The Orange County Employee’s Retirement System (OCERS) and Your Workers’ Compensation Case: What You Need to Know?

Your monthly Service-connected Disability Retirement allowance will be equal to 50 percent of your Final Average Salary, subject to limitations for reciprocal members. If you are eligible for a Service Retirement allowance, you will receive the greater of your Disability Retirement allowance or your Service Retirement allowance, subject to limitations for reciprocal members. A Service-connected Disability Retirement allowance is currently exempt from taxes up to 50 percent of your Final Average Salary. Any portion above 50 percent of your Final Average Salary is taxable. If you have any questions regarding the taxability of your Service-connected Disability Allowance, please consult a tax professional.

Are there different kinds of disability retirements provided by OCERS?

Yes. OCERS provides for both service connected and non-service connected disability retirements.

What the requirements to qualify for a non-service connected disability retirement?

You are eligible for a Non-service-connected Disability Retirement allowance if you have five or more years of Service Credit.

What are the requirements to qualify for a service connected disability retirement? deems you are permanently physically or mentally incapacitated from performing the usual duties of any permanent assignment in your job classification. AND • Your incapacity arose out of, and in the course of your employment, and such employment contributed substantially to your being incapacitated.

What are the requirements of proving a non-service disability retirement?

It must be determined that you are permanently physically or mentally incapacitated from performing the usual duties of any permanent assignment in your job classification and your disability is not due to a job-related illness or injury.

What is OCERS’s definition of disability?

You must be found to be deemed permanently physically or mentally incapacitated from performing the usual duties of any permanent assignment in your job classification. Retirement law is very complex and there are complex issues with respect to disability. It is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney with respect to it.

What is OCERS’s definition of service-connected?

Industrial causation is proven by showing that your incapacity arose out of, and in the course of your employment, and such employment contributed substantially to your being incapacitated. Again, retirement law is very complex and there are complex issues with respect to causation. It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney with respect to it.

I have a Workers’ Compensation Claim, Should I pursue a OCERS retirement?

Maybe. If you believe that you can no longer do your job, then you must give strong consideration towards pursuing one. First, it is recommended that you contact OCERS. If you are considering a disability or service-connected disability retirement, you should bring that to that attention of the representative so that you can get an accurate work-up.

Second, I recommend that you meet with an attorney with retirement knowledge so that you can analyze the facts of your disability and whether you would be able to satisfy each requirement.

If I can’t do my job, should I quit my job and file for retirement? Should I cash out my retirement?

Absolutely not. You should consult both OCERS and a lawyer before taking any action concerning your employment status or cashing out your retirement. Terminating your employment can serious repercussions.

Does winning my Workers’ Compensation case mean that I win my retirement case?

No. As stated above, OCERS has different rules with respect to both industrial causation and as to disability. Medical providers are required to express opinions with respect to retirement law. Under Workers’ Compensation Law, the medical providers only have to express an opinion within reasonable medical probability that the injury arose out of and in the course of employment. Further, the doctors in workers’ compensation do not address concept of permanent incapacity as required in retirement law.

A retirement case involves the development of additional medical-legal opinion to satisfy the burdens for disability retirements. This may include the generation of additional evidence in order to satisfy the requirements of OCERS.

Can a Workers’ Compensation Case help in obtaining a Disability Retirement?

Yes. The Workers’ Compensation system allows for an injured worker to obtain evidence that will assist them in providing their retirement case. The Workers’ Compensation system allows for injured workers to obtain diagnostic testing such as MRIs and EMG nerve studies which can prove both an injury and the extent of the injury. Workers’ Compensation allows injured workers to obtain medical records which can also assist. Further, the Workers’ Compensation system may provide the injured worker a treating physician who can fill out documents that are required to complete the OCERS application. Further, that physician may be called to testify at a OCERS hearing.

With more than 23 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, is here to assist. If you have any questions concerning your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. Please contact us today concerning any workers’ compensation questions or issues.