California Public Employees Retirement System
For members of the California Public Employees Retirement System, an industrial injury which prevents continuing in your job can be a life altering and extremely stressful event. If you are facing an unexpected service, service pending, disability or industrial disability retirement our office can offer guidance in initials filing and in the event of a denial, through the appeals process.
The four main options for retirement are Service Retirement, Service Pending Industrial Disability Retirement, Disability Retirement, and Industrial Disability Retirement.
Eligibility for a particular retirement depends upon many factors such as your age, years of service, whether an injury is preventing you from completing your job duties, whether that injury is industrial in origin, and whether you carry safety status in your position.
A Service Retirement is appropriate if you are over the age of 50 and make the decision to retire, though there is nothing preventing you from continuing your job (such as injury or illness). The retirement must be filed no sooner than 90 days before your effective date of retirement, and your retirement rate is based on your years of service and age multiplier.
Service Pending Industrial Disability Retirement
A Service Pending Retirement is appropriate if you are otherwise eligible for a Service Retirement (age and years of service), but also carry safety status in your position and feel that the necessity to retire is because of an industrial injury or illness. The Service Pending retirement entitles you to both the full value of your years of service, and the additional tax benefits of an Industrial Disability Retirement if you are found eligible. In general, a Service Retirement is effective on the chosen retirement date, and the Industrial Disability Retirement will be processed in the normal fashion, which usually takes 6-8 months for a decision from CalPERS.
A Disability Retirement is appropriate if you are under the age of 50 and must retire either because of a non-industrial injury or illness, or if you do not have safety status and must retire because of an industrial injury or illness.
Industrial Disability Retirement
An Industrial Disability Retirement is appropriate when you carry safety status, are under the age of 50, and must retire because of an industrial injury or illness which prevents completion of your essential job duties. The retirement is 50% of your highest wage within the last three years, and is tax free.
Please Note: It is a common rumor that the percentage awarded for Permanent Disability in a Workers' Compensation claim is the amount you will have tax free upon retirement. This is not true! You are only eligible for a tax free portion of your retirement if you have an industrial injury that prevents you from continuing in your job, and the percentage of your retirement which is tax free is the same, regardless of whether the underlying injury resulted in 1% Permanent Disability or 100% Permanent Disability.
If an Industrial Disability Retirement (or the Industrial Disability portion of a Service Pending Retirement) is denied there is a window of time within which an appeal can be filed.
We no longer offer legal representation in the initial filing of a Service, Service Pending, Disability or Industrial Disability Retirement.
If there is denial of an initial application, we do consider representation through the appeals process on a case by case basis. A $2,500.00 retainer is required before we can begin representation for an appeal. Time will be accounted for against the retainer at the rate of $200.00 per hour. If the appeals process requires a greater time involvement, additional retainer funds may be required.
In the event of an appeal, other discovery and witness costs are born by the client and are not paid out of the retainer. These costs can be substantial and would be discussed in detail prior to representation.