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CalPERS Retirement

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#1 LyndaMJacobsen


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Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:13 AM

I live in California and worked for the State of California for approximately 20 years.

I was placed on disability in November 2007 and received full social security disability benefits in June 2009.

When I was placed on disability, I applied for disability retirement from Calpers and currently receive service retirement benefits.  CalPERS is fighting me about my entitlement to receive disability retirment.

Upon recommendation of its legal staff, the CalPERS Board of Administration eventually denied my disabiilty retirement application.  I filed an Application for a Writ of Mandate (...keeping in mind that I really don't know what I am doing and unfortunately have no monies for legal representation).  CalPERS has now filed a Motion to Strike and the hearing is set for January 19, 2011.  I assume I need to file a response and would appreciate any guidance in this matter.  For example, if anyone knows of a website where I can review responses that other people may have filed who are in a similar situation (e.g., fighting with CalPERS for benefits that should be awarded). 

Again, a federal ALJ had no problems issuing me full social security disability benefits and the federal standard is a much higher standard than the standard that one has to meet in order to receive CalPERS' disability benefits.  

#2 Fallen


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Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:20 AM

I would urge you to consult with attorneys even if you have no money on hand (just like with firms that do Social Security disability appeals, they tend to agree to take a case for X of the back portion of the payments received).

The chance that someone will happen across the post who happens to be intimately familiar with the internal procedures when it comes to the inner workings of this retirement system is unlikely (and you've posted about this before).  If other cases aren't a matter of public record, googling for other boards where folks within the CA online community have had to fight for their disability benefits presumably has revealed nothing of use.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

#3 LyndaMJacobsen


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Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:35 AM

Thank you for your quick response.  I really don't know where to turn at this point. I have contacted over 20 attorneys and no one will work on my case without a $2000 - $3000 retainer.

#4 belovedgender


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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:46 PM

I, too, worked for the state for 15 years until life-threatening toxic injuries forced me out. Although these injuries occurred as a result of the workplace being surrounded with state-owned almond orchards without a safety buffer zone, in conjunction with the intentional spraying of toxic chemicals within our immediate work areas (in a previous agreement between gov employers, unions & state agencies) our injuries were determined to not be work related.  Denied compensation, medical care & an evaluation by a licensed physician by employer & SCIF, on my death bed, I had no where to turn.  Too injured & mental impaired to represent myself, attorney after attorney, turned me down.  CalPERS did the same thing to me.  (CalPERS Board members have union ties) and CalPERS is now alleging its broke. 

I would suggest you keep searching for a firm who is not afraid of taking on the state and the unions.  Good Luck,  J*** H***

[This post has been edited to remove personal or identifying information. -Moderator]

#5 CalifDisabilityPensionAttorney


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Posted 27 December 2010 - 04:08 PM

It sounds like you bypassed the administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings. If you filed a petition for a writ of mandate before completing the hearing, you will likely have the petition denied - summarily.

Although CalPERS holds itself out as a warrior for fairness in the Corporate Board rooms, it's own treatment of State employees seeking disability retirement often fails the "smell" test.

You were undoubtedly sent to a CalPERS "IME" (Independent Medical Examiner) doctor. What a joke. They get these doctors from the lowest level of the defense doctors used by SCIF. They ask the doctors to express legal opinions, masquerading as legal opinions. Then you get a letter denying your claim without a single piece of analysis as to why your treating doctor's opinions should be overruled by their medical expert.

If you decide to go to an administrative hearing, you will have to pay your own doctors to appear and testify while CalPERS will pay it defense doctor's bill. If you cannot afford to pay your doctors, their opinions will be considered to be hearsay. Hearsay will not support a finding in your favor. So the only medical evidence in your case will be the evidence from the CalPERS doctor.

CalPERS thus has substituted its biased and paid off doctor for all the treating and examing doctors who have invested - sometimes years - in trying to cure the disabled employee.

It is not a pretty picture, but the truth is that you should have had an experienced CalPERS attorney in your corner long before now. The time to make CalPERS's decisions is while your workers' compensation case is being worked up.

#6 Solomon_4181


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Posted 20 August 2013 - 03:44 PM

It is a little late for this input, but this just goes to show everyone that reads this post how lawyers feel about fairness and only care about money. There are a lot of educated and certified paralegals and legal document assistants that could easily handle CalPERS and other Administrative Hearings, but the judges and lawyers got the UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law) laws passed to dominate and control the so-called practice of law in California and other states. Even though there is a huge shortage of affordable lawyers in the US, the lawyers and judges in the US apparently would rather prevent or prohibit paralegals and legal document assistants from representing people that cannot afford the huge price to hire a lawyer than permit a paralegal or legal document assistant from representing people for a small fee. The lawyers and judges claim they are protecting people by preventing them from being represented by educated and certified non-lawyers, but it appears to many people that this is about the lawyers and judges controlling their turf.  

#7 biggbirdd


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 05:49 PM

However mondane the question and answers here, I found it very informative and thank all for the input.  I too am fighting Calpers for DR and have been receiving my SSDI.  I found a guy that will help me through the Administrative process while l diligently look for Attorney.  I have been submitting all my medical records to pers but just not enough for them to approve me.  I was injured on the job with several surgeries 2 yrs ago. This is so frustrating to get only $880 a month from pers when I was making $4800.  I do not have the $3000 retainer. Any local attorneys here in Sacramento?  I am not police or fire worker as all the local attorney will jump to help them:(

#8 irishgrl4evr


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Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:41 PM

Hello, I am also fighting for DR, and have been granted SSDI.
I've noticed that much, if not all of the governing statutes, favor those with deep pockets, and requests for copies of medical records are summarily denied via CA CIV CODE 1798.40(f) stating such disclosure would be "detrimental." What constitutes detrimental, and why?

Furthermore, I've made several requests to have my documentation be considered "direct" rather than "hearsay" evidence, which have been ignored. I believe there is an exception to the hearsay evidence rule, which I plan to invoke. Further, it is a good idea to peruse the calpers website to research it's precedential cases.

Finally, has anyone considered that maybe it's time for a class action lawsuit against calpers?

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