Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are My PERA Retirement Benefits Deductible From My Minnesota Workers Compensation Benefits?

Up until August 13, 2014, injured workers who were declared permanently totally disabled, had their Minnesota workers compensation benefits reduced by the amount of their public employee retirement association (PERA) benefit.  In many cases this would virtually eliminate their entitled to work related wage loss benefits.

On August 13th, the Minnesota Supreme Court, reversed the Minnesota Workers Compensation Court of Appeals in the case of Sharyn Hartwig v. Traverse Care Center and denied the ability of insurance companies to force PERA retirement offsets from permanent total disability benefits.  The Hartwig decision follows another Court decision indicating that teacher pension benefits may not be used to offset permanent total disability benefits. 

How will this affect you case?  For most injured workers they are very lucky in never having to explore the issue of permanent total disability benefits.  However every year I represent clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries where we bring claims for permanent total disability benefits.  In fact, just last week I signed up a client who is clearly PTD and whose employer was encouraging him to file for PERA disability rather than PERA retirement.  The outcome of this case will have a dramatic impact on his benefits in the amount of nearly $2,000/month. 

Though I say this time and time again, experience matters when choosing a workers compensation attorney.  There are attorneys throughout Minnesota who you will find while Google searching on the internet.  They often boast and make claims that are misleading at best.  One firm calls themselves the largest workers compensation firm in Minnesota when all of their workers compensation lawyers combined have less workers compensation experience than myself and a few other lawyers who practice exclusively workers compensation.  We refer to them as "baby lawyers" for a reason.  Ask these so called expert lawyers how many years they have been lawyers (some of the people you talk with aren't even lawyers) and then ask how many years have you exclusively handled workers compensation cases.  The answers will surprise you.

If you need an expert workers compensation attorney with over 2 decades of experience, contact Atkinson Law Office and Minnesota Disability.  Attorney Tom Atkinson is truly recognized as an expert workers compensation attorney and Kerry Atkinson is a State of Minnesota AND National civil litigation specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and many other organizations.  We look forward to assisting you.  There is NEVER a fee unless we recover benefits for you.  Visit us at or call 651-333-3636 today.