Disability Retirement. PART 1. The Process. What’s the process?. Application ↓ Investigation ↓ Independent Medical Exam ↓ Staff Recommendation to Board. Case Load and Staffing. Approximately 75 -100 cases are currently being processed.
Processing time is approximately 9-12 months from receipt of completed application to Board decision
The gathering of evidence can take anywhere from 1-5 months.
The Pre-Med phase typically takes 1-3 months.
Reports are typically received 30-45 days from the date of the exam.
(City of Sacramento v. PERS)
(Masters v. San Bernardino CERA)
The Boarddetermines, in all cases, whether a member is permanently incapacitated for duty and whether that incapacity is service connected.
The Board makes this determination after reviewing the evidence presented in support of disability retirement applications, along with the staff recommendation.
The Board should ask questions of staff and/or the applicant if necessary.
The Legal Standard
The applicant must prove by a preponderance of “Substantial Evidence” that:
Government Code §31720
“Any member permanently incapacitated for the performance of duty shall be retired…if the member’s incapacity is a result of injury or disease arising out of and in the course of the member’s employment, and such employment contributes substantially to such incapacity.”
A medical opinion is not substantial evidence when the physician:
“Incapacitated for the performance of duty … means the substantial inability of the applicant to perform his usual duties”
Mansperger v. PERS (1970) 6 Cal.App.3d 873
Applied to the CERL by:
Harmon v. Board of Retirement of San Mateo
Schrier v. San Mateo County ERS
Curtis v. Board of Retirement
An applicant proves “Substantial Inability” by establishing:
Ex. truck driver goes blind; can’t drive
Ex. teacher has asthma, chalk dust severely aggravates her symptoms
Hosford v. Bd. of Admin.; Wolfman v.Bd. of Trustees; Thelander v. City of El Monte
Substantial inability is not proven by:
An applicant proves his incapacity is permanent by showing that:
(Reynolds v. City of San Carlos)
An applicant proves that his incapacity is service connected if there is substantial evidence of a real and measurable link between the job and the incapacity.
Service connection is established, if:
Service connection is not established: