CalPERS Disability Retirement: The Benefits Of Asking For A Reasonable Accommodation

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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California state employees who file for CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) disability retirement take on an enormous financial and legal burden trying to prove their disability. CalPERS disability retirement lawyers say the a better strategy may be to demand that your employer accommodate your medical condition instead.

CalPERS Disability Retirement: Your Employer’s Responsibilities

According to CalPERS disability retirement lawyers, if you ask your employer for a reasonable accommodation and it says that it cannot provide one, then it must do these three things:

  1. file a disability-retirement application and bear the financial and legal burden of proving why it cannot accommodate you
  2. find a way to keep you on the payroll or pay you the estimated disability retirement allowance while it awaits a decision from CalPERS
  3. keep your insurance up to date while it awaits a decision from CalPERS

Unfortunately, taking a service-retirement basically means that you’ve resigned from your job, something that too many employees do too early and end up losing the opportunity to demand job reinstatement or reinstatement to an active payroll status if CalPERS denies their disability.

CalPERS Disability Retirement: How The System Is Supposed To Work

According to CalPERS disability lawyers, here’s the way the CalPERS disability retirement system is supposed to work:

  • CalPERS approval. If CalPERS grants the State employer’s application for disability retirement, then the employee should smoothly transition from an active payroll to that of a retired employee.
  • CalPERS denial. If CalPERS denies the State employer’s disability retirement application, then your employer, by its own expense, can attempt to have that denial reversed through an administrative hearing or judicial review. If the CalPERS’s denial is not reversed, the employer must reinstate you to your former position and pay the back pay and benefits differential between the estimated disability retirement advances and the employee’s actual pay and benefits.

Unfortunately, many employees (and some employers as well) simply don’t understand the process. This is where an experienced CalPERS disability retirement lawyer can help.

CalPERS Disability Retirement Lawyers Can Help

CalPERS disability retirement lawsuits are complicated as they encompass many areas of law including workers compensation, FEHA (Fair Employment & Housing Act) and PERS (Public Employees Retirement System). If you need help in these matters, contact an experienced CalPERS disability retirement lawyer as soon as your doctor tells you that you have permanent work restrictions or permanent work limitations. This is especially true if you believe that your employer won’t accommodate your disability.

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