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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 353

Section 353.656

Recent History

353.656 Disability benefits.

Subdivision 1. In line of duty; computation of benefits. A member of the police and fire fund who becomes disabled and physically unfit to perform duties as a police officer or firefighter subsequent to June 30, 1973, as a direct result of an injury, sickness, or other disability incurred in or arising out of any act of duty, which has or is expected to render the member physically or mentally unable to perform duties as a police officer or firefighter for a period of at least one year, shall receive disability benefits during the period of such disability. The benefits must be in an amount equal to 60 percent of the "average salary" under subdivision 3, plus an additional percent specified in section 356.19, subdivision 6, of said average salary for each year of service in excess of 20 years. Should disability under this subdivision occur before the member has at least five years of allowable service credit in the police and fire fund, the disability benefit must be computed on the "average salary" from which deductions were made for contribution to the police and fire fund.

Subd. 1a. Optional annuity election. A disabled member of the police and fire fund may elect to receive the normal disability benefit or an optional annuity as provided in section 353.30, subdivision 3. The election of an optional annuity may be made prior to commencement of payment of the disability benefit or as specified under subdivision 6a. The optional annuity shall begin to accrue on the same date as provided for the disability benefit.

(1) If the person who is not the spouse of the member is named as beneficiary of the joint and survivor optional annuity, the person is eligible to receive the annuity only if the spouse, on the disability application form prescribed by the executive director, permanently waives the surviving spouse benefits under section 353.657, subdivisions 2 and 2a. If the spouse of the member refuses to permanently waive the surviving spouse coverage, the selection of a person other than the spouse of the member as a joint annuitant is invalid.

(2) If the spouse of the member permanently waives survivor coverage, the dependent child or children, if any, continue to be eligible for survivor benefits, including the minimum benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 3. The designated optional annuity beneficiary may draw the monthly benefit; however, the amount payable to the dependent child or children and joint annuitant must not exceed the 70 percent maximum family benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 3. If the maximum is exceeded, the benefit of the joint annuitant must be reduced to the amount necessary so that the total family benefit does not exceed the 70 percent maximum family benefit amount.

(3) If the spouse is named as the beneficiary of the joint and survivor optional annuity, the spouse may draw the monthly benefit; however, the amount payable to the dependent child or children and the joint annuitant must not exceed the 70 percent maximum family benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 3. If the maximum is exceeded, each dependent child will receive ten percent of the member's specified average monthly salary, and the benefit to the joint annuitant must be reduced to the amount necessary so that the total family benefit does not exceed the 70 percent maximum family benefit amount. The joint and survivor optional annuity must be restored to the surviving spouse, plus applicable postretirement adjustments under section 356.41, as the dependent child or children become no longer dependent under section 353.01, subdivision 15.

Subd. 2. Benefits paid under workers' compensation law. If a member, as described in subdivision 1, is injured under circumstances which entitle the member to receive benefits under the workers' compensation law, the member shall receive the same benefits as provided in subdivision 1, with disability benefits paid reimbursed and future benefits reduced by all periodic or lump sum amounts paid to the member under the workers' compensation law, after deduction of amount of attorney fees, authorized under applicable workers' compensation laws, paid by a disabilitant if the total of the single life annuity actuarial equivalent disability benefit and the workers' compensation benefit exceeds: (1) the salary the disabled member received as of the date of the disability or (2) the salary currently payable for the same employment position or an employment position substantially similar to the one the person held as of the date of the disability, whichever is greater. The disability benefit must be reduced to that amount which, when added to the workers' compensation benefits, does not exceed the greater of the salaries described in clauses (1) and (2).

Subd. 2a. A disabled member who is eligible to receive a disability benefit under subdivision 2 as of June 30, 1987, and whose disability benefit amount had been reduced prior to July 1, 1987, as a result of the receipt of workers' compensation benefits, must have the disability benefit payment amount restored, as of July 1, 1987, calculated in accordance with subdivision 2. However, a disabled member is not entitled to receive retroactive repayment of any disability benefit amounts lost before July 1, 1987, as a result of the reduction required before that date because of the receipt of workers' compensation benefits.

Any disability benefit overpayments made before July 1, 1987, and occurring because of the failure to reduce the disability benefit payment to the extent required because of the receipt of workers' compensation benefits, may be collected by the association through the reduction of disability benefit or annuity payment made on or after July 1, 1987, until the overpayment is fully recovered.

Subd. 3. Nonduty disability benefit. Any member who becomes disabled after not less than one year of allowable service because of sickness or injury occurring while not on duty as a police officer or firefighter, and by reason of that sickness or injury the member has been or is expected to be unable to perform duties as a police officer or firefighter for a period of at least one year, is entitled to receive a disability benefit. The benefit must be paid in the same manner as if the benefit were paid under section 353.651. If a disability under this subdivision occurs after one but in less than 15 years of allowable service, the disability benefit must be the same as though the member had at least 15 years service. For a member who is employed as a full-time firefighter by the department of military affairs of the state of Minnesota, allowable service as a full-time state military affairs department firefighter credited by the Minnesota state retirement system may be used in meeting the minimum allowable service requirement of this subdivision.

Subd. 4. Limitation on disability benefit payments. (a) No member is entitled to receive a disability benefit payment when there remains to the member's credit unused annual leave or sick leave or under any other circumstances when, during the period of disability, there has been no impairment of the person's salary as a police officer or a firefighter, whichever applies.

(b) If a disabled member resumes a gainful occupation with earnings less than the disabilitant reemployment earnings limit, the amount of the disability benefit must be reduced as provided in this paragraph. The disabilitant reemployment earnings limit is the greater of:

(1) the salary earned at the date of disability; or

(2) 125 percent of the salary currently paid by the employing governmental subdivision for similar positions.

The disability benefit must be reduced by one dollar for each three dollars by which the total amount of the current disability benefit, any workers' compensation benefits, and actual earnings exceed the greater disabilitant reemployment earnings limit. In no event may the disability benefit as adjusted under this subdivision exceed the disability benefit originally allowed.

Subd. 5. Proof of disability. A disability benefit payment must not be made except upon adequate proof furnished to the association of the existence of such disability, and during the time when disability benefits are being paid, the association has the right, at reasonable times, to require the disabled member to submit proof of the continuance of the disability claimed. A person applying for or receiving a disability benefit shall provide or authorize release of medical evidence, including all medical records and information from any source, relating to an application for disability benefits.

Subd. 5a. Cessation of disability benefit. The association shall cease the payment of an in-line-of-duty or nonduty disability benefit the first of the month following the reinstatement of a member to full time or less than full-time service in a position covered by the police and fire fund.

Subd. 6. Repealed, 1993 c 307 art 4 s 54

Subd. 6a. Disability survivor benefits. If a member who is receiving a disability benefit under subdivision 1 or 3:

(a) dies before attaining age 65 or within five years of the effective date of the disability, whichever is later, the surviving spouse shall receive a survivor benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 2 or 2a, unless the surviving spouse elected to receive a refund under section 353.32, subdivision 1. The joint and survivor optional annuity under subdivision 2a is based on the minimum disability benefit under subdivision 1 or 3, or the deceased member's allowable service, whichever is greater.

(b) is living at age 65 or five years after the effective date of the disability, whichever is later, the member may continue to receive a normal disability benefit, or the member may elect a joint and survivor optional annuity under section 353.30. The optional annuity is based on the minimum disability benefit under subdivision 1 or 3, or the member's allowable service, whichever is greater. The election of this joint and survivor annuity must occur within 90 days of age 65 or the five-year anniversary of the effective date of the disability benefit, whichever is later. The optional annuity takes effect the first of the month following the month in which the person attains age 65 or reaches the five-year anniversary of the effective date of the disability benefit, whichever is later.

(c) if there is a dependent child or children under paragraph (a) or (b), the association shall grant a dependent child benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 3.

Subd. 7. Repealed, 1992 c 432 art 2 s 51

HIST: 1971 c 297 s 3; 1973 c 753 s 72-74; 1975 c 102 s 20,21; 1975 c 359 s 23; 1976 c 329 s 28; 1977 c 429 s 63; 1978 c 796 s 38; 1979 c 216 s 19; 1981 c 68 s 23,24; 1981 c 180 s 16; 1981 c 224 s 96; 1983 c 85 s 2; 1Sp1985 c 7 s 15; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 284 art 5 s 14,15; 1987 c 372 art 1 s 7; art 9 s 20,21; 1989 c 319 art 3 s 22; art 17 s 14,15; 1990 c 570 art 11 s 9,10; 1991 c 341 s 23; 1992 c 432 art 2 s 19; 1993 c 307 art 4 s 34-39; 1993 c 352 s 5; 1994 c 463 s 1; 1997 c 233 art 1 s 42