COVID-19 Disability Filing Info

April 11, 2020

First and foremost, I hope this email finds you and yours healthy and safe.

I am not sure who you use for yourWorkers Comp lawyers, however as I get information from WC Firms that have supported NYSPEC I want to pass it on to you.

I have also attached the NYCERS POAForm to this email.  I have been getting input from the workers’ comp firms on the proposed legislation by Abbate.  It is the WC firms that will be dealing with the claims when this pandemic subsides or, in many cases, while we are still in this crisis.

The following was sent to me by Jordan Ziegler, of the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton &Romano, LLP:


In this message, you will find a link to the New York State Employees Retirement System's new on line Power ofAttorney form. This would be used to file for the Ordinary Disability Pension on behalf of a member whose illness which might result in death, i.e. Covid-19, and the member cannot file on their own. This, as well as the application for Ordinary Disability, must be filed on behalf of the ill member, before, they pass away. 

Think of the scenario where a member isin the hospital, or in intensive care unit with COVID-19, and family members are not allowed to see the member in person. The member is in there, all ontheir own, and unable to file for or sign an application for OrdinaryDisability.  I suggest any member who issick, and the possibility of death is likely to have us assist the beneficiaryin completing the power of attorney, as well as an application for OrdinaryDisability and we or they can hold onto the documents in case both need to befiled with the Retirement System immediately.

As you know when someone has COVID-19they become quarantined so we will not be able to get the member themselves to sign the application. In addition, I have seen nightmare situations where someone is admitted to the hospital and dies within a few or just several days later.  Time will be of the essence.

The problem is, with this POA like any, it must be signed by the member so ideally we should have members complete this form if they test positive for COVID-19 to be safe.  Meaning not wait for them to be hospitalized.  The moment a member is sick or show symptoms they should/must sign the POA before going to the hospital, so if the member's health deteriorates we already have the singedPOA.

Stay Safe!

Peter D. Meringolo


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