Hudson Valley Attorney for NYS Retirement Disability Benefits
More than half a million active police and fire and other public employees participate in the New York State & Local Retirement System (NYSLRS). This system provides both service retirement and disability retirement benefits to covered employees. Unfortunately, applying for disability benefits and actually receiving disability benefits are two different things, and navigating the system to a successful conclusion can be a daunting task. Highland disability attorney Peter M. Cordovano helps public employees in the mid-Hudson Valley obtain their benefits when they have become disabled and can no longer work. The law office of Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. helps PFRS Tier 3 police officers and fire fighters and ERS Tier 5 public employees obtain disability benefits under Article 14 and Article 15.
How NYS retirement disability works
NYSLRS is a defined benefit plan, with eligibility for disability and amounts based on six criteria:
- Membership tier
- Retirement plan
- Credited service in the system
- Final average salary (FAS)
- Age at retirement
- Whether disability resulted from an on-the-job accident
The last of these criteria is the most common source of disagreement when your application for disability benefits is challenged or denied. The main grounds for application denial are either:
- You are not permanently incapacitated for the performance of your duties
- You were not injured in an “accident” as defined by NY Retirement and Social Law section 63.
The question of permanent incapacity involves scrutinizing the job description and eliciting the doctor’s judgment on whether you can perform the precise duties and responsibilities given your functional impairments resulting from your disability. Attorney Peter Cordovano has both a medical and a legal background and knows who to talk to doctors and work with them to properly develop the facts of the case.
To prove an accidental injury, the focus is on the “precipitating cause” and whether the accident is so out of the ordinary that there was no reasonable expectation of such an event ever occurring. This can of course be a difficult standard to meet. The accident must be one which is not a risk of the work performed. This definition of accident for the purposes of NYS retirement disability is different from Workers’ Comp or other definitions and is more limiting than what most of us would think of as an accident. You need a skillful and knowledgeable attorney to develop your case and present it in a compelling manner.
There are many complicated issues which may come up when applying for NYS retirement disability, and you will benefit by having a lawyer advise and represent you who is experienced in all aspects of workplace injuries, disability and retirement matters. For instance:
- If you are eligible for retirement disability, you can apply for service retirement and disability retirement benefits at the same time; there is no early age reduction for disability benefits.
- If you are also applying for Workers’ Compensation, your retirement benefit may be reduced by amounts received from Workers’ Comp, depending on your tier, plan and type of disability benefit.
- If you are a Tier 3 member applying for Article 14 ordinary disability or accidental disability, you can have your benefit reduced by 50% of the primary Social Security benefit based on your earnings from public employment in NYS. This Coordinated Escalator Offset (CO/ESC) begins at age 62 and is in addition to any Workers’ Comp reduction.
Get Experienced Legal Help with NYS Retirement Disability Benefits
If your NYSLRS Article 14 or Article 15 benefits were denied, you only have four months to appeal that denial. Seek help as soon as possible from an experienced disability attorney who understands what it takes to get NYS disability benefits and how the NYSLRS benefits may be affected by Workers’ Comp or Social Security. Hudson Valley disability attorney Peter Cordovano understands all of these issues and has been helping injured workers obtain benefits in all of these areas for decades. Call Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. in Highland for help with your disability case.