MSRS State Patrol Plan
A Minnesota State Trooper or other State-employed peace officer who suffers from a disability that is expected to prevent him or her from performing his or her normal duties for a period of at least one year may be eligible for disability benefits under the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) State Patrol Plan.
Who is eligible?
If you are a State Trooper, DNR Officer, Deputy Sheriff, or other peace officer, employed by the State of Minnesota, you are likely covered under and contributing to Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS). As a member of MSRS, you may be eligible for disability benefits after sustaining an injury on-the-job.
There is no minimum number of service years required to apply for duty disability benefits. You can get injured on your first day of training and still qualify for benefits.
Members over the age of 55 with over 20 years of service credit will not be eligible to receive duty disability benefits. Therefore, it is important to check in with a PERA disability attorney before you turn 55 to determine your options and ensure you are doing what is best for you and your family.
To qualify for benefits, you must be physically off of the job and you must apply for disability benefits within the first 18 months after leaving public service.
What is a disability benefit?
Regular disability benefits are available to members of the State Patrol Plan who become disabled as a result of a non-work-related injury, and/or are injured on the job but not while performing inherently dangerous duties specific to their position.
Regular disability benefits are paid at a rate of 45% of the State Patrol Member’s high-five salary. This is a taxable benefit.
If you apply for regular disability benefits you must have a minimum of one year of service under a PERA Police and Fire-covered position.
If you are approved for a regular disability benefits, you will not be entitled to continuation of health insurance coverage under Minnesota Statutes § 299A.465.
Before you apply for regular disability benefits, it is important that you speak to an attorney determine whether it is best for you to apply for duty disability, regular disability or retirement benefits. Each of these benefits will have separate and distinct pros and cons. In addition, you may be eligible for a higher level of benefit, which may have a significant impact on your financial future.
To be eligible to receive a duty disability benefit, you must show that: 1) you were injured while performing inherently dangerous duties specific to your job, and 2) that you have been or are expected to be disabled from performing the duties of your position for at least twelve months.
If you are eligible for a duty disability benefits, you will receive 60% of high five until the age of 55 or for a period of five years, whichever is longer. This benefit is non-taxable. If you have more than 20 years of service credit under the State Patrol Plan, you will be entitled to an additional three percent for each year you have over twenty.
For example, if Officer B is approved for a duty disability benefits after 25 years of service, Officer B would be entitled to 75% of her high-five (instead of 60%). The first 60% would be non-taxable. The additional 15% would be subject to applicable taxes.
If you apply and are approved for duty disability benefits, you will be able to return to work in some capacity-just not in a law enforcement position. You will be able to work and continue to receive MSRS duty disability benefits; however, there are certain offset provisions that you should be aware of.
Why do I need a lawyer?
MSRS disability benefits are complex. There are a host of rules that apply that MSRS and your employer won’t highlight for you during the application process. It is of utmost importance that you apply for the correct benefit and do so properly the first time. While it is possible to be awarded disability benefits after an appeal, it is much easier and cheaper to be approved for MSRS disability benefits at the application stage.
In addition, it is important that you have an attorney who is knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and MSRS duty disability benefits. Osterbauer Law Firm has filed hundreds of MSRS and PERA duty disability applications on behalf of injured State Troopers, Sheriff’s Deputies, and Police Officers, and they understand how to coordinate your MSRS benefits with your workers’ compensation benefits to maximize the total amount of money you will receive from all sources.
More questions? Please call us at (612)-334-3434 for a free, no obligation consultation.
If you have questions about a MSRS state patrol plan, talk to the team of experienced MSRS lawyers at Osterbauer Law Firm. We can assist you at any stage. Whether you are in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St. Paul), Rochester, Duluth or Greater Minnesota, we will help you. Give our office a call today at 612-334-3434 or contact us online today for a free initial consultation, and we can arrange a free consultation to discuss your case.