DISABILITY REEXAM BILL ADVANCES

JUNE 8, 2007: The
Joint Committee on Public Service favorably released H2510, which limits the
reexamination and reevaluation of disability retirees to the first ten years of
retirement. H2510 was filed by Representative David Flynn (D-Bridgewater) and
Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) on behalf of our Association.

Under current law, all disability retirees are required to
undergo a reevaluation of their medical, physical, and psychological condition
once a year during the first two years of retirement, then once every three
years thereafter. This required reevaluation, in which the goal is to return no
longer disabled retirees to active service, is conducted by the Public Employee
Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC).

By ending the reevaluation process after ten years,
disability retirees will also be held harmless from an obscure law also allows
for a retiree’s disability pension to be “modified” if it is determined,
following an evaluation, that the person is capable of “gainful occupation”.

Public Service Chairmen Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield)
and Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) agreed with Association officials in finding that
after ten years of retirement the likelihood of a disabled retiree being found
capable of returning to active public service is remote at best. The Committee
stated that to continue the reevaluation process beyond ten years not only
placed an unfair burden on retirees, but also wastes valuable public resources.

H2510 is now before the House Committee on Steering and
Policy. Association lobbyists hope to advance the bill to a vote before the
House in the near future.

Tags: