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8 N.J.A.R. 427

Schaeffer, Joyce M., Individually and as Executrix of the Estate of George W. Schaeffer, Jr. v. Public Employee's Retirement System, Board of Trustees
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Citation: 8 N.J.A.R. 427
Decision Date: 1984
Synopsis: Petitioner appealed from a determination of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System denying her request to have decedent's retirement benefits changed from maximum allow- ance without option to option one, that is monthly payments from a reserve with the remainder of the reserve paid to petitioner as decedent's beneficiary. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that dece- dent was entirely competent at the time he executed his applications for retirement benefits and that neither the Board nor the Division of Pensions had misled decedent or inaccurately stated his retirement options. The judge determined that petitioner's testimony that her father, the decedent, had told her that his pension would provide for her after his death was insufficient to demonstrate either unilateral or mutual mistake in connection with decedent's selection of retire- ment benefits. The judge concluded that where there is no showing oœ incompeten- cy, mutual mistake, fraud or other compelling equitable consider- ations, reformation of a retirement application may not be had. In addition, respondent has neither the discretion nor authority to de- viate from the regulatory mandate directing that members may not withdraw, cancel or change an application oœ retirement after the retirement allowance becomes due and payable unless there is a show- ing of incompetency, mutual mistake, fraud or other compelling equitable considerations. Nor should the fiscal integrity of the fund be jeopardized where, as here, a selection of retirement options is demonstrated to have been imprudent because of the retiree's death. Accordingly, the administrative law judge affirmed the action of the Board. Upon review of this initial decision, the Board of Trustees adopted the decision as its own. Samuel Ragonese, Esq., for petitioner (Edward Gatier, Esq., attorney) Ellis I. Medoway, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (Irwin I. Kimmelman, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Initial Decision
Rule(s) Cited: 17:2-6.2(a)