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Monday, July 13, 2015

Understanding the Basics of New York Civil Service Disability Benefits

Am I eligible for disability retirement benefits as an employee of the Department of Corrections?

Fortunately, the financial security afforded by a disability pension through the State and City of New York is not limited solely to police officers and first responders. Other civil service employees are also entitled to certain benefits in the event of an on-the-job accident, injury or medical condition that precludes the continuation of work.  From the Department of Corrections to the Department of Sanitation, a disability pension may be available to help offset the enormous costs of medical bills and lost wages incurred as a result of a career-ending injury. We encourage you to contact an experienced civil service disability attorney as soon as possible following your injury in order to assure greater likelihood of success. 

Types of civil service accident claims

As a civil servant, there are generally two types of claims that can result in disability benefits. The first is known as a civil service accident, and is generally classified as a sudden, fortuitous, out- of- the-ordinary mischance that is injurious in impact, such as:

  • Slip and fall while on the job
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Injuries while effecting an arrest
  • Injuries while fighting a fire
  • Harm caused by defective equipment
  • Certain illnesses contracted by on-the-job exposure. 

Not all injuries at work qualify as accidents. Non-accidental injuries may also qualify for pension benefits. Typically they result in lesser monthly income than that of an accidental disability pension.

 

For Correction Officers to win a 3/4’s pay disability benefit, the cause of the disability must be incurred as the natural and proximate result of an act of an inmate. The only circumstance under which a Correction Officer may be eligible for a 3/4’s pension beyond such an event is if they qualify for a presumptive bill pension, such as the Heart Bill, the Infectious Disease Bill, or the World Trade Center Bill.

Navigating the tier system

There are several tiers within the civil service realm that help dictate the extent of a claimant’s eligible benefits. Within the non-uniformed sector (i.e., workers other than police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, emergency medical personnel, and sanitation workers), there are six pension tiers, and generally the longer a claimant has worked for New York, the greater the benefit available. Likewise, the tier will also determine whether a contribution is necessary, and what formula should be used to calculate the total benefit amount.

The process to obtain uniform civil service disability benefits in New York can be daunting, and we recommend seeking the assistance of a reputable attorney. For help, call the Seelig Law Offices at 212-766-0600. 


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