Accidental Disability Retirement ADR

by Juliane Soprano

Accidental Disability Retirement ADR vs. Worker’s Compensation Benefits

When employees of the State of Massachusetts, a town, city, or county suffer a workplace accident, they are potentially entitled to both state Worker’s Compensation benefits as well as Accidental Disability Retirement benefits (ADR). Although these benefits have elements in common there are significant differences.

First, Worker’s Compensation benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier.  Many municipal employers are either self-insured or part of a self-insured group.  Whether the employer has a private company, such as Travelers Insurance, or is self-insured, the benefits are the same.  On the other hand, Accidental Disability Retirement (ADR) benefits are paid by the worker’s local retirement board or the State of Massachusetts.  The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) oversees the entire process.

Second, to qualify for either benefit, the municipal employee must have a workplace injury.  However, each system defines an injury differently.  Under the Worker’s Compensation system, a workplace injury is defined quite broadly.  The Accidental Disability Retirement (ADR) system has a much stricter interpretation of what constitutes a workplace injury.  The Case of Tom’s Double Workplace Injury shows just how strict the system can be and what it means over the course of a lifetime.

Third, the types of benefits available differ quite dramatically under each system.  Under the Worker’s Compensation system, there are three types of cash benefits available: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability and permanent and total disability.  Under the Accidental Disability Retirement System (ADR), there is only one benefit.

Fourth, how a disability is defined is fundamentally different in each system.  In the Worker’s Compensation system disability means the inability to earn what the person earned before the workplace injury.  If the person is unable to engage in any work at all, they are considered totally disabled.  Total disability can be either temporary or in rarer cases, permanent.  In the Accidental Disability Retirement (ADR) system, disability is defined as being unable to perform the job the person held at the time of the workplace accident.  Even if a person has the ability to do alternative work, this will not disqualify him/her from benefits.

If you have had a workplace accident and work for the State of Massachusetts or a city, town, county or other municipal agency, you may be entitled to benefits under both the Worker’s Compensation law and Accidental Disability Retirement (ADR) benefits under the Public Pension System.  The Law Offices of Juliane Soprano specializes in these types of cases and will ensure you receive all of the benefits to which you may be entitled.