TRUSTEES’ CORNER

 • by P.O. Thomas Beyna, Trustee

Policemens

DISABILITY BENEFIT APPLICATION

There are often questions when an officer needs to make an application for disability so I would like to take this opportunity to explain the process. Hopefully you will never need to apply for a disability benefit but unfortunately in our line of work injuries occur and as we get older we are more susceptible to illness. In the event of an injury or illness, every officer is entitled to 365 days of medical time for each injury on duty and 365 medical days for a nonduty illness or injury within a two-year period. It is important to keep track of your medical time used and start the application process when you have approximately two months of medical time remaining. Understand that there will be a period of time when you are without income as you transition from the active payroll to disability benefits. This period can last from 6 weeks to several months depending on the length of time it takes to complete the application process, physician appointments, and number of cases waiting to be heard before the Board.

The first step in the application process is to contact the Medical Services Section and notify them of your intention to apply for disability benefits. You will be required to sign a PAR form to take a leave of absence in order to apply for a disability benefit. You will also need to sign a medical records release form to allow the Medical Section to copy and send your medical record to the Pension Fund. When the appropriate forms have been signed with the Medical Section, you should contact the Pension Fund and speak to a disability advisor about the process. When the Pension Fund receives your medical file, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment to complete your application for disability. When all applications and appointments are complete, you will be scheduled for a hearing before the Board, who will ultimately determine whether a disability will be granted.

The medical and disability benefits available are valuable benefits that allow officers the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and potentially return to work. Unfortunately, there are some officers that abuse these benefits and defraud the Pension Fund. I strongly encourage contacting the Pension Fund with any information of anyone fraudulently receiving disability benefits. Remember, it is your hard earned money out of the Pension Fund paying for these disability benefits.

FUNDED STATUS

The most challenging issue the Fund currently faces is our funded status. At this time, the Fund is severely underfunded with a funding ratio of 23%. The most important factor to increase our funded status is receiving the required contributions from the City. This year the City is required to contribute $500 million of which the fund has received $460 million to date.

Recently in the news there has been talk from the City on a plan to issue pension obligation bonds to address the unfunded liabilities of the pension funds. If this plan is properly constructed it could immediately and significantly increase the assets of the fund. According to the current legislation and projected actuarial required contributions, the Fund will not reach 50% funded until 2043, another 25 years.

If pension obligation bonds are issued it should allow the Funds to receive money from the bondholders in order to reduce the unfunded liabilities, while the City being the bond issuer pays the debt owed to the bondholders. The objective is for the pension funds to invest the money and earn a rate of return greater than the interest rate paid on the bonds, which if successful could result in a cost savings on pension debt for taxpayers.

There are a lot of details that are still unknown about this plan but it will be interesting to learn more as it could significantly increase the funded ratio and health of our Fund.

THANK YOU & BEST WISHES

President and Trustee Ken Hauser has announced he is retiring from the Pension Fund after 25 years of service. Ken served our Fund as trustee representing the patrol officers, trustee representing the retired officers and other annuitants, and also as our Pension Board President for many years. Ken brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the Pension Board and he will surely be missed at the Fund but we will definitely keep in touch. Thank you for your dedication and service to the Fund and I wish you and your family the very best.

Take Care and Be Safe.
P.O. Tom Beyna

Thomas Beyna, Elected Trustee [BACK]