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8 N.J.A.R. 60

Ward, Alfred (Deceased) by Marion E. Ward v. Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund, Board of Trustees
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Citation: 8 N.J.A.R. 60
Decision Date: 1984
Synopsis: The Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Pension and Annunity Fund denied petitioner's request to change her husband's selection of retire- ment allowance option and petitioner requested a hearing. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that on the basis of information petitioner and her husband received from her hus- band's union he submitted an application for retirement allowance on January 13, 1983; petitioner and her husband thought that once they selected a benefit option they would be unable to change it. Shortly thereafter petitioner's husband took ill. On May 13, 1983 petitioner's husband received a letter from the Pension Board advising him of detailed and specific information regard- ing the effect of each of the several retirement options available. While the letter was dated May 2, 1983 the delay in receipt was due to petitioner's failure to file a change of address with the Board. The letter also advised that a change in benefits option was possible but that such a change would have to be reviewed within 15 days. In addition, the letter stated that in order to receive benefits the retirant must be living 30 days after the effective date of retirement or after approval of the Board of Trustees. On May 14, 1985, petitioner's husband began to fill out the applica- tion to change his benefits selection but died the next day without finishing the application. Petitioner subsequently sent the application to the Board with a request to change the option selection. State of New Jersey 61 The administrative law judge noted that to insure the fiscal integrity of the fund, all applicants are required to make a selection of benefit options sufficiently in advance of retirement to avoid manipulation of the options available. In addition, to avoid a 'death- bed' election, if a member dies within 30 days after the date of retirement or Board approval, the retirement allowance does not become effective and the member is considered an active member at the time of this death. The judge rejected the petitioner's argument that there had been substantial compliance with the statutory and regulatory schemes for an option change finding that not only was the option change incomplete at the time of retirant's death but also that it was not received by the Board within the prescribed time period. Accordingly, the administrative law judge affirmed the Board's denial of the option change. Upon review of this decision by the Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund, it adopted the initial decision as its own. Bennett Wasserstrum, Esq., for petitioner David Katzenstein, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent, (Irwin I. Kimmelman, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Initial Decision
Citation Tracker adopted-Bd. of Trustees; affirmed -App. Div., A-4795-83, 1/31/85 (unreported) [Updated through 1991]