Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Red Tape
Are you stuck in the red tape of the Virginia Retirement System? Think you are entitled to VRS Disability but can’t get anywhere with the VRS appeals system? You NEED a lawyer to help you with your appeal. VRS Disability cases are not like Social Security Disability cases. Your NEED a lawyer who has experience handling VRS cases and knows how to prepare your case . . . preferably before you go to hearing. Don’t get stuck in the VRS red tape.
Did You Know These Things About VRS?
There is a 90 day rule:
You MUST file for Virginia Retirement System disability within 90 days after you terminate your service with your employer. It doesn’t matter what your employer’s Human Resources Department tells you about disability or whether your are advised incorrectly. If you don’t apply within 90 after terminating your employment, you will NOT be eligible for Virginia Retirement System disability. In Honaker v. Virginia Retirement System, the Court of Appeals of Virginia said that an employee who missed the 90 filing requirement was out of luck and wasn’t entitled to VRS benefits. The Court ruled this way even though his employer’s Human Resources Secretary told him he wasn’t entitled to disability retirement benefits.
Being Injured On The Job Doesn’t Mean You’ll Get VRS:
In Crawford v. Virginia Retirement System, a worker who had been injured at his job was denied VRS disability benefits. The Virginia Court of Appeals decided that just because the worker was getting workers’ compensation, doesn’t mean he is disabled from his job and entitled to VRS benefits.
The Virginia Retirement System has its own board of three medical reviewers who will review your medical records and decide whether they believe you can do all of the duties listed in your job description. If at least three of the four doctors say you can perform all of your job duties (regardless of what your workers’ comp doctor says), VRS will rule against you.
VRS Laws are set up to give “finality” to the Agency
This means that if VRS’s board of medical reviewers rules against you, it will be tough for you to get that reversed on appeal. So what should you do? It is best to hire a lawyer experienced in handling VRS claims BEFORE you have a hearing and your case is reviewed by the medical review board.
The 3 things you NEED to win your VRS case
Virginia Code § 51.1-124.23(B) is the law that controls VRS claims and what the medical review board is to examine when deciding your case. The statute requires that the Board must determine whether 3 conditions exist:
i) the member has been continuously disabled since retiring; ii) the incapacity is likely to be permanent; and, iii) the member should be retired.
This means that your disability must have been present at the time you retired and must have been permanent.
What Happens If The VRS Review Board Denies Your Claim?
If VRS denies your request for retirement disability, you can appeal to the Circuit Court in the city or county where you live and challenge whether there is enough support in your case for the VRS decision.
Applying for VRS disability can be a complex and time consuming process. The Ritchie Law Firm has successfully represented clients seeking VRS benefits. Because the process can be so confusing, it is easy to make errors or leave out something which VRS thinks is important. Making a mistake on the application or at the independent fact finding level can be disastrous for your claim.
The legal team at the Ritchie Law Firm has the experience to handle your VRS disability case and get you the benefits you are seeking. Talk to us about your case. We’ll talk to you for free with no strings attached. There will be no pressure to hire us if you’d rather handle the case on your own. But, most importantly, you’ll get the information you need to make sure your VRS disability claim is handled properly without costly mistakes. Click here or call us today for a free case evaluation.
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