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2 N.J.A.R. 304

Public Employees' Retirement System, Board of Trustees of the; Giaconia, Joseph, Decedent by Maria Giaconia v
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Citation: 2 N.J.A.R. 304
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: Maria Giaconia appealed from the decision of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees Retirement System denying her claim for the payment of insurance benefits arising from the death of her husband. The administrative law judge found the Giaconia, a building maintenance worker for the City of Passaic, signed an Application for Retirement on June 2, 1978, while on authorized sick leave. (Giaconia's sick leave and employment ended on June 30, 1978). Through the neglect of his employer's representative, Giaconia's application was not properly completed, notarized and sent to the Division of Pensions until September 7, 1978. As a result, no action was taken on the application before Giaconia's death on September 15, 1978. The administrative law judge determined that the issue to be resolved by him was whether Mr. Giaconia was covered under the pension fund's insurance program at the time of his death. N.J.A.C. 17:2-6.3 provides that a member of the pension system who files an application for retirement while covered by the system's insurance program is still eligible for insurance coverage in the event of death even if death occurs while he is no longer an active member and prior to the time his retirement allowance becomes due. The administrative law judge concluded that Giaconia's survivor was eligible for death benefits since Giaconia had substantially complied with the requirements for the filing of an Application for Retirement while still an active member of the system and thus covered under the system's insurance program. The judge found that the Division of Pensions had received documents filed by Giaconia in support of his application on June State of New Jersey 305 5, 1978, at which time Giaconia was still an active member of the pension system. The judge observed that N.J.S.A. 17:2-6. l(c) requires the Division to inform a member of any deficiencies in an Application for Retirement but that after receiving Giaconia's supporting documents on June 5, 1978, the Division made no effort to inform Giaconia that the required Application for Retirement was not on file. The judge pointed out that In Re Vaccaro, 131 N.J. Super. 264 (App. Div. 1974) holds that the failure of the Division to act with due diligence should not preclude recovery if entitlement is otherwise shown. 1977) the judge found that Giaconia's signing of the application and filing of support documents constituted substantial compliance with the eligibility requirements of N.J.A.C. 17:2-6.3 and since recovery should not be precluded by the Division's failure to act, the administrative law judge concluded that Giaconia's survivor was eligible for insurance payments. Louis E. Janofsky, Esq., for Petitioner Prudence H. Bisbee, Deputy Attorney General for Respondent (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 17:2-6.1 et seq.