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:

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

Disability Pension Brochure