Disability Pensions

Disability Pensions

Can I work when I’m on a disability pension?

Members of the pension system are allowed to work if they are on a disability pension. However, they should be aware of any work restrictions that the pension doctors assigned to them when the pension was granted. If they are working in a capacity that exceeds the work restrictions of the pension doctors, the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners has the authority to review the pension and adjust it accordingly if it is determined that the disability status has changed.

Can my disability pension be reviewed even though a scheduled or periodic review was not assigned?

Yes. Some disability pensions are granted with a scheduled review. These are typically cases where the disability is determined to have the potential to change in the near future and the Board reviews the granted disability to make any adjustments to the pension that may be warranted. However, the City Charter and Administrative Code grants the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners the authority to review all disability pensions.

Do I need an attorney/representative if I apply for a disability pension?

In filing for a service-connected/nonservice-connected disability pension, the choice to retain representation is entirely up to you. Applicants who seek representation must be represented by either legal counsel or by a representative of an organization registered with the City Clerk’s Office (e.g. LAPPL, UFLAC, etc.). Applicants may choose to represent themselves.

Note: LAFPP staff is prohibited from providing copies of psychiatric medical reports directly to an applicant who is not represented by an attorney, based on professional advice from psychiatrists that providing these documents to an applicant who filed a psychiatric claim might cause harm to the applicant.

Disability Pension cases are presented to the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners in one of two manners:

The first is when the applicant agrees with all of the elements of the recommendation that staff provides to the Board regarding the pension application. In this situation, when the case is at the Board, the Board votes on the case and reads the file into the record with the understanding that all interested parties agree with the recommendation. It typically takes less than 5 minutes for the Board to complete their necessary administrative actions.

All other cases are scheduled on the Board’s agenda with the understanding that there is disagreement with some or all of staff’s recommendation on the disability application. In these scenarios, the applicant or applicant’s attorney/representative is given the opportunity to present supporting evidence and oral testimony to the Board and explain any disagreements with staff’s recommendation.

Not all of the cases that go to the Board have representation. Again, it is an individual decision that needs to be made by you, as you know the complexity of your case. Some of these cases have taken up to an hour to present to the Board, depending on the complexities of the case. The Hearing is not adversarial, just an opportunity for the applicant/attorney to explain any disagreements with the recommendation.

An applicant who represents him or herself at a concluded hearing may request a rehearing within 90 days after the Board has adopted the Findings of Fact for the purpose of being represented by legal counsel.

What is recaptured by Workers’ Compensation if I get a disability/surviving spouse pension?

If a Disability Pension is granted, service-connected or non-service-connected, regardless of the disability involved, the following will be recaptured by Workers’ Compensation:

  • All permanent disability cash awards, including attorney’s fees
  • Temporary Disability paid at State Rate
  • Advances from permanent disability
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance

Arrangements for the recapture of funds are made with the Accounting Section of the Department of Fire and Police Pensions and the City’s third-party Workers’ Compensation administrator.

Note: Surviving Spouses are not required to pay back Workers’ Compensation awards of a member’s prior injuries. State Death Benefits payable to a surviving spouse may be recapturable.