ASSEMBLY, No. 1610

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.

District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  NANCY F. MUNOZ

District 21 (Essex, Morris, Somerset and Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires that ordinary disability retirement in certain State-administered retirement systems be granted only if member has qualified for federal Social Security Disability benefits.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning ordinary disability retirement under certain State-administered retirement systems and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  N.J.S.18A:66-39 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:66-39.  a.  Before June 9, 1971, a member, who shall have been a teacher and a member of the retirement system for each of the 10 years next preceding his retirement, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees, on a regular disability allowance if he is under 60 years of age and on a service allowance if he has reached or passed that age.  The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and should be retired.

     b.  On and after June 9, 1971, a member, under 60 years of age, who has 10 or more years of credit for New Jersey service, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees. [The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and should be retired] An ordinary disability retirement shall be approved by the board of trustees only if the member has qualified to receive federal Social Security Disability benefits under Social Security Administration rules.

     c.  A member, under 65 years of age, shall, upon the application of his employer or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired by the board of trustees, if said member is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular or assigned duties, on an accidental disability allowance.  A traumatic event occurring during voluntary performance of regular or assigned duties at a place of employment before or after required hours of employment which is not in violation of any valid work rule of the employer or otherwise prohibited by the employer shall be deemed as occurring during the performance of regular or assigned duties.

     The application to accomplish such retirement must be filed within five years of the original traumatic event, but the board of trustees may consider an application filed after the five-year period if it can be factually demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board of trustees that the disability is due to the accident and the filing was not accomplished within the five-year period due to a delayed manifestation of the disability or to circumstances beyond the control of the member.

     Permanent and total disability resulting from a cardiovascular, pulmonary or musculo-skeletal condition which was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty shall be deemed an ordinary disability.

     Before consideration of an application for accidental disability allowance by the board of trustees, the physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of the member at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that he is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty, and should be retired, and the employer shall have certified to the board that the member is permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of his regular and assigned duties, the time and place where the duty causing the disability was performed, that the disability was not the result of his willful negligence and that the member should be retired.

(cf: P.L.1986, c.51, s.1)

 

     2.  Section 12 of P.L.1973, c.140 (C.43:6A-12) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  Whenever the Supreme Court shall certify to the Governor, any member who shall have served as a judge of the several courts, may be retired for disability if the member has become physically or otherwise incapacitated for full and efficient service to the State in his judicial capacity [.  The Governor shall thereupon refer the disability claim to three physicians of skill and repute in their profession and residents of this State who shall examine the member and report to the Governor as to his physical or other disability and whether in all reasonable probability, if they find the disability existent, it will continue permanently and does and will continue to prevent the member from giving full and efficient service in the performance of his judicial duties.   If the report confirms the existence of the disability, and if the Governor approves the report, the] and if the member has qualified to receive federal Social Security Disability benefits under Social Security Administration rules.  The member shall be retired not less than 1 month next following the date of filing of an application with the retirement system, and he shall receive a retirement allowance which shall consist of an annuity which is the actuarial equivalent of his accumulated deductions together with regular interest, and a pension which, when added to the member's annuity, will provide a retirement allowance during the remainder of his life in an amount equal to three-fourths of his final salary.

(cf: P.L.1981, c.470, s.6)

 

     3.  Section 42 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-42) is amended to read as follows:

     42.  A member, under 60 years of age, who has 10 or more years of credit for New Jersey service, shall, upon the application of the head of the department in which he shall have been employed or upon his own application or the application of one acting in his behalf, be retired for ordinary disability by the board of trustees.  [The physician or physicians designated by the board shall have first made a medical examination of him at his residence or at any other place mutually agreed upon and shall have certified to the board that the  member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty and  should be retired] An ordinary disability retirement shall be approved by the board of trustees only if the member has qualified to receive federal Social Security Disability benefits under Social Security Administration rules.

     The service requirement provisions of this amendatory and supplementary act shall not become effective for 5 years following the effective date of the  act.

(cf: P.L.1966, c.67, s.3)

 

     4.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that an ordinary disability retirement under the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), and the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) be granted to an eligible retirement system member only if the member has qualified to receive federal Social Security disability benefits under Social Security Administration rules.

     This bill establishes a stricter eligibility standard for ordinary disability retirement with respect to what qualifies as a disability.  Under current State law, a medical examination has to show that an eligible member is physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of the member’s current job duties, but the member is not restricted from obtaining other employment after retiring on ordinary disability.  If a PERS or TPAF member obtains employment while on ordinary disability retirement, the member’s ordinary disability allowance is reduced so that the member’s total income does not exceed the income the member would have earned in the position from which the member retired.

     In contrast, under Social Security Administration rules, a person would qualify to receive a Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit only if the person suffers from a medical condition that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.  To be eligible for a disability benefit, the disability must be so severe that the person cannot perform his or her current job, and cannot perform any other job.  A person receiving an SSD benefit would lose that benefit upon return to employment.