PERA Corrections Plan
If you are a Minnesota corrections officer at a county or regional detention center who has sustained an injury in the line of duty, you may be eligible for a PERA disability benefit. These benefits were established due to the physical and dangerous nature of this job. To be eligible your injury or condition must prevent you from performing your normal duties for at least twelve months.
It is important to recognize that an injury in the line of duty can be physical or mental. If you develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of your duties as a correctional officer, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Physical injuries and mental injuries are treated the same way by PERA when processing your application.
Who is covered?
If you are a police officer or firefighter, employed by a city or county, you are likely covered under and contributing to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). As a member of PERA, you may be eligible for disability benefits after sustaining an injury on-the-job.
If you are a volunteer firefighter, a police chief, fire chief, or an elected Sheriff in Minnesota, you also may be entitled to disability benefits from PERA but the rules that apply to you may vary depending on your specific set of circumstances.
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.
Paramedics/EMS working for Hennepin County Medical Center are deemed “firefighters” for purposes of PERA and are eligible to receive duty disability benefits under the Police and Fire Plan.
What are the benefits?
Regular disability benefits:
If you qualify for regular disability benefits, you are entitled to benefits that are paid at a base rate of 19% of your high-five salary. This is a taxable benefit.
To be eligible for this benefit, you must have one year of service credit.
It is important to speak to an attorney before you apply for regular disability benefits because you may be entitled to a higher level of benefits.
Duty disability benefits:
If you qualify for duty disability benefits, you will receive 47.5% of your high-five salary, non-taxable, until the age of 55 or five years, whichever is greater. You will also receive 1.9 percent of your high-five salary for each year of service over 25 in the plan.
To be eligible for these benefits, your injury or condition must have been incurred while performing inherently dangerous duties that are specific to corrections officers. You also must have been protecting people or property at the time you sustained your injury.
There is no minimum service credit required to qualify for this benefit.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Before applying for benefits, it is important that speak to an attorney who is knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and PERA disability benefits. Osterbauer Law Firm has filed hundreds of PERA applications on behalf of injured corrections officers, police officers, and firefighters, and they know how to coordinate your PERA and workers’ compensation benefits to maximize the total amount of money you will receive from all sources.
For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please contact Osterbauer Law Firm.
If you have questions about a PERA corrections plan, talk to the team of experienced PERA 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.