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Accidental Disability Retirement Benefits
Massachusetts provides accidental disability benefits to public employees who contribute to the public employee pension system. This benefit is available to employees working in the public sector.
In order to be eligible for this benefit, workers must prove they are unable to perform the essential duties of his or her job and that such inability is likely to be permanent. In addition the injured worker must show:
1. The worker suffered a personal injury "while in the performance of his/her duties at a definite time and place and without serious or willful misconduct on his/her part."
2. A Notice of Injury must be or have been submitted to the employer and the retirement board within 90 days of the injury. This notice must include the time and place of the injury. It must also include a detailed description explaining exactly how the injury occurred. This is an official record that confirms the details of the injury. It is vitally important that this notice be filed because in many cases, the worker doesn't become permanently disabled for months or years after the injury actually occurred. The only exception to the notice requirement is if the employee, or dependent, filed a workers compensation claim within the 90 day period.
3. The injury is such that the worker can no longer perform the duties of the job. In order to prove this, the application process is detailed. A medical panel is established to evaluate the claim. All medical records are presented to this panel and an independent medical examination by three doctors is conducted. The results of the examination are submitted to the retirement board.
Workers must submit a detailed personal statement of their employment history, their background and physical capabilities. The Employers are then required by law to provide a detailed description of their job duties and explain how the accident happened and why that has made it impossible for them to continue in their job. Witness names must be provided to the panel.
Medical records will be required from all doctors visited in the five years prior to the date of the claimed disability. Records of any hospitalization and medical tests for the same five year period will also be required.
Employers will be contacted to provide confirmation of the workers' account as to the job duties and injury. They will be asked if they agree that the worker can no longer perform the job where the injury occurred.
Finally, the worker is required to meet personally with the panel at a hearing. The panel will then send its recommendation to PERAC.
The application for this accidental disability benefit is complex. There is a lot of paperwork to be submitted and deadlines that must be met for submitting it. The application procedure and ultimate decision as to whether or not to grant benefits is governed by the Massachusetts General Laws and the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission. The written rules that cover this process consume multiple pages. Legal assistance for preparing this claim can be obtained at the law offices of Kantrovitz & Kantrovitz.