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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NYS Employees’ Retirement System benefits are based on the member’s job title at the time of his or her retirement



NYS Employees’ Retirement System benefits are based on the member’s job title at the time of his or her retirement
2015 NY Slip Op 04555, Appellate Division, Third Department

In 2008, aNew York State Correction Officer [Officer] retired from his position and began collecting service retirement benefits pursuant to Retirement and Social Security Law Article 14. Some four years later Officer requested that he be granted service retirement benefits pursuant to Retirement and Social Security Law Article 15, contending that “other correction officers … had been granted service retirement under Article 15.”

After an administrative hearing, the Hearing Officer concluded that Officer was not eligible for Article 15 service retirement benefits and the Comptroller adopted the Hearing Officer’s decision, in which he included a supplemental conclusion of law, and denied the Officer’s request for Article 15 retirement benefits. Officer appealed the Comptroller’s decision.

The Appellate Division confirmed the Comptroller’s determination, noting that “The Comptroller has exclusive authority to determine all applications for retirement benefits and the determination must be upheld if the interpretation of [the] controlling retirement statute is reasonable and the underlying factual findings are supported by substantial evidence."

Retirement and Social Security Law §600 (a) (2) (a) provides that "[m]embers in the uniformed personnel in institutions under the jurisdiction of the [D]epartment of [C]orrections and [C]ommunity [S]upervision of New York [S]tate" are excluded from Retirement and Social Security Law Article 15 benefits.”

A representative from the New York Stateand Local Employees' Retirement System testified that retirement benefits are based upon an applicant's job title at the time of the individual’s retirement, and Officer admittedly retired from service from the position of correction officer.

While Officer argued that the denial of his request for Article 15 service retirement benefits was irrational based upon the fact that other correction officers were granted such benefits, the Appellate Division said the record reflects that those officers had “transferred to civilian job titles prior to retirement.”

The court’s conclusion: The Comptroller's determination that Officer was ineligible for Article 15 service retirement benefits is consistent with the applicable statutory provision and supported by substantial evidence and will not be disturbed.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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