Sunday, September 26, 2010

Continuation of Healthcare Coverage Under Minn. Statute. 299A.465 When You're Over Age 55

Minnesota firefighters and police officers who are disabled in the line of duty may be entitled to duty disability pension benefits under PERA. If you have a disability that is expected to prevent you from performing your normal duties as a police officer or firefighter for a period of at least a year, and if your disability “is the direct result of an injury incurred during, or a disease arising out of, the performance of normal duties or the actual performance of less frequent duties, either of which are specific to protecting the property and personal safety of others and that present inherent dangers that are specific to the positions covered by the public employees police and fire plan,” Minn. Stat. §353.01, Subd. 45 (2009), you may be entitled to these benefits.

In addition, under Minn. Stat. §299A.465, if you qualify for duty disability benefits, you also qualify for continued health insurance through your employer. This means that your employer is responsible for continued payment for your insurance coverage. Obviously, this is a huge benefit, the value of which can exceed tens of thousands of dollars over the course of several years.

Unfortunately, if a PERA member becomes disabled after reaching age 55, he or she is not eligible for duty disability benefits. However, firefighters or police officers who meet the definition of duty disability, but don’t qualify for duty disability benefits because they’ve reached age 55 are still eligible for continued healthcare coverage under Minn. Stat. Sec. 299A.465.

If you’re a Minnesota firefighter or police officer who is disqualified from receiving PERA duty disability benefits because you’ve reached age 55, it is worth submitting an application to PERA for a determination as to whether you qualify for continuation of healthcare coverage under Minn. Stat. §299A.465. Continued employer contributions toward your health insurance until age 65 is worth tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

Meuser & Associates has represented dozens of police officers and firefighters from all over the state of Minnesota for workers’ compensation claims, and we have helped dozens of police officers and firefighters complete applications for PERA duty disability benefits, appeal unfavorable determinations, and apply for continued healthcare coverage under §299A.465. In fact, Meuser & Associates successfully represented four police officers and firefighters at the Minnesota Court of Appeals regarding disputes over continuation of healthcare coverage.

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation regarding your entitlement to PERA duty disability benefits and/or continuation of healthcare insurance under §299A.465, contact Meuser & Associates at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email to speak with Ron or Jen.
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