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12 N.J.A.R. 260

Szczepanik, Anna v. Public Employees' Retirement System
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Citation: 12 N.J.A.R. 260
Decision Date: 1987
Synopsis: Petitioner appealed the denial by the Board of Trustees of the Public Employment Retirement System of her application for acciden- tal disability retirement benefits. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. Petitioner had been employed as a clerk-transcriber. During a coffee break she fell down a flight of steps, injuring her back. She has not worked since the accident because she cannot sit for extended periods of time. Petitioner's application for accidental disability ben- efits was denied because the Board concluded that the accident was not a traumatic event. The Board also found that petitioner was not permanently and totally disabled. In addition, the Board noted that petitioner did not have the 10 years of service which would entitle her to ordinary disability benefits if she were permanently disabled. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that petitioner's accident was not a traumatic event because falling down stairs is not equivalent to a great rush of force or uncontrollable power. The judge also concluded, however, that petitioner was per- manently disabled and did have the requisite 10 years service for ordinary disability. The 10 years consisted of the time petitioner worked and the time for which she received a workers' compensation award of temporary and permanent disability. The judge ordered respondent to pay petitioner ordinary disability retirement benefits. Upon review, the Board accepted the administrative law judge's recommendation that petitioner was not eligible for accidental dis- ability retirement benefits but rejected the conclusion that she should State of New Jersey 261 receive ordinary disability benefits. The Board agreed that petitioner was permanently disabled and that the workers' compensation award time added to petitioner's active service would constitute the required 10 years. However, because petitioner's employer had not made contributions to the Division of Pensions to cover the workers' com- pensation award time, petitioner could not qualify for ordinary dis- ability benefits. Only when the appropriate employer contributions had been made could petitioner be considered to have obtained 10 years service. Petitioner sought to compel her employer to make the necessary pension contributions. On appeal, the Appellate Division held that the employer should have been required to make the contributions. Samuel J. Haipern, Esq., for appellant Patrice M. Connell, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent
Citation Tracker modified-Bd. of Trustees; reversed & remanded-232 N.J. Super. 491 (App. Div. 1989) [Updated through 1991]