MN PERA Duty Disability Application Tips – Be Cautious of Misinformation
At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we represent more police officers, firefighters, and other first responders injured in the line of duty than any other law firm in the State of Minnesota. The attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. have more experience representing public servants in their claims for PERA Duty Disability benefits than any other attorney in the State of Minnesota.
When finding an attorney to assist you in your pursuit for benefits it is very important to know how many PERA claims he or she has pursued. Frighteningly, we’ve seen a solo practitioner advertise for PERA Duty Disability applications “helps and tips” on a website that lists incorrect information. Misinformation can seriously harm your claim. Your claim for Duty Disability or regular disability benefits in conjunction with Healthcare Continuation benefits can be worth over a half a million dollars. The amounts of money at stake with each claim are too high to jeopardize by retaining counsel who doesn’t know what he or she is doing. He or she may not know how the PERA disability benefits are coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota and this inexperience or ignorance will hurt your claim.
First and foremost, please do NOT “get your employer on board.” This is truly terrible legal advice! In almost all PERA disability cases it is best NOT to let your employer know that you are applying for PERA Duty Disability or regular disability benefits until after you have submitted your application. The employer may know that a disability pension is inevitable in your case but letting them know too early could jeopardize work comp benefits and your Healthcare Continuation benefits. The entity could send you for an Independent Medical Exam (IME) which is almost always adverse and could become discoverable by PERA and affect your claim negatively. A sophisticated public entity, such as the City of Minneapolis or the City of St. Paul who frequently deals with PERA claims will also know that they may be on the hook for Healthcare Continuation benefits if your application is approved and therefore be responsible for very significant sums of money.
Moreover, it is NOT your employer’s responsibility to submit all First Reports of Injuries (FROIs) to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). Nor is it your employer’s responsibility to submit a job description. A job description can be requested from Human Resources or experienced PERA attorneys generally already have your job description on file. PERA does contact your employer once your application has passed the first stages and will request a “unit certification form” from the employer. PERA should contact the employer, not you.
Additionally, you need TWO not just ONE doctor to sign off on your application for PERA Duty Disability benefits. The requisite PERA form is quite complex and PERA has strict rules on what they will and will not accept on the form. It’s best to talk to an attorney first before you discuss this benefit with your doctor. Your doctor might not understand that you are not asking for total complete disability benefits but rather a disability benefit that allows you to work outside of law enforcement and or the fire service.
It is vital that attorneys coordinate work comp claims, PERA Duty Disability claims, and Healthcare Continuations claims. Sometimes employers try to force workers into signing employment law releases as part of his or her work comp agreement. You may be unknowingly waiving your ability to receive Healthcare Continuation benefits.
When deciding to apply for PERA Duty Disability benefits or Healthcare Continuation benefits, do your research. Go online. Ask your coworkers for recommendations. At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we are confident that if you ask around your station or department you’ll find coworkers who have used our services and we come highly recommended. Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few workers’ compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of State Patrol, police officers and firefighters throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERS/MSRS disability claims. Sitting down with us for a consultation to learn more about your potential claims is a lot like financial planning. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier to navigate. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-877-746-5680.