Law Change Regarding “Line of Duty” Disability Benefits Starts July 1, 2015

A gavel rests on a block sitting atop an incident report.

A recent bipartisan law change will come into effect starting July 1, 2015 that will affect the disability benefits for members of the Minnesota State Patrol and other state funded “peace officer” positions within the state. Statutory provision 352B.105 governs relevant disability benefits, and was amended by the recent Omnibus Retirement Bill Chapter 68, Article 12, Section 3.

Essentially, the changes involve an officer’s “line-of-duty” disability benefits. Right now, these disability benefits are tax-free until the recipient reaches age 65, then they convert into regular retirement benefits—which are subject to applicable taxes. With the new law, members who file for “line-of-duty” disability benefits under MSRS after July 1, 2015 will be affected. All “line-of-duty” disability benefits will convert to regular retirement benefits 10 years earlier—at age 55. In other words, at issue are ten years of non-taxable benefits (a lot of money). On the other hand, by the age-limit being decreased, a benefit recipient has the option of procuring other employment at an earlier age without potentially diminishing one’s retirement benefits.

Who exactly do these changes apply to? Members of the State Patrol, as well as Conservation officers, Crime Bureau officers, public safety officers employed by the Division of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement, Fugitive Apprehension Unit officers, peace officers within the Department of Commerce, and peace officers within the Department of Public Safety. If you’re still unsure whether these changes will affect you, and are a state-funded peace officer, there is a high likelihood that you will be affected, and you should contact the attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. for a free consultation.