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Calling all former cops
Old 08-20-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
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Calling all former cops

My son (age 36) who is a cop was diagnosed with epilepsy about a year ago. He has been doing a desk job for the last year. His medication seems to be working. About 6 months after diagnosis, he was allowed to drive, but not carry a gun. Today, he was notified that he will no longer have a job as of the last day of this month. He can either apply for disability (own occupation) that will cover 50% of his salary until age 60, or take another job with the city at 2/3rds less pay. He is wanting to go the disability route. It is his understanding that he will be able to work while on disability, just not for the city. He tends to be a little na´ve and assumes way too much. He believes the advice of his union person and the union attorney is all he needs. His wife is an LPN and they have 4 kids. He has been told it is OK to work while waiting for the disability to be approved. He was told it is usually approved in 8 weeks. Any experiences or insight greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:29 PM   #2
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In my former state / police department that disability pension is tax free. Disability early retired officers also qualified for paid health insurance coverage. I'd be giving serious consideration to the disability retirement.
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Old 08-20-2015, 04:45 PM   #3
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I think he'd do well to have a talk with another attorney to make sure what the union one is telling him is correct and all he needs to know. IOW, get a second legal opinion. And I'd ask "Who is the union attorney's client? Him or the union?" The answer may affect what advice the union's attorney provides and whether it is in your son's best interest or the union's.

It's great that he even gets a non-service-connected disability. We didn't have that at all. Service-connected disability was pretty good (66 2/3% tax-free which worked out to about the same as before) but for non-service-connected, other than SSDI you were on your own.

I'd also be looking at the disability retirement. The epilepsy is probably not going to get any better and it may not be long before he cannot find any job at all.

But for something like this that is going to affect him and his family long-term he really should talk with his own attorney and not take anyone's advice at face value.
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:59 PM   #4
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I know nothing about disability, but agree with Walt34 - get your own attorney.

One other thing: Has your son been fully evaluated to determine the "cause" of his epilepsy? A friend had epilepsy for 30 years and then was diagnosed with a very slow growing benign brain tumor. Once the tumor was removed, he was free of all symptoms of epilepsy and eventually was able to drive. Just a thought.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:56 PM   #5
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In my former department the union attorney would be working for the officer. I dont know why anyone would be worried about the union attorney's client being the union. The union isn't the one paying his disability. His employer will be paying. I would have no problem following the advice of the union attorney

50% disability pension when the disability is not work related is a pretty good deal. I would take it. I also dont see why getting a different job would be a problem. Hes going on disability because they have determined he is no longer able to perform the job functions of a police officer. That doesnt mean he cant work at all.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thanks to all of you that took the time to post. I really, really appreciate all of you. Any other thoughts or suggestions would be great to hear.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:43 AM   #7
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Poster utrecht has it right.....I have a disability retirement from a big city fire department. Your son's union reps and attorney are well versed in your sons situation and their sole responsibility is to see that your sons best interest is their priority. This is what they do day in and day out. I'm sure they will take great pride in taking care of one of their own. It is the reason for their being.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:03 AM   #8
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I can't say that I'm well versed as to my former employers disability pension. I do know that it's tax free. Some of the guys also received social security. We didn't have the option to take a position at 1/3 the pay. The disability pension sounds like the right move as who can live on 1/3 of their pay?

I agree that the union lawyer probably knows the pension system and has your sons interests in mind as he is paid with union dues. However, since this a big decision, maybe he can get a consult with another lawyer just to confirm the advice given by his union lawyer
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:47 AM   #9
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One thing about receiving a disability pension and getting social security as well....when I went through the process about 5 years ago my union lawyer told me I could apply for SS as well. He also told me that if I took it, that work of any kind would be forbidden. That included mowing my own lawn or replacing a shingle on my roof. This route is a very slippery slope. I opted not to take it but live my life. I was not about to sit around and become a couch potato just for a few extra bucks.
This decision must not be taken lightly by your son. Weigh all of your options. Really think them through.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuffNuts View Post
One thing about receiving a disability pension and getting social security as well....when I went through the process about 5 years ago my union lawyer told me I could apply for SS as well. He also told me that if I took it, that work of any kind would be forbidden. That included mowing my own lawn or replacing a shingle on my roof. This route is a very slippery slope. I opted not to take it but live my life. I was not about to sit around and become a couch potato just for a few extra bucks.
This decision must not be taken lightly by your son. Weigh all of your options. Really think them through.
Was he talking about work being forbidden if you took SS? Or the pension? My bet is that it was the SS disability.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:31 AM   #11
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It was SS....I am disabled from firefighting. Nothing else. But all that changes if I took the SS. With SS you are disabled. Period. He said if I took the SS and was caught working, skiing, mowing my lawn, etc., I could get in serious trouble.
And as it should be! SS should be for the truly disabled. I am able to work still.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TuffNuts View Post
It was SS....I am disabled from firefighting. Nothing else. But all that changes if I took the SS. With SS you are disabled. Period. He said if I took the SS and was caught working, skiing, mowing my lawn, etc., I could get in serious trouble.
And as it should be! SS should be for the truly disabled. I am able to work still.
That's what I thought. My advice was to take the City disability but not SS disability and he should still be able to work some other desk type job or whatever less physically demanding job he can do.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:11 PM   #13
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Some disability plans do not allow you to work at all so he should look at this before deciding. Some will say for your occupation only & some for any occupation.
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