A bipartisan bill designed to clarify accident disability benefits for New Jersey State Troopers was moved forward by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. It now moves to the speaker for further consideration.
Under the proposed legislation, State Police Retirement System members would be able to apply for accidental disability retirement benefits if a work-related traumatic event directly triggered a preexisting, asymptomatic condition that rendered them disabled.
Additionally, the bill would allow members to reapply if they were denied this form of retirement within the past 10 years, provided they initially applied within five years of the traumatic event. Approved beneficiaries will receive two-thirds of their annual compensation at the time of the causative traumatic event.
Republicans Focus on Support
The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-25), Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-12), and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14).
Assemblymembers Dunn and Dancer focused on the support this bill could provide to New Jersey State Troopers who had been overlooked while being injured in the line of duty.
“No one expects that an asymptomatic condition would cause a permanent disability, but trauma can make that happen,” Dancer said. “Our State Police members should not be blocked from receiving the appropriate benefits because of a preexisting condition.”
Dunn noted she was proud of the bill helping those most in need.
“The families of those public servants should have peace of mind that they will be provided for in the face of unexpected health challenges that force them out of work,” she said.
Cuts Through Red Tape
DeAngelo remarked that the law would remove technicalities from existing law to allow those with a preexisting condition to be eligible for the benefits.
“We cannot continue allowing New Jersey’s State Troopers to be denied the disability benefits they are owed. It should not matter whether a Trooper has a preexisting condition when, prior to a traumatic event at work, that condition had little impact on their life,” he said.
“State Troopers count on the State Police Retirement System to provide for them and their families when they are ready for retirement or can no longer work. This bill clarifies existing law to ensure that all of our State Troopers and their families are taken care of in these circumstances regardless of their preexisting conditions.”