November 20, 2018

Eligibility for GML 207 benefits


Eligibility for GML 207 benefits
Dearman v City of White Plains, 237 A.D.2d 603

Although William H. Dearman, a White Plains firefighter, was approved for accidental disability retirement benefits by the Police and Fire Retirement System, White Plains denied Dearman's application for General Municipal Law §207-a benefits. Dearman sued, seeking a court order compelling the City to pay him §207-a supplemental benefits.

The Appellate Division ruled that Dearman's petition was untimely, having been filed more than four months after the City had made its "final determination." Of greater significance, however was the Appellate Division's observation that the lower court was incorrect in viewing Dearman's action to be in the nature of mandamus to compel the City to perform a statutory duty.

According to the decision, the City is allowed to make its own determination as to whether Dearman was entitled to §207-a benefits and the Retirement Systems determination granting Dearman §363 disability benefits did not preclude the City from finding him ineligible for §207-a benefits. The Appellate Division noted the Court of Appeals' decision in Cook v City of Utica, 84 NY2d 833 concerning this point.


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