At Meuser Law Office, P.A., we understand that for firefighters and police officers, it’s not just a job—it’s a career, and it’s a way of life. Facing an illness or injury that may end your career is extremely difficult, and it involves making a lot of complicated decisions to protect your future, some of which can be very emotional. During this sensitive time, it’s important to have knowledge and possibly representation regarding the benefits you are due. Minnesota police officers and firefighters who are injured in the line of duty may be eligible for a variety of disability benefits, including workers’ compensation, PERA/MSRS disability, and/or health care continuation under Minn. Stat. § 299A.465.
Minnesota police officers and firefighters who sustain career-ending injuries in the line of duty are entitled to a wide variety of benefits. These benefits can be worth several hundred thousand dollars. However, the laws governing these types of benefits are extremely complex and specialized. It’s easy to make mistakes and those mistakes can be incredibly costly.
Workers’ compensation. As with all employees whose employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, all Minnesota firefighters, police officers, and corrections officers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury. Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits include medical expense, wage loss, permanent partial disability, and/or rehabilitation/retraining benefits.
PERA or MSRS disability benefits. Minnesota police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers may also be eligible for disability benefits through the Public Employees Retirement Association or the Minnesota State Retirement System in the event they sustain an in-the-line-of-duty injury that prevents them from performing their normal duties for a period of at least a year. For instance, if the disabling injury occurred while the police officer, corrections officer, or firefighter was performing duties that presents inherent dangers specific to his or her position, the officer or firefighter may be eligible for PERA or MSRS Duty Disability benefits. For police officers and firefighters covered under the PERA Police and Fire Plan or State Troopers or conservations officers covered under the MSRS State Patrol Plan, Duty Disability benefits are payable at a base rate of 60% of the plan member’s high five average salary. Regular disability benefits are generally payable at a base rate of 45% of the member’s high five average salary.
Health Care Continuation Benefits. Minnesota police officers and firefighters who are approved for PERA or MSRS duty disability benefits may also qualify for Continued Health Insurance Benefits in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 299A.465. This statute requires an employer to continue to pay its share of the health insurance premium for the disabled police officer or firefighter until the beneficiary reaches age 65.
If you’re a Minnesota police officer or firefighter with a serious work-related injury, it is extremely wise to consult with an attorney who practices both workers’ compensation law as well as PERA/MSRS disability law. We routinely meet with police officers and firefighters who aren’t even aware of the extent of the disability benefits available to them, or they’re represented by a workers’ compensation attorney who has told them that they can’t help them with their disability benefits. The PERA/MSRS disability benefits and Health Care Continuation benefits are frankly worth more in the long run than the workers’ compensation benefits. Do not leave hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting on the table by failing to pursue your potential claims for disability benefits or Health Care Continuation benefits!
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 police officers and firefighters throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. Sitting down with us for a consultation to learn more about your potential claims for workers’ compensation, PERA/MSRS, Health Care Continuation Benefits 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. Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier. Contact us today for an initial free consultation.