Disability Pensions

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If you become injured or ill, you may be eligible for a disability pension. If approved, benefits will depend on whether the disability resulted from a service- or nonservice-connected illness or injury and the tier you are in.

The Disability Pension Brochure  provides highlights of the disability benefits.  For additional information, review the Disability Pension Information booklet for your tier:

Find additional useful information in HOW TO: Apply for a Disability Pension.

Details

When am I eligible for disability benefits?

Service-Connected Disability Pension (work-related):

You are eligible on the date you graduate from Fire or Police recruit training.

However, if you are a Tier 2 member, you are eligible on your date of hire.

Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension (nonwork-related):

You are eligible after you have five years of service credit.

What are my disability benefits?

Tier 2

Service-Connected Disability Pension (work-related):

Amounts are based on the degree of disability.

The Board determines the percentage within a range of 50% to 90% of your Normal Pension Base. In no case is your disability pension less than your accrued service pension.

Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension (nonwork-related):

The amount of your disability pension is equal to 40% of the Nonservice-Connected Pension Base, i.e., the highest monthly salary and length of service pay for a Police Officer III or Firefighter III when the pension becomes effective.

If you are eligible for a service pension with over 20 years of service when a Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension is awarded, you can elect to take a service pension instead.

Tiers 3 & 4

Service-Connected Disability Pension (work-related):

Amounts are based on the degree of disability. Your benefits are equal to a rating schedule adopted and used by the Board.

Your benefits are the greater of:

  • 30% of your Final Average Salary, or
  • 2% of your Final Average Salary for each year of service, up to 90% of your Final Average Salary.

You are eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) on your benefit from 0% to 3% per year.

Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension (nonwork-related):

Amounts are based on the degree of disability.

Benefits range between 30% and 50% of your Final Average Salary.

You are eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) on your benefit from 0% to 3% per year.

If you are eligible for a service pension with over 20 years (10 years for Tier 3) of service when a Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension is awarded, you can elect to take a service pension instead.

Tiers 5 & 6

Service-Connected Disability Pension (work-related):

Amounts are based on the degree of disability. Your benefits are equal to a rating schedule adopted and used by the Board.

Your benefits are the greater of:

  • 30% of your Final Average Salary, or
  • 2% of your Final Average Salary for each year of service, up to 90% of your Final Average Salary

You are eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) on your benefits, from 0% to 3% per year. Any additional COLA will be placed in a COLA bank.

Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension (nonwork-related):

Amounts are based on the degree of disability.

Benefits range between 30% and 50% of your Final Average Salary.

You are eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) on your benefit from 0% to 3% per year. Any additional COLA will be placed in a COLA bank.

If you are eligible for a service pension with over 20 years of service when a Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension is awarded, you can elect to take a service pension instead.

How does Workers’ Compensation affect my disability benefits?

The existence of an impairment or a Workers’ Compensation award does not guarantee a disability pension.

We are required to recapture all Workers’ Compensation benefits that have been or will be paid to a member who receives a disability pension. These include:

  • All cash awards,
  • State rate disability payments,
  • Vocational rehabilitation allowances, and
  • The amount the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board deducts from awards to pay for attorney’s fees.

NOTE: Injured-on-duty (IOD) payments are not recovered.

NOTE: Surviving Spouse’s pension is exempt from Workers’ Compensation recapture for a member’s prior injuries.

The City Charter further requires that:

  • A minimum of 25% of the monthly gross benefit be deducted to recover such awards received prior to the pension effective date, and
  • A dollar-for-dollar offset of Worker’s Compensation awards that continue beyond the effective date of a disability pension.

Therefore, if a member with a significant amount of prior awards is granted a disability pension with retroactive benefits, a substantial portion of the lump-sum retroactive pension payment may be withheld to satisfy the Workers’ Compensation recapture requirement.

Will the Board review my disability pension?

  • Disability pensions normally are paid for a member’s lifetime.
  • However, the Board has the authority to review disability status at any time. Pensioners may also request a review of their disability status by the Board.
  • As a result of the review, the percentage awarded may remain the same or may be adjusted upward, downward or terminated completely.
  • Disability retirees can be returned to active duty within five years if the disability no longer exists.
  • After five years, members found to be no longer disabled will have their pensions reduced to 30% of Final Average Salary (except Tier 2).

Questions?

If you have any questions, you may contact the Disability Pensions Section at (213) 279-3165 or toll-free at (844) 88-LAFPP (52377).

REFERENCED DOCUMENTS

Tier 2 Disability Pension Information Booklet & Application

Tiers 3-6 Disability Pension Information Booklet & Application

Disability Pension Brochure