Disability Retirement Law Issues
Disability retirement is a type of benefit certain federal and California state employees are eligible for if they are no longer able to work due to some injury or illness that is anticipated to be long-lasting or permanent. The decision of when and how to file for disability retirement is critical and best explained by employment lawyers in San Jose.
Industrial and Non-industrial Causes
Most disability retirement insurance programs allow a covered employee to receive benefits if they are disabled as a result of a work-related cause or a non-work-related cause or one that is partially attributable to each. In contrast, workers’ compensation provides benefits for an injury or illness that is exclusively job-related. Under certain circumstances, a worker may be eligible for both disability retirement and workers’ comp payments but must, except in rare circumstances, choose to receive benefits from one or the other, not both.
Nature of the Disability
Unlike other programs that offer disability benefits, disability retirement benefits offered through government programs do not require total disability; rather, the focus is on the worker’s ability to perform the functions of their current job. If there is an element of the job they cannot do, despite the fact that they can perform all the other elements of the job, they may be found to be disabled.
Length of Disability
Although some disabilities are in fact permanent, a worker need only show that their condition that prevents them from doing their job has lasted or is expected to last for one year.
A condition that existed before government employment began is not considered a barrier to receiving disability retirement. Many diseases, for example, are progressive, and, as long as the disabling symptoms of the condition appeared post-employment, the worker is eligible for benefits.
An employer may attempt to make some changes in the worker’s job functions to accommodate the worker’s abilities in consideration of their disability. Alternately, they may reassign the worker to a job in which they can fully function. The new job must be similar in pay, benefits and job location.
Contact Employment Lawyers in San Jose for Legal Advice
While the disabilities of some workers are clear-cut, many cases involve symptoms that are more difficult to prove. If you have been denied benefits, you need to explore your options on appeal. Call Lori Costanzo at 408-993-8493.