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1 N.J.A.R. 334

White, Robert B. v. Public Employees' Retirement System, Board of Trustees of the
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 334
Decision Date:
Synopsis: White appealed from a decision of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) denying his application to purchase pension credits for nine months of out-of-state service on the basis that the purchase had not been completed prior to White's retirement date. The administrative law judge ruled that pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43: 15A- 73.1 and N.J.A.C. 17:2-5.1 only a contributing member of the pension system could purchase such service merits and thus the Board was technically correct in denying the application. However, the judge concluded that White had substantially complied with the statute and regulation and thus should be permitted to purchase the service credit. The judge noted that since pension statutes are remedial in nature, they are to be liberally construed, administered in favor of the persons intended to be benefited, and that the statute in question was not a statute of Bd. of Trustees, 151 N.J. Super. 71 (App. Div. 1977). Applying Bernstein, the judge invoked the doctrine of substantial compliance finding that: I) there would be no prejudice to PERS since White would pay the full cost of the credit purchase, 2) White had faithfully attempted to meet the requirements of all the statutes in question, 3) he had generally compliec with the statutory scheme by unequivocally stating his intention to purchase his credit while still a contributing member, 4) he tendered payment in full when informed of the amount and the statutory requirement to do so, and 5) White was inadvertently misled by a relatively high-ranking employee of the Division of Pensions that his purchase of credit for out-of-state service could be completed after the effective date of his retirement. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered that the application to purchase out-of-state credit be approved. State of New Jersey 335 Robert B. White, Pro se Prudence H. Bisbee, Deputy Attorney General for Respondent (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 13:71-20.6