What Are PERA or MSRS Duty Disability Benefits? (Infographic)

09.11.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

mary beth boyce

Public employees, such as police officers, firefighters, or corrections officers who pay into the PERA Police and Fire Plan, PERA Correctional Plan, or MSRS State Patrol Plan, or MSRS Correctional Plan, may be eligible for Duty Disability benefits, if they become injured in the line of duty and meet several other statutory requirements.

Under the PERA Police and Fire Plan…

Eligible members, such as police officers, deputy sheriffs, or firefighters, receive 60% of his or her “high five” average salary, non-taxable, until age 55. At age 55, the member receives the same amount; however, the benefit converts into a retirement benefit and is then taxable. The Public Employee Retirement Association or “PERA” defines a member’s “high five” as the salary he or she earned during “the 60 consecutives months in which your salary was the greatest,” meaning an average of the earnings during the highest five consecutive years of service. Members are then also eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465.

Under the PERA Correctional Plan…

Eligible members under the PERA Correctional Plan receive 47.5% of his or her “high-five.” These benefits are also non-taxable until age 55. At age 55, this benefit converts to a retirement benefit as well. Unfortunately, corrections officers are not eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465. We hope that the Minnesota Legislature will rectify this discrepancy among law enforcement officers in the State of Minnesota.

Under the MSRS State Patrol Plan…

Like PERA Police and Fire Plan members, state troopers under the MSRS State Patrol Plan who are awarded Duty Disability benefits receive 60% of the average of his or her five highest earning years. State troopers, like police officers and deputy sheriffs, also become eligible for Healthcare Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute §299A.465 after an award of Duty Disability benefits from MSRS.

Under the MSRS Correctional Plan…

Corrections officers who are awarded Duty Disability benefits under the MSRS Correctional Plan receive 50% of his or her high-five until age 55. At age 55, State Corrections Officers’ awards convert to a retirement benefit. Like, PERA Correctional Plan members, MSRS Correctional Plan members are not entitled to the continuation of health care.

PERA or MSRS Duty Disability Benefits infographic

What are the requirements to receive Duty Disability Benefits?

Police officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, and corrections officers must meet certain statutory requirements before PERA or MSRS will award these heightened benefits.

While there are certain exceptions, and as such, members considering applying for this benefit should consult with an attorney, generally the police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer must demonstrate:

  1. He or she sustained an injury while performing inherently dangerous duties.
  2. The duties the police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer were performing at the time of the injury were specific to his or her position (i.e. a firefighter, police officer, or corrections officer)
  3. He or she is unable to perform all the normal duties of his or her position (i.e. a firefighter, police officer, or corrections officer)
  4. The injured officer or firefighter’s condition is expected to persist for at least 12 months.

See Minnesota Statute §353.656 and Minnesota Statute §353.031 for more information. Duty disability benefits are different than regular disability benefits.

These requirements are different from work comp benefits that he or she might have already received or be entitled to under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits are only for eligible members who have paid into his or her respective plans. Members can receive both work comp benefits and duty disability benefits; however, certain offsets may apply, and again it’s important to consult with an experienced work comp and PERA duty disability attorney who can help maximize an injured police officer or firefighter’s recovery. These benefits are different than wage loss benefits and medical benefits that a member may or may not already be receiving from the city, county, or State’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Contact Attorney Mary Beth Boyce at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. at (763) 560-5700 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your PERA/MSRS Duty Disability and/or workers’ compensation case for more information about the statutory requirements as well as the application process. Mary Beth is experienced in PERA and MSRS Duty Disability law and repeatedly successfully establishes entitlement to PERA and MSRS Duty Disability benefits for her clients injured in the line of duty.


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