntary. Slip and fall accidents do not count, nor do heart attacks or similar events. The benefit provides 72.7 percent of base salary at the time of the traumatic event. This amount will be reduced by Workers’ Compensation benefits. Applying and being approved for any of these benefits generally takes between three to five months if all goes well, though the process can become adversarial. You may be sent a denial letter for the pension you’ve requested. Understanding the qualifications and rights that go with each type of pension can be difficult, but the personal injury attorneys at Malamut & Associates can help clear up all your questions. Call us today to learn more about the application process, the benefits and more.