Pensions

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Accidental Disability
While gradual deterioration may prove disabling, such disability is compensated as ordinary and not accidental disability. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
A "slip and fall" accident is not a traumatic event within the meaning of the accidental disability retirement statute, unless a significant degree of height is involved. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 120 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 129
PERS denied custodian's application for accidental disability retirement benefits, concluding that being struck in the eye with a broom was not a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 277
PERS found that petitioner was not eligible for accidental disability because falling down stairs is not a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 260
Worker who fell from truck was denied accidental disability. On appeal, the Appellate Division held the incident was a traumatic event but the disability was not the direct result of that event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 892
Corrections officer's request for accidental disability was denied. On appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the officer was entitled to benefits because an inmate assault on a corrections officer is a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 937 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 926
Active Member
Where the Commissioner of Education has determined that a teacher's earlier termination was improper and orders her restored to her position with back pay, that teacher is deemed to have been an active, contributing member of the pension system through the period of her improper termination and may purchase pension service credits. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 248
A teacher who begins to work part-time is no longer engaged in the profession of teaching as a full-time occupation and thus is no longer eligible for membership in the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund. Decision: 3 N.J.A.R. 129
N.J.A.C. 17:4-6.1(f) prohibits disbursement of benefits to a member of the pension system while still receiving a salary; the characterization of such payments made as an "advance of salary benefits" does not change the determination. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 001
Part-time college professor was an active member of PERS even though his leave of absence was not "official." Decision: 11 N.J.A.R. 611
Age Bias
Regulation permitting transfers from PERS to PFRS was intended to apply only to individuals who had been prevented from transferring earlier because of the maximum age limit for enrollment in PFRS. The regulation was intended to rectify age discrimination, not to authorize transfers for individuals who failed to take advantage of previous opportunities to transfer. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 476 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 493 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 510
Application--Deficiencies
The Division of Pensions is required to inform a member of any deficiencies in an application for retirement. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 304
Application--In General
Signing of an application and filing of supporting documents constitutes substantial compliance with the requirements for filing an application for retirement benefits. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 304
Assigned Duties
Signing of an application and filing of supporting documents constitutes substantial compliance with the requirements for filing an application for retirement benefits. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 315
Assignment to Spouse
Statute permitting pension benefits to be assigned to spouse of person confined to prison does not apply in situation where a pension is forfeited because of criminal conduct. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 178
Automatic Forfeiture
In applying established balancing factors to de- termine if forfeiture of retirement benefits is justified, while the numerical majority of factors may weigh in favor of petitioner, forfeiture is justified where seriousness of fewer evil factors outweighed the good. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 090
Conversion to Early Retirement
Petitioner should have been permitted to convert her ordinary disability retirement to early retirement because she could not have made an in- formed choice among retirement plans until her workers' compensation offset was calculated. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 545
Correction of Errors
Failure to fulfill the conditions of N.J.S.A. 43:15A-75 by stipulating in writing the mistaken information received at the time of pension enrollment and by obtaining employer's agreement to contribute to the reserve fund will preclude subsequent attempt to correct enrollment errors and to purchase prior service credit. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 050
Corrections Officers
Corrections officer's request for accidental disability was denied. On appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the officer was entitled to benefits because an inmate assault on a corrections officer is a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 937 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 926
Death Benefits
Parents of a deceased county employee who was on leave at the time of her death were not entitled to death benefits since N.J.S.A. 43:15A-47 specifically provides that death benefit coverage begins on the first day of pension system membership on which an individual is actively employed. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 427
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. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 304
Where pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:2-24 employee will not be enrolled in pension system until four months after date of employment but where he dies within that time and neither he nor his employer have made any contribution to the pension system, the payment of death benefits is expressly prohibited. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 016
Before acddental death benefits may be recovered, a report of the accident occurring within active service must be filed within 60 days of the accident or within a period of time judged reasonable by the Board of Trustees. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 419
Absent a showing of incompetency, mutual mistake, fraud or other compelling equitable consideration, reformation of a retirement application may not be had. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 427
Widow of part-time college professor was entitled to PERS life insurance benefits because decedent was an active member in the retirement system at the time of his death. Decision: 11 N.J.A.R. 611
Death Benefits--Change of Beneficiary
PERS refused to honor change of beneficiary form which was not received until after the employee's death. The Appellate Division reversed. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 881
Deferred Benefits-- Misconduct in Office
Employee is entitled to collect vested deferred retirement benefits even though he was indicted for misconduct before he voluntarily left his position. Benefits must be paid for service until the misconduct occurred. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 756
Deferred Retirement Allowance
A letter written at an applicant's instruction is sufficient to communicate an election to receive a deferred retirement allowance under N.J.S.A. 18A:66-36. Decision: 5 N.J.A.R. 404
Administrative law judge determines that an individual may select a deferred retirement allowance where he has not withdrawn pension contributions prior to reaching the age of 55 even if he failed to respond to the pension system's "Members' Expiration Notice"; Board determines that individual may not elect, finding that he had failed to comply with deferred retirement statute and no explanation of the failure to comply was offered. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 134
Should a member of the retirement system be removed from employment for cause, he may not elect to receive a deferred retirement allowance and his pension rights are forfeited. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 007
N.J.S.A. 2C51-2b may not be read in conjunction with N.J.S.A. 4B-15A-38 to permit a public employee to resign after a jury verdict or plea of guilty and before sentencing in order to avoid a forfeiture provision of N.J.S.A.. 43:15A-38. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 007
Delay in Enrollment
N.J.A.C. 17:2-2.4 which provides for a four-month delay in enrollment in the pension system is not an illegal exercise in rule making in contravention of N.J.S.A. 43:15A-7 since the statute merely defines the composition of the membership of the pension system and omits any provisions dealing with the time or method of enrollment. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 016
Where pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:2-2.4 employee will not be enrolled in pension system until four months after date of employment but where he dies within that time and neither he nor his employer have made any contribution to the pension system, the payment of death benefits is expressly prohibited. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 016
Discharged Employee
The Board of Trustees of the Prison Officers' Pension Fund has the discretion to grant or deny the refund of pension credits where the contributing employee was discharged and is ineligible for reappointment under Civil Service rules. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 372
Discretion
The Board of Trustees of the Prison Officers' Pension Fund has the discretion to grant or deny the refund of pension fund contributions where the contributing employee was discharged and is ineligible for reappointment under Civil Service rules. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 372
The Board of Trustees lacks the discretion or authority to deviate from the regulatory mandate directing that members may not cancel, withdraw or change an application of retirement after the retirement allowance becomes due and payable. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 427
Eligibility--In General
A director of community adult education is a teacher within N.J.S.A. 18A:66-2(p) and thus is eligible for membership in the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund. Decision: 5 N.J.A.R. 419
An individual is barred from enrolling in the New Jersey Pension System while collecting retirement benefits from another state. Decision: 6 N.J.A.R. 181
Estoppel
Equitable estoppel will not be applied to permit payment of pension death benefits to a public employee on leave of absence at time of death since there was no evidence that the employee relied on the issuance of insurance and the payroll deduction certificates indicated coverage would begin on the effective date of her leave of absence. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 427
Forfeiture
Conviction of patrolman for aggravated sexual assault is misconduct related to public duties be- cause it violates the duty to obey all laws and also constitutes failure to maintain an image of personal integrity and dependability. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 178
Conviction of patrolman for aggravated sexual assault warranted full forfeiture of pension rights. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 178
Test for forfeiture of pension rights is contained in Uricoli v. PFRS, 91 N.J. 62 (1982). Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 178
Honorable Service
While a decedent's convictions rendered his employment service dishonorable making him, if living, ineligible for benefits, the Legislature did not intend to punish an employee's designated beneficiaries by a loss of pension benefits; thus, decedent's beneficiary should receive survival benefits computed on the basis of decedent's service up until the time of his misconduct. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 184
A conviction of misappropriation of bank funds under federal law involves moral turpitude; thus rendering an individual's 18 years of state service dishonorable and making him ineligible for credit in the pension fund. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 123
A conviction for possession of papers pertaining to the business of lottery does not involve moral turpitude and thus does not preclude eligibility for public retirement benefits. Decision: 3 N.J.A.R. 371
Insurability
While evidence of insurability is required, there is no time limit with respect to when such evidence must be supplied. Decision: 4 N.J.A.R. 380
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction for the resolution of a dispute over retirement benefits resulting from the level of compensation during employment is with the Board of Trustees of the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund and not the Commissioner of Education. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 350
Maternity Leave
N.J.S.A. 18A:66-8 which permits purchase of credit for maternity leave may be broadly interpreted to encompass purchase of time for infant child care. Decision: 3 N.J.A.R. 317
Statutory ban on waiver of one-year period in which an individual on maternity leave may purchase pension credit is absolute and Board of Trustees lacks discretionary power to do otherwise. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 001
Moral Turpitude
A conviction of the federal offense of misapplication of bank funds involves moral turpitude since it involves an intent to defraud; accordingly the individual's years of state service are rendered dishonorable and he is not eligible for service credits in the pension system. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 123
A conviction for possession of papers pertaining to the business of lottery does not involve moral turpitude and thus does not preclude eligibility for public retirement benefits. Decision: 3 N.J.A.R. 371
Conviction of patrolman for aggravated sexual assault is moral turpitude of the highest order. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 178
Ordinary Disability
While general deterioration may prove disabling, such disability is compensated as ordinary and not accidental disability. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
Workers' compensation award time can be added to active service time to make up the 10 years service required for ordinary disability benefits. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 277
Out-of-State Benefits
Where an individual files an application for an out-of-state pension one month prior to his attempted enrollment in the New Jersey system, N.J.S.A. 43:31-1 bars that individual from participating in the New Jersey Pension System. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 021
Pardon
A Presidential Pardon does not substitute a good character for bad and does not obliterate the commission of a crime of misapplication of bank funds; thus it does not restore an individual's eligibility for credit in the pension fund. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 123
Psychiatric Disability
To qualify for accidental disability retirement benefits based upon psychiatric disorder there must be found inherent in the alleged tranmatie event qualities of immediate and objective severity sufficient to render a significant number of persons disabled. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
Refund of Contributions
The Board of Trustees of the Prison Officers' Pension Fund has the discretion to grant or deny the refund of pension fund contributions where the contributing employee was discharged and is ineligible for reappointment under Civil Service rules. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 372
Removal for Cause
Should a member of the retirement system be removed from employment for cause, he may not elect to receive a deferred retirement allowance and his pension rights are forfeited. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 007
N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2b may not be read in conjunction with N.J.S4. 4B-15A-38 to permit a public employee to resign after a jury verdict or plea of guilty and before sentencing in order to avoid a forfeiture provisions of N.J.S.A. 43:15A-38. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 007
Retirement Allowance
Failure to substantially comply with the statutory and regulatory scheme for change of a retirement allowance results in a failure to effect a change of option. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 060
Salary
Lump sum cash payments made at the end of a year do not constitute salary for pension purposes since they are not paid on a fixed and continuous basis. Decision: 4 N.J.A.R. 179
Compensation to teachers acting as department heads shall be creditable for pension purposes only if that compensation is included in the teach- er's regular salary payments. Decision: 4 N.J.A.R. 179
Classification of payments as "extra compensation" in an employment contract lends support to a conclusion that the payments are not salary for pension purposes. Decision: 4 N.J.A.R. 179
Fluctuating fees may not constitute any part of a base or contractual salary and thus may not be included in the definition of compensation. Decision: 6 N.J.A.R. 004
Salary payments should be recognized as creditable for pension purposes since the payments were made as part of a bona fide employer- employee relationship. Decision: 6 N.J.A.R. 004
N.J.A.C. 17:4-6.1(f) prohibits disbursement of benefits to a member of the pension system while still receiving a salary; the characterization of such payments made as an "advance of salary benefits" does not change the determination. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 001
Petitioner's earnings,as a presiding judge should be credited in calculating his pension benefits. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 320
Service Credits
While only a contributing member of the pension system may purchase service credits, if an individual has substantially complied with the governing statutes and regulations, purchase of pension credits should be allowed. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 334
Where the Commissioner of Education has determined that a teacher's earlier termination was improper and orders her reinstated to her position with back pay, that teacher is deemed to have been an active contributing member of the pension system through the period of her improper termination and is eligible for the purchase of service credits. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 248
Transfer of service credit is permitted only if an employee was entitled to benefits from the fund of which he was an original member. Decision: 5 N.J.A.R. 466
Sheriff's Officer
N.J.S.A. 40A:9-117.12 makes it clear that any individual 35 years or older who was subsequently appointed as a sheriffs officer should remain a member of the retirement system of which he was a member at the time of appointment. Decision: 5 N.J.A.R. 333
Spouse's Benefits
Where petitioner's rights to pension benefits have been forfeited, spouse has no right to benefits since any claim is derivative of petitioner. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 120
Statutory Construction
Pension statutes are remedial in nature, are to be liberally construed and administered in favor of the persons intended to be benefitted. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 334
Substantial Compliance
While only a contributing member of the pension system may purchase service credits, if an individual has substantially complied with the governing statutes and regulations, purchase of service credits should be allowed. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 334
Signing of an application and filing of supporting documents constitutes substantial compliance with the requirements for filing an application for retirement benefits. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 304
An application for a change in retirement allowance left incomplete at time of death of applicant does not constitute substantial compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and thus no change in retirement options is effected. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 060
Survivorship Benefits
While a decedent's convictions rendered his employment service dishonorable making him, if living, ineligible for benefits, the Legislature did not intend to punish an employee's designated beneficiaries by a complete loss of pension benefits; thus, decedent's beneficiary should receive survivor benefits computed on the basis of decedent's service up until the time of his misconduct. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 184
Transfers from PERS to PFRS
Regulation permitting transfers from PERS to PFRS was intended to apply only to individuals who had been prevented from transferring earlier because of the maximum age limit for enrollment in PFRSo The regulation was intended to rectify age discriminaton, not to authorize transfers for individuals who failed to take advantage of previous opportunities to transfer. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 476 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 493 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 510
Traumatic Event
Although the exposure to the cold might constitute a medical "trauma" it does not constitute a traumatic event since it does not involve the application of external force or violence to an individual or the violent exposure of an individual to such a force. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 168
Where local policy requires a school teacher to be in her classroom at 8:30 a.m. but she is injured there at 8:15, her injury did not occur during the course of her duties and thus her application for an accidental disability allowance should be denied. Decision: 3 N.J.A.R. 298
A decedent's death does not result from a traumatic event when it is due to a preexisting underlying condition. Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 419
To qualify for accidental disability retirement benefits based upon psychiatric disorder there must be found inherent in the alleged traumatic event qualities of immediate and objective severity sufficient to render a significant number of persons disabled. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
The essential cause of an accidental disability can be nothing less than an event that is identifiable as to time and place, that directly causes injury or disability and that involves a mishap or accident involving some kind of external force to the body or the violent exposure of the body to some external force. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
While gradual deterioration may prove disabling, such disability is compensated as ordinary and not accidental disability. Decision: 9 N.J.A.R. 333
A "slip and fall" accident is not a traumatic event within the meaning of the accidental disability retirement statute, unless a significant degree of height is involved. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 120 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 129
PERS denied custodian's application for accidental disability retirement benefits, concluding that being struck in the eye with a broom was not a tramatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 277
PERS found that petitioner was not eligible for accidental disability because falling down stairs is not a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 260
Corrections officer's request for accidental disability was denied. On appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the officer was entitled to benefits because an inmate assault on a corrections officer is a traumatic event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 937 Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 926
Worker who fell from truck was denied accidental disability. On appeal, the Appellate Division held the incident was a traumatic event but the disability was not the direct result of that event. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 892
Police officer's fall on flight of steps was not a traumatic event, as required to be eligible for accidental disability retirement benefits. Rather, it was a "slip and fall" accident. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 331
Veterans Benefits
To qualify for veteran's retirement benefits under N.J.S.A. 18A.'66-71(a) an individual must have actually been employed on January 1, 1955. Decision: 6 N.J.A.R. 114
Workers' Compensation
Receipt of a worker's compensation award in a lump sum rather than in installments is not legally sufficient detriment to justify the application of equitable estoppel and prevent the application of the actuarially computed "off-sets" of N.J.S.A. 18A:66-32(b). Decision: 8 N.J.A.R. 052
Workers' Compensation Offset
Petitioner should have been permitted to convert her ordinary disability retirement to early retirement because she could not have made an informed choice among retirement plans until her workers' compensation offset was calculated. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 545