For over three decades, we have represented public employees seeking disability retirement benefits. Daily we contend with two State wide pension systems, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, (CalPERS), and a lesser known system the 1937 County Employees’ Retirement Act, (CERL).
There are, of course, other State wide public pension systems – the State Teachers’ Retirement System, (STRS), the University of California Retirement System (UCRS), and the Judges Retirement System (JRS). These pension systems also provide disability retirement benefits. Finally, there are numerous other public pension systems, e.g., the City of Los Angeles systems and the City of San Diego system.
Annually, these public pension systems collect billions of dollars from employees and public agencies. All of this money is administered by the various pension boards’ trustees. Employees, and public employers often blindly assume that they can trust these pension fund trustees to fairly decide disability retirement claims. Sadly, that is often not the case.
Employees often wait until their claims are denied before seeking help. We often hear the refrain:
“If only I had gotten help in the beginning of my case! But the pension system told me that I didn’t need a lawyer and that they would take care of me.”
“I trusted the system to be fair. But, I can’t believe the way my pension system has treated me – you’d think I was a criminal.”
Employees, other attorneys, employee organizations and even public employers need “real” information about the dynamic forces controlling disability retirement benefits in addition to the information found on the public pension websites and handed out in their brochures.
So, we offer this site in order to distribute our observations, articles and suggestions. We encourage all interested readers to use the feedback feature to give us your questions and comments thereby assisting us to focus on your current questions and problems.