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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 353

Section 353.656

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353.656 DISABILITY BENEFITS.
    Subdivision 1. Duty disability; computation of benefits. (a) A member of the police and
fire plan who is determined to qualify for duty disability as defined in section 353.01, subdivision
41, shall receive disability benefits during the period of such disability in an amount equal to 60
percent of the average salary as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 17a.
    (b) To be eligible for a benefit under paragraph (a), the member must have:
    (1) not met the requirements for a retirement annuity under section 353.651, subdivision 1; or
    (2) met the requirements under that subdivision, but does not have at least 20 years of
allowable service credit.
    (c) If paragraph (b), clause (2), applies, the disability benefit must be paid for a period of
60 months from the disability benefit accrual date and at the end of that period is subject to
provisions of subdivision 5a.
    (d) If the disability under this subdivision occurs before the member has at least five years of
allowable service credit in the police and fire plan, 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.MS 2006 [Renumbered, subd 1b]
    Subd. 1a. Total and permanent duty disability; computation of benefits. (a) A member
of the police and fire plan whose disabling condition is determined to be a duty disability that
is also a permanent and total disability as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 19, is entitled
to receive, for life, disability benefits in an amount equal to 60 percent of the average salary as
defined in section 353.01, subdivision 17a, plus an additional percent specified in section 356.315,
subdivision 6
, of that average salary for each year of service in excess of 20 years.
    (b) A disability benefit payable under paragraph (a) is subject to eligibility review under
section 353.33, subdivision 6, but the review may be waived if the executive director receives a
written statement from the association's medical advisor that no improvement can be expected in
the member's disabling condition that was the basis for payment of the benefit under paragraph
(a). A member receiving a disability benefit under this subdivision who is found to no longer be
permanently and totally disabled as defined under section 353.01, subdivision 19, but continues to
meet the definition for receipt of a duty disability under section 353.01, subdivision 41, is subject
to subdivision 1 upon written notice from the association's medical advisor that the person is no
longer considered permanently and totally disabled.
    (c) If a member approved for disability benefits under this subdivision dies before attaining
normal retirement age as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 37, paragraph (b), or within 60
months of the effective date of the disability, whichever is later, the surviving spouse is entitled to
receive a survivor benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 2, paragraph (a), clause (1), if the
death is the direct result of the disabling condition for which disability benefits were approved, or
section 353.657, subdivision 2, paragraph (a), clause (2), if the death is not directly related to the
disabling condition for which benefits were approved under this subdivision.
    (d) If the election of an actuarial equivalent optional annuity is not made at the time the
permanent and total disability benefit accrues, an election must be made within 90 days before the
member attains normal retirement age as defined under section 353.01, subdivision 37, paragraph
(b), or having collected total and permanent disability benefits for 60 months, whichever is
later. If a member receiving disability benefits who has dependent children dies, subdivision
6a, paragraph (c), applies.
    Subd. 1b. Optional annuity election. (a) A disabled member of the police and fire fund
may elect to receive the normal disability benefit or an actuarial equivalent optional annuity. If
the election of an actuarial equivalent optional annuity is made before the commencement of
payment of the disability benefit, the optional annuity must begin to accrue on the same date as
the disability benefit covering only the disabilitant would have accrued.
    (b) If an election of an optional annuity is not made before the commencement of the
disability benefit, the disabilitant may elect an optional annuity:
    (1) within 90 days before normal retirement age;
    (2) upon the filing of an application to convert to an early retirement annuity, if electing to
convert to an early retirement annuity before the normal retirement age; or
    (3) within 90 days before the expiration of the 60-month period for which a disability benefit
is paid, if the disability benefit is payable because the disabled member did not have at least 20
years of allowable service at normal retirement age.
    (c) If a disabled member who has named a joint and survivor optional annuity beneficiary
dies before the disability benefit ceases and is recalculated under subdivision 5a, the beneficiary
eligible to receive the joint and survivor annuity may elect to have the annuity converted at the
times designated in paragraph (b), clause (1), (2), or (3), whichever allows for the earliest payment
of a higher joint and survivor annuity option resulting from recalculation under subdivision 5a,
paragraph (e).
    (d) A disabled member may name a person other than the spouse as beneficiary of a joint and
survivor annuity only if the spouse of the disabled member permanently waives surviving spouse
coverage on the disability application form prescribed by the executive director.
    (e) If the spouse of the member permanently waives survivor coverage, the dependent child
or children, if any, continue to be eligible for dependent child benefits under section 353.657,
subdivision 3
, and the designated optional annuity beneficiary may draw the monthly benefit.
    (f) Any optional annuity under this subdivision, plus dependent child benefits, if applicable,
are subject to the maximum and minimum family benefit amounts specified in section 353.657,
subdivision 3a
.
    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. Reduction restored; overpayment. 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. Regular disability benefit. (a) A member of the police and fire plan who qualifies
for a regular disability benefit as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 46, is entitled to receive a
disability benefit, after filing a valid application, in an amount equal to 45 percent of the average
salary as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 17a.
    (b) To be eligible for a benefit under paragraph (a), the member must have at least one year
of allowable service credit and have:
    (1) not met the requirements for a retirement annuity under section 353.651, subdivision 1, or
    (2) met the requirements under that subdivision, but does not have at least 15 years of
allowable service credit.
    (c) If paragraph (b), clause (2), applies, the disability benefit must be paid for a period of
60 months from the disability benefit accrual date and, at the end of that period, is subject to
provisions of subdivision 5a.
    (d) 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. 3a. Total and permanent regular disability; computation of benefits. (a) A member
of the police and fire plan whose disabling condition is determined to be a regular disability
under section 353.01, subdivision 46, that is also a permanent and total disability as defined in
section 353.01, subdivision 19, is entitled to receive, for life, a disability benefit in an amount
equal to 45 percent of the average salary as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 17a, plus an
additional percent specified in section 356.315, subdivision 6, of that average salary for each
year of service in excess of 15 years.
    (b) A disability benefit payable under paragraph (a) is subject to eligibility review under
section 353.33, subdivision 6, but the review may be waived if the executive director receives a
written statement from the association's medical advisor that no improvement can be expected in
the member's disabling condition that was the basis for payment of the benefit under paragraph
(a). A member receiving a disability benefit under this subdivision who is found to no longer be
permanently and totally disabled as defined under section 353.01, subdivision 19, but continues
to meet the definition for receipt of a regular disability under section 353.01, subdivision 46, is
subject to subdivision 3 upon written notice from the association's medical advisor that the person
is no longer considered permanently and totally disabled.
    (c) A member approved for disability benefits under this subdivision may elect to receive
a normal disability benefit or an actuarial equivalent optional annuity. If the election of an
actuarial equivalent optional annuity is not made at the time the total and permanent disability
benefit accrues, an election must be made within 90 days before the member attains normal
retirement age as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 37, paragraph (b), or having collected
disability benefits for 60 months, whichever is later. No surviving spouse benefits are payable if
the member dies during the period in which a normal total and permanent disability benefit is
being paid. If a member receiving disability benefits who has dependent children dies, subdivision
6a, paragraph (c), applies.
    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, sick
leave, or any other employer-provided salary continuation plan, 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, a firefighter, or a paramedic as defined in section 353.64, subdivision 10, whichever
applies.
    (b) If a disabled member resumes a gainful occupation with earnings that, when added to the
normal disability benefit, and workers' compensation benefit if applicable, exceed 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 base salary currently paid by the employing governmental subdivision
for similar positions.
    (c) 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 if applicable,
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.[Repealed, 2007 c 134 art 4 s 36]
    Subd. 5a. Cessation of disability benefit. (a) The association shall cease the payment of any
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.
    (b) A disability benefit paid to a disabled member of the police and fire plan, that was granted
under laws in effect after June 30, 2007, terminates at the end of the month in which the member:
    (1) reaches normal retirement age;
    (2) if the disability benefit is payable for a 60-month period as determined under subdivisions
1 and 3, as applicable, the first of the month following the expiration of the 60-month period; or
    (3) if the disabled member so chooses, the end of the month in which the member has elected
to convert to an early retirement annuity under section 353.651, subdivision 4.
    (c) If the police and fire plan member continues to be disabled when the disability benefit
terminates under this subdivision, the member is deemed to be retired. The individual is entitled
to receive a normal retirement annuity or an early retirement annuity under section 353.651,
whichever is applicable, as further specified in paragraph (d) or (e). If the individual did not
previously elect an optional annuity under subdivision 1a, paragraph (a), the individual may elect
an optional annuity under subdivision 1a, paragraph (b).
    (d) A member of the police and fire plan who is receiving a disability benefit under this
section may, upon application, elect to receive an early retirement annuity under section 353.651,
subdivision 4
, at any time after attaining age 50, but must convert to a retirement annuity no later
than the end of the month in which the disabled member attains normal retirement age. An early
retirement annuity elected under this subdivision must be calculated on the disabled member's
accrued years of service and average salary as defined in section 353.01, subdivision 17a, and
when elected, the member is deemed to be retired.
    (e) When an individual's benefit is recalculated as a retirement annuity under this section, the
annuity must be based on clause (1) or clause (2), whichever provides the greater amount:
    (1) the benefit amount at the time of reclassification, including all prior adjustments provided
under section 11A.18; or
    (2) a benefit amount computed on the member's actual years of accrued allowable service
credit and the law in effect at the time the disability benefit first accrued, plus any increases that
would have applied since that date under section 11A.18.
    Subd. 6.[Repealed, 1993 c 307 art 4 s 54]
    Subd. 6a. Disability survivor benefits for pre-July 1, 2007, disabilitants. (a) If a member
who is receiving a disability benefit that was granted under the laws in effect before July 1, 2007,
dies before attaining normal retirement age as defined under section 353.01, subdivision 37,
paragraph (b), 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, paragraph
(a), clause (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) If the disability benefit was granted under the laws in effect before July 1, 2007, and the
disabilitant is living at the age required for receipt of a retirement annuity under section 353.651,
subdivision 1, or five years after the effective date of the disability, whichever is later, the disabled
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 before attaining normal
retirement age as defined under section 353.01, subdivision 37, paragraph (b), or within 90 days
before 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 the age required for receipt of a retirement annuity under section 353.651, subdivision 1, or
reaches the five-year anniversary of the effective date of the disability benefit, whichever is later.
    (c) If any disabled member dies while receiving a benefit and has a dependent child or
children, the association shall grant a dependent child benefit under section 353.657, subdivision 3.
    Subd. 7.[Repealed, 1992 c 432 art 2 s 51]
    Subd. 8. Application procedure to determine eligibility for police and fire plan disability
benefits. The application procedures to determine eligibility for police and fire plan disability
benefits are defined under section 353.031.
    Subd. 9.[Repealed, 2007 c 134 art 4 s 36]
    Subd. 10. Accrual of benefits. (a) Except for a total and permanent disability under
subdivision 1a, a disability benefit begins to accrue when the applicant is no longer receiving
any form of compensation, whether salary or paid leave 90 days preceding the filing of an
application; or, if annual or sick leave, or any other employer-paid salary continuation plan is paid
for more than the 90-day period, from the date on which the payment of salary ceased, whichever
is later. Except for a total and permanent disability under subdivision 1a, no member is entitled
to receive a disability benefit payment when there remains to the member's credit any unused
annual leave, sick leave, or any other employer-paid salary continuation benefit, or under any
other circumstances when, during the period of disability, there has been no impairment of the
person's salary.
    (b) Payment of the disability benefit must not continue beyond the end of the month in
which entitlement has terminated. If the disabilitant dies prior to negotiating the check for the
month in which death occurs, payment must be made to the surviving spouse or, if none, to the
designated beneficiary or, if none, to the estate.
    Subd. 11.[Repealed, 2007 c 134 art 4 s 36]
    Subd. 12.[Repealed, 2007 c 134 art 4 s 36]
    Subd. 13. Chemical dependency limitations to disability benefit eligibility. (a) No benefits
are payable for any disability resulting in whole or in part from the member's current use of illegal
drugs. This exclusion does not apply to a member who:
    (1) has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program or has otherwise
been rehabilitated successfully and is no longer engaging in such use; or
    (2) is participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in
such use.
    (b) "Illegal use of drugs" means the use of drugs, the possession or distribution of which is
unlawful under United States Code, title 21, section 801. "Illegal use of drugs" does not include
the use of a drug taken under the supervision of a licensed health care professional, or other uses
authorized by United States Code, title 21, or other provisions of law.
History: 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; 2000 c 461 art 3 s 23,24; 2002 c 392 art 11 s 52; 2004 c 267 art 8 s 20-25; 1Sp2005
c 8 art 1 s 14; 2006 c 212 art 3 s 35; 2006 c 271 art 3 s 29; art 4 s 1-3; 2007 c 134 art 4 s 15-25