Employers' Pensions and Benefits Administration Manual (EPBAM)
Winter 2003
   

 

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Pension Dispute Resolutions and Appeals


If an employee or surviving beneficiary is having difficulty with the Division of Pensions and Benefits regarding a pension issue, he/she should contact the Division, preferably in writing, identify the problem and state what should be done to resolve it. The Division's Office of Client Services will try to resolve simple disputes caused by missing information or miscommunication. If the Office of Client Services cannot resolve the pension dispute, it will refer the matter to the Section Supervisor/Bureau Chief of the particular pension operational unit for consideration. If the Section Supervisor/Bureau Chief does not administratively resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the member, the claimant, or appropriate legal representative, may file a written appeal of the Division's administrative decision to the retirement system Board of Trustees. The appeal should be addressed to the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Attention: Secretary of the [NAME OF RETIREMENT SYSTEM] Board of Trustees, PO Box 295, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0295. The written appeal must include any documentation pertinent to the claimant's dispute that the Board of Trustee must examine to render its decision.

The Board will address the matter at the earliest possible, regularly scheduled, monthly meeting. The Board Secretary will issue written notice of the Board's determination to the claimant or legal representative after the Board meeting. If the Board of Trustees' decision does not satisfy the claimant, then the claimant or legal representative may file a written appeal with the Board Secretary within 45 days of the Board's action stating the specific reasons for disagreement with the Board's determination. If no written appeal is filed with the Board Secretary within 45 days of the Board's decisional letter, then that decision is considered final and cannot, by law, be appealed further.

If an appeal is filed, the Board of Trustees will decide if the matter should be handled through an administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Law or by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. The Board normally approves a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Office of Administrative Law if the matter involves questions of fact. The claimant may represent himself or may obtain legal counsel as representation for the ALJ hearing. The Board of Trustees may accept, reject or modify the ALJ's decision and will notify the claimant or legal representative of its final administrative determination. If the matter solely involves questions of law, the Board will issue its final administrative determination without a hearing before an ALJ. Once the Board issues its final administrative determination, the claimant or legal representative has 45 days to file an appeal with the Appellate Division of Superior Court of New Jersey. If no written appeal is filed with the Appellate Division within 45 days of the Board's decisional letter, then that decision is considered final and cannot, by law, be further appealed.

Note: all legal expenses incurred by a member in an appeal are the responsibility of the member.

If you are the claimant's employer, you should assist the employee with the resolution of the problem by working with the Division before an administrative decision is made. Once the Division makes an administrative decision, you cannot file an appeal on behalf of, or represent your employee, before the Board since employers have no legal standing to do so. However, you may advise the claimant that he may obtain legal counsel at his own expense or may represent himself in a contested case. You may also submit evidence or documentation supportive of the claimant's case. When necessary, the Board of Trustees will submit written requests to your office to provide documents or information pertinent to the claimant's appeal. If this should occur, please promptly provide the information or mail the requested documents to the Board Secretary so the employee's claim can be settled quickly.

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Last Updated: August 4, 2003