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  • Looking for knowledge about retiring due to injury in the line of duty

    About a year ago, I was injured in the line of duty while chasing a violent felon. It was a significant injury. I have had reconstructive surgery, and I'm midway through the process of about six months of physical therapy. There's a lot of stuff that I can do, but there is also a lot of stuff that I cannot do. For example, I would not be able to adequately defend myself in a physical altercation at this point.

    My wife was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she's now asking me about retiring to be able to spend more time with her. She's already had two surgeries, and we're looking at three more (that we know of).

    I don't know whether to expect a fight or not from the retirement system. I don't know if I need to hire an attorney or not. I really don't know how to proceed from here. I'm not comfortable with the superficial description of this type of retirement on our retirement system's web site, and I don't want to make major life decisions based upon some random telephone answer to my questions.
    Has anyone here pursued a retirement due to a significant injury in the line of duty? I'd be very interested to hear about it.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 04-11-2019, 03:32 PM.

  • #2
    Attorney. It is the findings by the Drs, not you, on if you are unable do the job. Be very careful with this. What state?
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Believe it or not, these are importan question that will have an impact on what you are considering:

      What state are you in?

      What retirement system are you under?

      Do you know what your state's criteria is for peace officer disability retirement?

      Are you at or below the minimum retirement age?

      If you are below the minimum retirement age, what disability retirement benefits does your retirement program offer, including COLA raises?

      If you are below the minimum retirement age, does your retirement system put any limitation on working another job while collecting disability retirement?

      How many hours of leave credit do you have saved up? (sick, vacation, PTO/CTO, etc.)

      Do you have enough money saved up in the bank as an emergency fund to live on for 12 months?

      I have to run right now, but I will explain the importance of this in a day or so.

      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        Its highly dependent on your retirement system and laws that govern it. I would defiantly want to sit down with an attorney with experience in your system before you say anything to anyone within the department. In some departments they will let you walk away if you get seriously injured. In other agencies you can get shot 5 times and have one of your arms ripped off by a mountain lion and they will fight you every step of the way. It sounds like things have been going real rough lately. Good Luck with it all and find a good lawyer and have a conversation with them about your particular situation.
        Last edited by SHU; 04-11-2019, 06:19 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          Believe it or not, these are importan question that will have an impact on what you are considering:

          What state are you in?

          What retirement system are you under?
          I believe you.

          For the time being, I would not be comfortable discussing the specifics of my situation on the internet.

          Do you know what your state's criteria is for peace officer disability retirement?
          "permanently incapacitated for the further performance of duty" as the result of an "unlooked for mishap or an untoward event which is not expected or designed, occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place.".

          As far as the first quote goes, the retirement system evaluates all of the evidence that I can present (doctors reports, images, etc.) as well as being interviewed by their medical board, which is comprised of three doctors. They then send a recommendation up the chain.

          As far as the second quote goes, I believe I have all of the elements of that nailed down. I was attempting to apprehend a violent felon, while on duty and in uniform, on a case that dispatch assigned me to, and the injury that I sustained fits their rather wordy definition of an unintentional injury.

          Are you at or below the minimum retirement age?

          If you are below the minimum retirement age, what disability retirement benefits does your retirement program offer, including COLA raises?

          If you are below the minimum retirement age, does your retirement system put any limitation on working another job while collecting disability retirement?
          I have reached the minimum retirement age, and I am fully vested in our retirement plan.

          How many hours of leave credit do you have saved up? (sick, vacation, PTO/CTO, etc.)
          I have a bunch, but I'm burning through it. By my estimation, I won't run out until around Christmas.

          Do you have enough money saved up in the bank as an emergency fund to live on for 12 months?
          No. With zero overtime for the last year and my wife's cancer, we are just about tapped out.

          I have to run right now, but I will explain the importance of this in a day or so.
          Thanks. I'd appreciate your input.

          Comment


          • #6
            I will reiterate what has been said above

            Find a good EXPERIENCED labor / workers comp attorney .

            I say workers comp becasue they often also know retirement systems
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

            Comment


            • #7
              CCC SD, L-1, SHU, and Iowa #1603, can I ask you to describe your experiences? How did the process go for you?
              Last edited by Aidokea; 04-11-2019, 09:51 PM.

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              • #8
                Sorry. I don’t discuss. Every case is different.
                Now go home and get your shine box!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Every state is different. Different disability retirement rules, medical boards, unions, lawyers, injury type, disability income % ,etc... all these factors make it impossible to give good advice. If in a union, ask your health & welfare officer, or equivalent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    First, I have to say I am surprised you are burning your own leave credits while recuperating from a work related injury. Unless your employer is disputing that your injury is work related or claiming you are not too incapacitated to work, you should be collecting some sort of workers compensation instead of burning leave credits or at best, only burning a few leave credits to supplement your workers compensation. Where I'm at, (California) unless your claim is disputed, you would not be touching your leave credits and instead be collecting up to one year of full pay, tax free while you recover to a point where you can terurn to full duty or become permanent and stationary (not going to get better or worse)

                    Here, each department must maintain a list of critical tasks an officer must be capable of performing. If it is determined you cannot perform any single one of those tasks as a result of your work related injury, you qualify for a disability retirement. How much you get depends on your age. If you are under minimum retirement age, you get 50% of your highest year's salary, tax free. If you are over the minimum retirement age, you get either what you would normally qualify for if you took a normal retirement, 50% tax free, or 50% of your highest year, tax free, whichever is greater.

                    The problem arises when an employer disputes an injury. You doin't get any workers comp, must burn off your leave credits and when they're gone, live off your savings while your case is settled. Many injured officers have been starved into returning to work prematurely that way.

                    The advantage you have is that you're at retirement age. You can file for regular retirement pending approval of disability retirement. That way, the money keeps coming in while your case gets settled.

                    This is not a do it yourself project and you really need to find an attorney who is versed in workers compensation for cops. The law, the workers comp system and the retirement system are all complicated. In my state, workers comp attorneys don't require cash up front but instead, get a percentage of your permanent disability rating. Permanent disability (which is separate from your pension) is a cash award that compensates you for your loss of value to the job market because of your injury. In my (multiple) cases, my attorney wound up making about $30k for perhaps 8 hours of work at best.

                    Of course, things may be totally different in your state, so I may have just sold you a pipe dream.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      First, I have to say I am surprised you are burning your own leave credits while recuperating from a work related injury. Unless your employer is disputing that your injury is work related or claiming you are not too incapacitated to work, you should be collecting some sort of workers compensation instead of burning leave credits or at best, only burning a few leave credits to supplement your workers compensation. Where I'm at, (California) unless your claim is disputed, you would not be touching your leave credits and instead be collecting up to one year of full pay, tax free while you recover to a point where you can terurn to full duty or become permanent and stationary (not going to get better or worse)
                      That's what is happening. Worker's comp paid me 100% of my salary for a certain number of months, but we've reached the point to where They're only paying me MOST of my salary, and I'm supplementing the rest with the sick time that I've banked over the years. But this is a retirement question, not a worker's comp question.

                      Here, each department must maintain a list of critical tasks an officer must be capable of performing. If it is determined you cannot perform any single one of those tasks as a result of your work related injury, you qualify for a disability retirement.
                      If I don't get better, I'm not going to be able to do things that a cop would need to do.

                      How much you get depends on your age. If you are under minimum retirement age, you get 50% of your highest year's salary, tax free. If you are over the minimum retirement age, you get either what you would normally qualify for if you took a normal retirement, 50% tax free, or 50% of your highest year, tax free, whichever is greater.
                      As I stated above, I am of retirement age, and I am fully vested in our retirement plan. The payout would be 50% of the average of my three highest years. I don't know about the tax-free part.

                      The problem arises when an employer disputes an injury. You doin't get any workers comp, must burn off your leave credits and when they're gone, live off your savings while your case is settled. Many injured officers have been starved into returning to work prematurely that way.
                      They're not disputing the injury. It was a pretty obvious thing. Plenty of witnesses. But again, my question is not a worker's comp question, it's a retirement question.

                      The advantage you have is that you're at retirement age. You can file for regular retirement pending approval of disability retirement. That way, the money keeps coming in while your case gets settled.
                      Now THAT is helpful. That's what they told me over the phone, but I appreciate your comment. Thank you.

                      This is not a do it yourself project and you really need to find an attorney who is versed in workers compensation for cops. The law, the workers comp system and the retirement system are all complicated. In my state, workers comp attorneys don't require cash up front but instead, get a percentage of your permanent disability rating. Permanent disability (which is separate from your pension) is a cash award that compensates you for your loss of value to the job market because of your injury. In my (multiple) cases, my attorney wound up making about $30k for perhaps 8 hours of work at best.
                      So you've had first-hand experience at this?

                      And are you saying that in addition to my retirement system having to pay out on this, that worker's comp would ALSO be cutting me checks if this injury retires me?

                      Of course, things may be totally different in your state, so I may have just sold you a pipe dream.
                      I understand that, but at this point any experience is better than my complete lack of experience.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You need an attorney. You are not understanding the replies.
                        Now go home and get your shine box!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aidokea View Post

                          That's what is happening. Worker's comp paid me 100% of my salary for a certain number of months, but we've reached the point to where They're only paying me MOST of my salary, and I'm supplementing the rest with the sick time that I've banked over the years. But this is a retirement question, not a worker's comp question.



                          If I don't get better, I'm not going to be able to do things that a cop would need to do.



                          As I stated above, I am of retirement age, and I am fully vested in our retirement plan. The payout would be 50% of the average of my three highest years. I don't know about the tax-free part.



                          They're not disputing the injury. It was a pretty obvious thing. Plenty of witnesses. But again, my question is not a worker's comp question, it's a retirement question.



                          Now THAT is helpful. That's what they told me over the phone, but I appreciate your comment. Thank you.



                          So you've had first-hand experience at this?

                          And are you saying that in addition to my retirement system having to pay out on this, that worker's comp would ALSO be cutting me checks if this injury retires me?



                          I understand that, but at this point any experience is better than my complete lack of experience.
                          My apologies, I laid all that out because you were unwiling to provide any details of your cirumstance, so I wanted you to have an understanding of what you might go through. Again, your mileage may vary depending on your state, your laws and your retirement system/ Had you been me forthcoming you would have saved me a lot of typing.

                          Again, you ask about what to expect from your retirement system and workers comp. I don't know. Again, it depends on where you are, which you decline to state. If you are in California, you will receive your pension from CalPERS or the County. In addition, SCIF or whoever your employer's wworker's comp carrier will pay you an amount of permanent disability to compensate you for your loss of value to the job market. Hoe muych they pay you will depend on how badly you are injured.

                          As CCCSD said, you need an attorney for this. If you are in California (and based on your description of exceeding your 4800 time) you should have been retired long ago and are blindly dragging this out for no good reason. If you are in another state I can't help you as your laws and benefits will no doube be different.

                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Attorney. Got it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
                              CCC SD, L-1, SHU, and Iowa #1603, can I ask you to describe your experiences? How did the process go for you?
                              I retired under normal circumstances
                              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                              Comment

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