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Workers Comp/4850 help request

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  • Workers Comp/4850 help request

    Hi all

    I'm looking for anyone with similar experience or expertise.

    I am over 50 and have been employed as a Cal PO for 28 yrs. I suffered a back injury that is not being disputed by anyone. I have been off work on 4850 time since Feb '07. The Doc rated me permanent and stationary in Sept. The city's workers comp insurance immediatley stopped payments to me. For the last 4 weeks I have not been getting paid!! Then the city asked me to sign an unpaid leave of absence form (I haven't and don't plan on signing). Along with this they have stopped my med insurance payments.

    This all appears to be in conflict with 4850 which states in part that:

    4850. (a) Whenever any person listed in subdivision (b) who is a member of the Public Employees' Retirement System or the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System or subject to the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 31450) of Part 3 of Division 4 of Title 3 of the Government Code), is disabled, whether temporarily or permanently, by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of his or her duties, he or she shall become entitled, regardless of his or her period of service with the city, county, or district, to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments under Section 139.5, if any, which would be payable under this chapter, for the period of the disability, but not exceeding one year, or until that earlier date as he or she is retired on permanent disability pension, and is actually receiving disability pension payments, or advanced disability pension payments pursuant to Section 4850.3.

    I will get a disability retirement but in the mean time I'm having to burn savings to pay the bills. Of course I have an attoney, but I was hoping to hear any similar stories to take to him. Thanks.

  • #2
    I don't know all the fine points & loopholes, but for as far back as I can remember, every time someone became P&S, their 4850 time stopped and they either went back to work (if able) or retired.

    In my case, I applied for service retirement pending approval of disability retirement in June of 2005. I started getting my regular checks within about six weeks. Two years later (June of 2007) they sent me a letter telling me my disability retirement had been approved but I have yet to see a change in the withholding on my checks (for the tax free portion) and I am still waiting for the amended W2s for 2005 and 2006.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
      I don't know all the fine points & loopholes, but for as far back as I can remember, every time someone became P&S, their 4850 time stopped and they either went back to work (if able) or retired.

      In my case, I applied for service retirement pending approval of disability retirement in June of 2005. I started getting my regular checks within about six weeks. Two years later (June of 2007) they sent me a letter telling me my disability retirement had been approved but I have yet to see a change in the withholding on my checks (for the tax free portion) and I am still waiting for the amended W2s for 2005 and 2006.
      Thanks. In my experience injured officers went back to work when able or stayed on 4850 for a year regardless of the P&S status. I have never heard of an officer's pay stopping before the year was up. It sounds like my disability retirement isn't going to be an issue at this point. So you were without pay for 6 weeks?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sr6m8 View Post
        Thanks. In my experience injured officers went back to work when able or stayed on 4850 for a year regardless of the P&S status. I have never heard of an officer's pay stopping before the year was up. It sounds like my disability retirement isn't going to be an issue at this point. So you were without pay for 6 weeks?
        Yes. But they paid out all my unused vacation and CTO in lump sum so I came out ahead on the deal.

        At first I thought it was better to burn off my leave credits and then retire, in order to bring up my highest single year. But then I did the math and figured out how much I would be missing in back retirement checks and financially, it made a lot more sense to retire immediately and take my leave credits in lump sum.
        Last edited by L-1; 10-03-2007, 02:41 PM.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

        Comment


        • #5
          As I read what you are saying, you have been determined "permanent and stable" for what? Have you inquired if that means you may return to work; or, is the injury stablized that you need no further treatment; or, are there no treatment options available; and, more importantly, have you applied for a disability retirement?

          I would strongly recommend you consult with an attorney who specializes in workman's comp and disability. If your association does not have a recommended attorney, contact PORAC or discuss it with your association representative.

          4850 time is for use as long as the injury is NOT permanent and stable. Once that has been declared, you must initiate the appropriate action requests or return to work.

          Good luck to you. I know how you feel.
          Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

          [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by L-1 View Post
            Yes. But they paid out all my unused vacation and CTO in lump sum so I came out ahead on the deal.

            At first I thought it was better to burn off my leave credits and then retire, in order to bring up my highest single year. But then I did the math and figured out how much I would be missing in back retirement checks and financially, it made a lot more sense to retire immediately and take my leave credits in lump sum.
            Makes sense to me, my city is going to pay me over 21K to clear my balances.

            Comment


            • #7
              oops duplicate post
              Last edited by sr6m8; 10-03-2007, 03:54 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
                As I read what you are saying, you have been determined "permanent and stable" for what? Have you inquired if that means you may return to work; or, is the injury stablized that you need no further treatment; or, are there no treatment options available; and, more importantly, have you applied for a disability retirement?

                I would strongly recommend you consult with an attorney who specializes in workman's comp and disability. If your association does not have a recommended attorney, contact PORAC or discuss it with your association representative.

                4850 time is for use as long as the injury is NOT permanent and stable. Once that has been declared, you must initiate the appropriate action requests or return to work.

                Good luck to you. I know how you feel.
                I am P&S, unable to return to police work. I have an attorney who is too busy it seems

                The law that I quoted above (4850) says that I shall be paid until I am receiving my disability retirement, regardless of my being temporarily or permanently disabled, for a period up to a year...as I read it. I plan on a disablity retirement, but that is up to the city to initiate.

                Thanks for your input and any followup info you may have.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Are you PERS? When I retired on a medical (I was not 50) the City continued to pay me what was estimated to be my retirement salary until PERS kicked in (6 to 8 weeks). Then PERS automatically reimbursed the City. I didn't need my attorney for that part. You do have to be your own advocate & make the calls to PERS & your agency. If you need clarification on your monthly retirement rate, ask to talk to a "Calculator". They can break it down for you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eagleI View Post
                    Are you PERS? When I retired on a medical (I was not 50) the City continued to pay me what was estimated to be my retirement salary until PERS kicked in (6 to 8 weeks). Then PERS automatically reimbursed the City. I didn't need my attorney for that part. You do have to be your own advocate & make the calls to PERS & your agency. If you need clarification on your monthly retirement rate, ask to talk to a "Calculator". They can break it down for you.
                    That was very decent of them! Yep I'm PERS. I have an attorney to make sure that I receive what I'm entitled to. So far I'm not too pleased with how the city is dealing with this. The notifications and the process has not been smooth the last month. Thanks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sr6m8 View Post
                      I plan on a disablity retirement, but that is up to the city to initiate. So far I'm not too pleased with how the city is dealing with this. The notifications and the process has not been smooth the last month
                      FWIW, a lot of people get pi**ed with their city because they don't understand how the process works or what the employer can or is prohibited from doing when it comes to disability retirements. This lack of knowledge often causes false assumptions, suspicion and a belief that you are getting royally screwed when often you are not. It might be worth your time to find out who in your city oversees the disability retirement process, take them to lunch, ask them to talk you through the process, explain how everything works and tell you what the rules are. Don't try to negotiate with them on behalf of your case (that's your attorney's job) just go there to learn. I suspect you will walk away with a whole different picture of what's going on.

                      With respect to your case, I would not rely on your agency to file for disability retirement on your behalf - you need to do it yourself or through your attorney. When a California cop is injured to the point that they can no longer do their job, they usually receive a form letter from their agency offering several options: demote to a job that is within their physical capabilities; transfer to a job that is within their physical capabilities; undergo vocational rehabilitation; or retire. The letter usually says that if you fail to make a choice, your department will make one for you. However, this doesn't mean they will file for retirement on your behalf. It means they may demote you to dispatcher, or phone clerk at city yards, both of which are non-sworn positions that pay less than your cop pension. Once demoted, your sense of dignity will call for you to retire, but it may be hard to qualify for that 50% tax free public safety pension because you are now retiring as a dispatcher and not a cop, or it may be hard to qualify for that retired police ID card and CCW endorsement because you will now be retiring as a city yards phone clerk and not a cop. In the end you will probably win these things, but it just adds an extra level of struggle you and your attorney don't need.

                      Don't screw around with this or wait for your department to do it for you. Speak with your attorney. First ask about voc rehab and let them send you to polygraph school or cooking school or whatever. If you qualify, it should add a few extra months of voc rehab 4850 time (above and beyond your regular 4850 time that just ended). Then you need to file for retirement, to start the day after your voc rehab 4850 time runs out.
                      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                        FWIW, a lot of people get pi**ed with their city because they don't understand how the process works or what the employer can or is prohibited from doing when it comes to disability retirements. This lack of knowledge often causes false assumptions, suspicion and a belief that you are getting royally screwed when often you are not. It might be worth your time to find out who in your city oversees the disability retirement process, take them to lunch, ask them to talk you through the process, explain how everything works and tell you what the rules are. Don't try to negotiate with them on behalf of your case (that's your attorney's job) just go there to learn. I suspect you will walk away with a whole different picture of what's going on.

                        With respect to your case, I would not rely on your agency to file for disability retirement on your behalf - you need to do it yourself or through your attorney. When a California cop is injured to the point that they can no longer do their job, they usually receive a form letter from their agency offering several options: demote to a job that is within their physical capabilities; transfer to a job that is within their physical capabilities; undergo vocational rehabilitation; or retire. The letter usually says that if you fail to make a choice, your department will make one for you. However, this doesn't mean they will file for retirement on your behalf. It means they may demote you to dispatcher, or phone clerk at city yards, both of which are non-sworn positions that pay less than your cop pension. Once demoted, your sense of dignity will call for you to retire, but it may be hard to qualify for that 50% tax free public safety pension because you are now retiring as a dispatcher and not a cop, or it may be hard to qualify for that retired police ID card and CCW endorsement because you will now be retiring as a city yards phone clerk and not a cop. In the end you will probably win these things, but it just adds an extra level of struggle you and your attorney don't need.

                        Don't screw around with this or wait for your department to do it for you. Speak with your attorney. First ask about voc rehab and let them send you to polygraph school or cooking school or whatever. If you qualify, it should add a few extra months of voc rehab 4850 time (above and beyond your regular 4850 time that just ended). Then you need to file for retirement, to start the day after your voc rehab 4850 time runs out.
                        Thanks, a lot of this has been done. The meeting took place and I turned down other city jobs. I think that I have a pretty good understanding of that process as I have been researching it over the last 6 months. The problem I have is that I think that they are violating 4850 by not paying me until I am deamed ready to return to work or actually receiving disabilty retirement payments.

                        I can initiate a service retirement but the city has to initiate a disabilty retirement (by saying that "we are going to retire you")at this point as I am not suitable for other city jobs. I can take a service retirement pending disability retirement, but that's not the way that I want to go. Nobody in the city or the insurance company has shown me the law or case decision that states that this is the way this process is supposed to go. I keep going back to the wording of 4850 (in my original post).

                        My attorney is working on all of this, hopefully he can come up with some answers. He thought that they should be paying me still also.
                        Last edited by sr6m8; 10-03-2007, 06:02 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sr6m8 View Post
                          The problem I have is that I think that they are violating 4850 by not paying me until I am deamed ready to return to work or actually receiving disabilty retirement payments.
                          Actually, you jogged my memory. The Association of California Highway Patrolmen was involved in such a battle a little while back on behalf of its members and won. Later, the WCAB came out with a similar ruling. The only catch is that IOD time for CHP is paid under 4800.5 LC rather than 4850. However, I believe both laws are essentially worded the same. PM me and I'll give you contact info for CAHP. They can give you info on any case decisions.

                          Originally posted by sr6m8 View Post
                          I can initiate a service retirement but the city has to initiate a disabilty retirement (by saying that "we are going to retire you")at this point as I am not suitable for other city jobs.
                          Usually this is accomplished by you sitting down with a designated manager or supervisor within your agency. Together you fill out and sign a form describing the physical demands of your job. This is then submitted with YOUR application for disability retirement. PERS will compare this against a form your doctor will fill out for them, telling what you can or can't do. PERS then contacts your agency who confirms that they have no other positions for you.

                          In order to process your retirement there are a ton of forms you must fill out and submit because they contain information only you will know. Again, I hate to nag, but PLEASE double check with your agency and confirm with them that they are going apply for an IOD retirement on your behalf. Otherwise, both of you may sit there for months, each thinking the other is going to do it. Remember, PERS will only let you apply for a retroactive retirement for a few month period. If both of you screw this up, you could lose a few months pension.

                          Originally posted by sr6m8 View Post
                          I can take a service retirement pending disability retirement, but that's not the way that I want to go. Nobody in the city or the insurance company has shown me the law or case decision that states that this is the way this process is supposed to go.
                          I don't know what the waiting period is now, but when I applied, PERS said it was taking them 12 to 18 months to process IOD retirements. It took them 24 months just to "tell" me I was approved and at 28 months, I still have not seen any change in my status or any amended W2s for 2005 or 2006. Had I not taken service pending disability, they would have starved me out. If you choose to go for a straight IOD pension, you may need to have lots of cash saved up to tide you over.

                          Again, don't forget to pursue voc rehab. It can extend your basic 4850 time by several more months and in doing so, increase your highest year's average for the purpose of computing your pension.

                          Best of luck.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We have fought the battle!

                            I'll pm you to find out your location.

                            Lots of info to address. 4850 is one year of your base pay tax free.
                            They go to temporary disability until you are deemed permanant and stationary.

                            Hopefully you have Long Term Disability (LTD) and they can subsidize your paycheck. BUT the fine print says you have to notify them within 2 years of the date of injury. Don't wait for them to call you!

                            As for your retirement, file your disability retirement paperwork immediately. Our dept takes a year on the date it is filed to approve. Trust me, they will not contact you and say, Hey where is your retirement papers!

                            Depx1 made $177 a week for the three years that we fought this system. Don't know about you but that doesn't buy crap.

                            Arnold our Gov has also messed with the workman's comp system in a terrible way. Depending on your dept retirement system you may be ahead on a regular retirement.

                            Don't get mad as I will tell you straight up. On a disability retirement you get 50% tax free with lifetime medical on the injury, plus a settlement on your rating and your health insurance. Your attorney gets his change on your settlement. But here is the catch. Even though they SAY they will give you lifetime medical on your injury...THEY WILL NOT!

                            They will eventually get to...well if it is not correcting the problem we are NOT going to approve the treatment for it. So your chiropractic visits that are necessary to maintain YOUR quality of life will be numbered. Their number is twelve visits a year...after you are sent to a QME and jump through their hoops. They consider chiropractic care a maintenance. (Depx1 went 55 times in one year!) So now we have to pay for anything more than 12 visits(ACOEM Guidelines) at 45 dollars a pop (no pun intended).

                            They will freely prescribe all the medications you can get hooked on and that masks the problem.

                            On your reg retirement, you get x amount of dollars, plus your health insurance. Your health insurance will NOT cover your w/c injury. But your w/c injury will not be covered anyway..so what's the difference?

                            Voc rehab is a joke, sorry L-1. 16K was allotted, 4K to the counselor to decide what you are able to do, 6K for the basic computer course and the rest is your salary.

                            I have files on everything we went through. If you have questions..pm me and ask. PM me a thousand times if you need to. Been there done it. You need to stay in contact with others who are going thru this...compare notes and don't feel like they are attacking you personally.

                            I can go on and on re: this subject. It irks me and arghhh! I couldn't imagine being the person WITH the injury trying to deal with this nonsense.

                            I know I have forgotten something....I'll re read and post again.

                            check your pm's

                            Good luck and stay strong.
                            Last edited by deputy x 2; 10-03-2007, 11:54 PM. Reason: corrected
                            This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deputy x 2 View Post
                              Voc rehab is a joke, sorry L-1. 16K was allotted, 4K to the counselor to decide what you are able to do, 6K for the basic computer course and the rest is your salary.
                              The same here. 4 K for the counselor and 4.5 K for the school. But there was some mechanism that changed the remaining 7.5K for salary into 8.75 months of 4800 time ($71,750). Again, I don't understand how it worked but for that kind of money, who am I to question the wisdom of the system?
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                              Comment

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