Will Pre-Existing Conditions Affect My Police Disability Pension?
When it comes to disability pensions for law enforcement officers, the presence of pre-existing conditions can raise important questions. If you’re wondering how your pre-existing condition affects your eligibility for a police disability pension, find answers here.
Police Disability Pensions: a Brief Overview
Police disability pensions offer financial support to officers unable to perform their duties due to line-of-duty injuries. These pensions differ from regular retirement benefits, as they are available regardless of an officer’s years of service or age, so long as the officer has a qualifying disability. It’s important to understand that not all injuries qualify for a disability pension. They must be severe enough to prevent an officer from continuing in their current role or any comparable police work.
Police disability pension benefits vary depending on factors such as salary, years of service, and the disability’s nature and severity. However, it’s also worth noting that certain factors could affect your eligibility or the amount you can receive in benefits. Among these is the controversial element of pre-existing conditions.
The Role of Pre-Existing Conditions in Disability Pension Calculations
A pre-existing condition is any medical condition or injury you had before the event that led to your disability. In police disability pensions, a pre-existing condition can complicate the claims process significantly.
If you have a pre-existing condition, the core issue lies in determining whether a line-of-duty injury primarily caused your disability or if the pre-existing condition played a role. If a provider determines that a work-related injury aggravated your pre-existing condition, you could still claim disability pension benefits. However, if your provider determines that a pre-existing condition is the primary cause of your disability, your pension claim could be reduced or even denied.
The burden of proof typically falls on you, the claimant, to demonstrate that a work-related incident caused or significantly exacerbated your disability. This process often involves medical examinations, evidence reviews, and piles of documentation. It’s a delicate process, but you can work with a knowledgeable police disability lawyer to pursue a fair pension calculation.
Steps to Take If Your Pension Claim Is Denied Due to a Pre-Existing Condition
Has your police disability pension claim been denied? If so, here’s what you can do:
- Review the Denial Letter – Understand the reasons for the denial. Your letter should clearly state why the claim was denied, including any role your pre-existing condition played in the decision.
- Consult a Medical Professional – Discuss the situation with your doctor. They can provide helpful insights and possibly even help you challenge the denial of your claim.
- Gather More Evidence – Collect any additional medical records, testimonies, or documents supporting the fact that a work-related incident primarily caused your disability.
- Seek Legal Advice – Contact a disability lawyer with experience handling pension claims and pre-existing conditions. They can guide you through the appeals process and protect your rights.
- File an Appeal – Once you’ve consulted a legal professional and gathered supporting evidence, your lawyer can help you submit your appeal requesting a review of the denial.
- Prepare for Possible Hearing – If your appeal goes to a hearing, prepare thoroughly with your attorney. This could involve rehearsing your testimony and reviewing pertinent evidence.
Hiring a Disability Attorney: When and Why It’s Necessary
Hiring a disability attorney is highly beneficial, no matter how simple or complex your case. It would help if you considered working with a police disability pension lawyer because they can:
- Handle Every Aspect of Your Case – A disability attorney can effectively manage every element of your case, including communications with others so that you can focus on your health.
- Appeal Claim Denials on Your Behalf – Attorneys significantly increase your chances of a successful appeal by building a strong case, gathering evidence, and challenging claim denials.
- Provide In-Depth Knowledge – Disability attorneys are deeply familiar with relevant disability laws and regulations, allowing them to make strategic moves every step of the way.
- Advocate on Your Behalf – Your attorney will champion your rights, representing you in negotiations or court proceedings and safeguarding your interests throughout the process.
- Maximize Your Benefits – Your lawyer will understand how pension calculations work and can use their background knowledge to secure the maximum benefits you’re entitled to.
Contact a Police Disability Pension Lawyer Now
Is a pre-existing condition affecting your eligibility for the police disability pension you deserve? Don’t give up. Let the knowledgeable attorneys at Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. help. Call our team at 516-496-0400 or reach out to us online to take advantage of your free case review now and explore your legal options.