Public Pensions Lawyer in California

If you are employed in any capacity by the government, whether local, state or federal, and have a retirement pension, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to turn the retirement pension into a retirement disability pension. Eligibility depends on the length of your employment and if you are unable to return to work in any capacity.  Informing the retirement agency of your intention to file for a disability retirement may be something that you need to do upon the submission of your retirement application.  You need to check that out when the decision has been made to file.

In California, there are many retirement systems for which government workers participate in.  Many governments workers participate in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS) CALPERS covers state, school, and contracting local public agency employees.  Also, there are a number Counties that offer their own retirement systems. Some of the counties which have retirement systems are Los Angeles County (LACERA), Orange County (OCERS), Kern County (KCERA),  San Bernardino County (SBCERA), Alameda County (ACERA), Contra Costa County (CCCERA), Fresno County (FCERA), Imperial County (ICERS), Marin County (MCERA), Merced County (MCERA), Sacramento County, San Diego County (SDCERA), San Joaquin County (SJCERA), San Mateo County(SAMCERA), Santa Barbara County (SBCERS), Sonoma County, Tulare County (TCERA), and Ventura County(VCERA.)  Further, there is a special retirements system for educators.  It is the California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS) that administers these accounts.  Also, there are retirement systems for Cities.  For example, there is the Los Angeles City Employee’s Retirement System(LACERS) which handles City of Los Angeles employees.

Retirement systems have different rules.  Some retirement systems have different rules for various members.   For example, CALPERS has different rules for each plan that is part of the CALPERS system.  These rules can affect the eligibility for service connected disability retirements.

For some disability retirements, the injury or illness does not need to be job-related. Any accident or illness that results in a physical or mental disability severe enough so that the public employee is unable to return to their job may qualify them to collect a disability pension instead of waiting to reach the eligibility age for their retirement pension.

For example, a teacher who is not yet at retirement age may be injured so severely in a car accident that he or she will never be able to return to the career as a teacher. If a physician determines the disability is permanent, the teacher may apply for disability retirement benefits.

Unfortunately, the process is not as easy as it seems. Many government employees find their applications are denied for a number of reasons. An attorney experienced in public pensions can help.

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Call the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation

Attorney Edward Singer is knowledgeable and can assist those applying for disability retirement. He notes that some of the main reasons that initial applications for disability retirement are denied include:

  • Documents verifying that a medical condition prevents a return to work are insufficient or incomplete.
  • Forms are improperly filled out.
  • The complex application procedure is confusing and some important steps are not followed.

Even if forms are correctly filled out, there are eligibility requirements that must be met. The requirements vary depending on the actual government entity which is the employer, but most all require:

  • The claim must be presented within a certain time of the date when the disability occurs.
  • The employee must have been employed for a certain period of time by the government entity. Generally, this is a minimum of five years, but may be longer.
  • There must be medical documentation and a physician statement that the person can no longer work at their former job.
  • There are no accommodations that the employer can provide that will make it possible for the employee to do his or her former job.

At the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, we actively assist disability retirement pension claims by public employees. We will vigorously pursue your application. If your application has been denied, we will diligently work on your appeal in order to obtain your disability retirement benefits. Contact us today via our online form or by calling 310-849-5679. Our offices are located at 2222 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016 in west Los Angeles just off of Exit 8 from the I-10.