Message from Jordan Ziegler re COVID-19 Disability Filing Info **

April 11, 2020

COVID-19 Disability Filing Info

In this message, you will find a link to the New York State Employees Retirement System's new on line Power of Attorney 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 is in 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 on their own, and unable to file for or sign an application for Ordinary Disability. I suggest any member who is sick, and the possibility of death is likely to have us assist the beneficiary in completing the power of attorney, as well as an application for Ordinary Disability and we or they can hold onto the documents in case both need to be filed with the Retirement System immediately.

As you know when someone has COVID-19 they 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 singed POA.

- Law Firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP

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