Severance Pay and Disability

I am in a union and have a severance policy in place for the last five years. It does not address my situation. The policy states you must apply for the severance by October 15 and request your retirement on July,1 or December,31 of the following year. I have been out on workmens compensation starting March,30,2010. I ask my doctors to fill out disability retirement form for me that were not completed until early December. Prior to this I was made aware of the severance pay available to me by the shop steward on October 27 and summited my request that day. The head of human resources said he had no problem with it being late under the circumstances. He needed to check with the chief financial officer. No response to date. They have paid other on a Disability Retirement. They do make two payments in different tax years and the contract calls for lump sum total payment. You also have the right to cancel and it is not part of the contract. If I knew I was able to cancel I would have put in for it long before October. The amount is substantial.
Thanks in advance.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 19, 2011 8:57 PM [EST]  |  applies to New Jersey

Answers (1)

Doris Dabrowski
The particular facts in your situation require a review of the plan and policy documents. Without reviewing the governing documents and other pertinent facts, I can only state general legal principles. Retirement plan fiduciaries, e.g., trustees and administrators, must comply with the governing plan document. If the governing plan document specifies a deadline for application for disability retirement, the Plan may deny an untimely claim for benefits. A denial of disability benefit based on an untimely application does not preclude you from obtaining retirement benefits at normal retirement age, provided that you fulfill the eligibility requirements in the plan for retirement. Your rights to severance benefits depends on whether this benefit is provided under a plan as defined by federal benefits law. Your union membership suggests that the severance benefit may be a provision of a collective bargaining agreement. If so, you should follow the union grievance procedure to challenge a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. If you wish a consultation, please contact me or another lawyer familiar with employee benefits law. Doris Dabrowski, 1525 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
215-790-1115, licensed in Pa. and N.J.

posted by Doris Dabrowski  |  Jan 20, 2011 08:53 AM [EST]

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