TRENTON, N.J. – A bill that would clarify which State Police members may receive accidental disability benefit allowances was released from the Assembly State and Local Government Committee Monday.
The bill (A5442), sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, would allow State Police Retirement System members to apply for accidental disability retirement benefits if a work-related traumatic event directly triggered a preexisting, asymptomatic condition that rendered them totally and permanently disabled. Members who were denied this form of retirement in the previous 10 years can reapply, if they initially applied within five years of the event.
“No one expects that an asymptomatic condition would cause a permanent disability, but trauma can make that happen,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “Our State Police members should not be blocked from receiving the appropriate benefits because of a preexisting condition.”
The bill stipulates that the triggering event must have occurred while the member was performing regular duties, and have not been caused by the member. The permanent disability – be it a physical or mental incapacity – must be diagnosed by a retirement-system-approved physician. The bill outlines six general categories of disease covered: upper and lower respiratory diseases, gastroesophageal diseases, skin diseases, psychological diseases, and new onset diseases caused from exposure.
Approved beneficiaries will receive two-thirds of their annual compensation at the time of that traumatic event.
“I’m proud to sponsor this legislation that will ensure those Troopers and support staff who need this accidental disability benefit have access to it,” Dunn (R-Morris) said. . “The families of those public servants should have peace of mind that they will be provided for in the face of unexpected health challenges that force them out of work.”