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352.031 Appeals procedure.

Subdivision 1. Definitions. Unless the language or context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended, for the purpose of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.

(a) "Board" means the board of directors of the Minnesota State Retirement System.

(b) "Documentation" includes, but is not limited to:

(1) sworn and notarized affidavits made on the personal knowledge of any person;

(2) official letters or documents;

(3) documents from the file of the petitioner; and

(4) other relevant documents that are admissible as evidence in a court of law.

(c) "Executive director" means the executive director of the Minnesota State Retirement System.

(d) "Person" includes any state agency or other governmental unit that employs persons covered under statutes listed in subdivision 2.

(e) "Record" means the petition and the documentation that the petitioners submit with the petition; the executive director's answer to the petition and documentation submitted with it; and any documentation the board allows to be submitted at or after the meeting at which the petition is considered.

Subd. 2. Notice of termination or denial. If the executive director terminates a benefit or denies an application or a written request of any person claiming a right under chapter 352, other than sections 352.96 and 352.97; chapters 3A, 352B, 352C, and 352D; sections 490.121 to 490.133; or the applicable sections of chapters 355 and 356, the executive director shall serve upon that person written notice containing:

(1) the reasons for the termination or denial;

(2) notice that the person may petition the board for a review of the termination or denial and that the petition for review must be filed within 60 days of the receipt of the written notice;

(3) a statement that relevant documentation submitted by the petitioner to the executive director must be received in the office of the Minnesota State Retirement System at least 30 days before the meeting prescribed in subdivision 4;

(4) a statement that failure to petition the board within 60 days will preclude the person from contesting in any other court procedure or administrative hearing, the issues determined by the executive director; and

(5) a copy of this section.

Subd. 3. Petition for review. A person who claims a right under subdivision 2 and whose benefit has been terminated or whose application or written request has been denied may petition for a review of that decision by the board. A petition under this section must be served upon the executive director personally, or by mail postmarked no later than 60 days after the petitioner received the notice required by subdivision 2. The petition must include the sworn, notarized statement of the reasons the petitioner believes the decision of the executive director should be reversed or modified and may include relevant documentation. Relevant documentation submitted by the petitioner to the executive director must be received in the office of the Minnesota State Retirement System at least 30 days before the meeting prescribed in subdivision 4.

Subd. 4. Answer; record for hearing. Within a reasonable time after receiving a petition, the executive director must serve the petitioner with an answer to the petition with all relevant documentation and with notice of the time and place of the regular or special board meeting at which the board will consider the petition. The documentation need not duplicate the documentation submitted by the petitioner. Not later than ten days before the board meeting at which the petition will be heard, the executive director must, personally or by mail, deliver a copy of the relevant documentation to each board member. Each board member who participates in the decision on the petition must be familiar with all relevant documentation.

Subd. 5. Hearing. The board shall hold a timely hearing on a petition for review. The board shall make its decision on a petition solely on the relevant documentation as submitted and the proceedings of the hearing. At the hearing, the petitioner, the petitioner's attorney, and the executive director may state and discuss with the board their positions with respect to the petition. The board may allow further documentation to be placed in the record at or subsequent to the board meeting at which the petition is considered. If the board allows additional documentation into the record at or subsequent to the board meeting, it may make a final determination on the petition at that board meeting only upon the agreement of both the petitioner and the executive director.

Subd. 5a. Executive director's order. Notwithstanding subdivisions 4 and 5, if the executive director determines with respect to a petition that no relevant facts are in dispute, the executive director shall inform the board of that determination, and the board may issue findings of fact, a decision, reasons for the decision, and a final order and serve it upon the petitioner as provided in subdivision 8. If a petitioner receives an adverse decision, the petitioner may appeal the board's final order under subdivision 9.

Subd. 6. Termination of benefits. If the executive director proposes to terminate a benefit that is being paid to any person, before terminating the benefit, the executive director must, in addition to the other procedures prescribed herein, give the person written or oral notice of the proposed termination. The notice must explain the reason for the proposed termination. The person must be given an opportunity, verbally or in writing, to explain why the benefit should not be terminated: if the executive director is unable to contact the person and the executive director determines that a failure to terminate the benefit might result in unauthorized payment by the association, the executive director may terminate the benefit with only a written notice containing the information required by subdivision 2, mailed to the address to which the benefit was last sent and, if that address is a financial institution, to the last known address of the person.

Subd. 7. Medical adviser action. If a person petitions the board to reverse or modify a determination by the executive director finding that the petitioner, for medical reasons, does not or has ceased to qualify for a disability benefit, the board may resubmit the matter to the medical adviser for reconsideration, with or without instructions to obtain further medical examinations. The board may make a determination contrary to the recommendation of the medical adviser only if there is expert medical evidence in the record to support its contrary decision. If there is no medical opinion contrary to the opinion of the medical adviser in the record and the medical adviser asserts that the decision was made in accordance with the disability standard in section 352.01, subdivision 17; 352B.10; or 490.121, subdivision 13, the board must follow the determination of the medical adviser. The board may make a determination different from the recommendation of the medical adviser on issues that do not involve a medical opinion.

Subd. 8. Board findings. After the board has made a decision on a petition, the executive director must prepare findings of fact, the board's reasons for its conclusions, and the board's final order for the signature of the chair or other board member as the board, by resolution, may designate. The executive director shall serve the findings, conclusions, and order on the petitioner by certified mail.

Subd. 9. Appeals. Within 30 days of receipt of the findings, conclusions, and final order, the petitioner may appeal the board's decision by writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. Failure to appeal to that court within the 30 days precludes the petitioner from later raising, in any court procedure or administrative hearing, those substantive and procedural issues that reasonably should have been raised upon appeal.

Subd. 10. Referral for administrative hearing. Notwithstanding sections 14.03; 14.06; and 14.57 to 14.69, a challenge to a determination of the executive director must be conducted exclusively under the procedures in this section. The board in its sole discretion may refer a petition brought under this section to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case hearing under sections 14.57 to 14.69.

Subd. 11. Petitions without notice. A person who is not entitled to a review under this section may nevertheless receive review of the decision of the executive director which affects the person's rights by petitioning the board under this section within 60 days of the time the person knew or should have known of the disputed decision.

HIST: 1989 c 319 art 1 s 5; 1990 c 570 art 12 s 3-5

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Revisor of Statutes