Injunction issued in disability case

Ramsey County District Judge Timothy Mulrooney has issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a measure, passed this spring by the […]

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Ramsey County District Judge Timothy Mulrooney has issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a measure, passed this spring by the Minnesota Legislature, which could reduce the size of disability pensions for some former law enforcement officers and firefighters. 

Under that provision, former public safety workers receiving disability pensions could see a portion of their pensions reduced if their income from another job, combined with their pension, exceeded what they would be earning if they had continued in their original jobs. 

The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), which initiated the legislation and is being sued by an association representing disabled former public safety workers, is evaluating all its legal options in response to the order, said John Stiles, a spokesman for Attorney General Keith Ellison, in a statement. 

A hearing on the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is slated for Jan. 31. 

The primary aim of the legislation is to provide state-reimbursed treatment of public safety workers, mainly police, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A surge in PTSD claims since 2020 — largely in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer, but also across the state — has stressed the state’s public safety disability pension funds, PERA officials told state lawmakers. 

It also has had a major impact on local police departments who have seen their numbers drop as officers go on permanent disability. 

The legislation requires public safety workers diagnosed with PTSD to undergo 24 to 32 weeks of therapy, paid for by the state, in hopes that many of them will be able to return to work. Most of the law, including that provision, remains in force and is not affected by the temporary injunction issued Monday. 

However, the legislation also specifies that public safety workers already receiving disability payments could see those payments reduced, under a complicated formula that depends on how much they earn in non-public safety jobs after they leave their departments. 

The Minnesota Duty Disabled Association sued PERA and sought the temporary injunction. 

(Source: Star Tribune)

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