Accidental Disability Retirement For Massachusetts State Employees
If you are a Massachusetts public employee who is a member of the Massachusetts contributory retirement system, and you have been injured or exposed to hazardous conditions while performing your job, you may be eligible for Accidental Disability Retirement (ADR) Benefits.
Chapter 32 of the Massachusetts laws guarantee that you are able to apply for benefits if you were injured in the performance of job duties at your place of employment and are no longer able to do the essential functions of your job. Benefits are paid at 72% of your recent pay rate.
Who is eligible to apply for accidental disability retirement?
You may be eligible to apply if you are unable to perform the essential duties of your job because of a personal injury sustained or you were exposed to a health hazard while performing your duties at a specific, documented time and place, and without serious and willful misconduct on your part.
Should I notify my retirement board if I am injured on the job?
Yes, it is extremely important that you file a notice of injury with your retirement board as well as with your employer within 90 days of the occurrence of the injury or exposure to establish the time, place, and occurrence of the accident or hazard for future reference.
How do I apply for Accidental Disability Retirement Benefits?
You must file a Member’s Application for Disability Retirement with your retirement board to apply for ADR benefits. You can request the application from your retirement board, or download a copy of the application form the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) website: www.mass.gov/perac.
It is important to fully complete your application. If any required information is missing, your retirement board cannot assign a date of application. The date of application determines the effective date of your retirement and your retirement allowance date.
The application requires
- A statement of your job duties
- Your employment history
- Statements about your background, qualifications and recent physical activities
- The reason for accidental disability
- Information about incident reports and witnesses
- Information about filing for a grievance, Workers’ Compensation or Section 111F benefits
- Information about emergency medical treatment
- A listing of all hospitals and medical facilities from which you sought treatment within the last five years
- A listing of physicians with whom you have consulted or from whom you sought treatment within the last five years
- The name and address of your personal physician
- If you are represented by an attorney in connection with your application, the name and address of your attorney
- The name and address of relevant insurance carriers
- Authorizations for release of insurance records, medical records and tax records
- Your regional medical panel selection choice
What To Expect After Submitting Your ADR Application
Your retirement board will submit a written form to your employer requesting a description of the essential duties that you are required to perform in your current position as well as other information.
The retirement board will also submit a form to your personal physician asking for
- A diagnosis of your condition and whether or not it is likely to be permanent
- Information about your medical treatment and history
- Assessment of your ability to perform your job duties
Once the required documents have been received, your retirement board will ask PERAC to appoint a medical panel to examine you.
Is the Medical Panel Exam required for my Accidental Disability Retirement case?
Yes, as part of your case, you must be examined by a Regional Medical Panel of doctors. You can choose whether or not you want to be examined by three doctors at once in a single examination, or attend three separate examinations conducted by each of the three doctors, who will conduct an examination and certify that
- You are unable to perform the essential duties of his or her particular job?
- You are physically or mentally incapable of performing the essential duties of his or her job?
- That said incapacity likely to be permanent
- The said incapacity such as might be the natural and proximate cause of the personal injury sustained or hazard undergone on account of which retirement is claimed?
Within 60 days after completing its examination, the medical panel will submit the medical panel report and complete a medical panel issued by PERAC. In order for you to receive a disability benefit, the medical panel must certify that:
- You are unable to perform the essential duties of your particular job
- The disability is likely to be permanent
- The disability is the natural and proximate result of the personal injury sustained or the hazard undergone
Time Frames That Govern The Disability Retirement Application And Determination Process
The regional medical panel should meet within 60 days of being appointed by PERAC to conduct its examination.
- You will be given 14 days notice of the scheduled examination.
- The regional medical panel will report their findings and submit their recommendations to PERAC within 60 days of completing their examination(s)
- Within 5 days of receipt of a properly completed medical report, PERAC will forward the report to your retirement board.
- Within 30 days of its receipt of the report, your retirement board will notify you of the panel’s findings and provide you with a copy of all of the documents completed by the regional medical panel.
- Your retirement board has the option at this point of requesting further information or clarification from the regional medical panel if they determine that it would be helpful.
- If the determination of the regional medical panel precludes retirement for the disability you claimed, your retirement board will either deny your application or they will ask PERAC for a new regional medical panel if they believe that circumstances warrant it.
- If PERAC declines to schedule a new examination, your retirement board will deny your application.
- If the determination of the regional medical panel permits retirement for the disability you claimed, your retirement board shall determine whether or not to approve the application. A hearing may be held on any disability retirement application and must be held upon your request.
- If a hearing is scheduled, your board must give you at least 30 days’ notice of the time and place for the hearing and the issues involved.
- Your retirement board’s decision about your eligibility for disability retirement must be made no later than 180 days after you file your completed application unless PERAC grants an extension.
- If your retirement board approves your application, it will be transmitted to PERAC for final action. PERAC must act on your application within 30 days of its receipt.
- PERAC will either approve your application or remand your application to the retirement board for further action.
- If your retirement board denies your application, your retirement board will advise you of your right to appeal the decision.
What if my case is denied?
There is an appeals process if your Retirement Board denies your case. The decision is appealed to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.
Appeals must be filed within a strict time period, and an attorney may represent your retirement board. This is why choosing an attorney who has experience with Accidental Disability Retirement and Ordinary Disability Retirement cases can help you: Your attorney ensures that your rights are protected throughout the process.
How can you help me with my accidental disability retirement case?
We can help you with the entire process to ensure that your case is approved within the appropriate time frame, we can handle the appeal process, and we ensure that your rights are protected.
We have many years of experience representing injured parties and their families. Our staff of four attorneys and legal professionals are available to assist you in all aspects of your injury claim.
Contact Us For Help
Call Pierce, Pierce & Napolitano at 978-935-4632 to talk about your accidental disability retirement claim. We’ll discuss your options and guide you through the steps of applying for ADR benefits for you and your family.