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JOSEPH M. MARRON (DECEASED) v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/26/88)

decided: July 26, 1988.

JOSEPH M. MARRON (DECEASED), BY HIS WIDOW, MARY JEAN MARRON, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Employees' Retirement Board in the case of Joseph M. Marron (Dec'd), dated March 4, 1987.

COUNSEL

Elliot A. Strokoff, Handler, Gerber, Johnston, Strokoff & Cowden, for petitioner.

Richard D. Michlovitz, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Smith, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 175]

Mrs. Marron (Claimant) appeals from an adjudication of the State Employees' Retirement Board (Board) which denied her request to void her late husband's election to receive disability retirement benefits under Option 2 and permit Claimant to elect a lump-sum death benefit. We affirm.

From the record, we ascertain the following background of this case. Mr. Marron (Decedent) was employed by the Department of Revenue on January 10, 1972. He developed heart disease in 1976, an ulcer a

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 176]

    few years later, and kidney disease in 1983. His last days of work occurred in January 1984. He died June 27, 1985 at age fifty-two.

On January 17, 1984, Decedent requested a disability retirement benefit estimate from the Department of Revenue. That estimate was prepared and mailed to him on January 20, 1984 by Ms. Shaffer, an employee of the Department of Revenue, designated as a retirement counselor, who had undergone several days of instruction at training sessions conducted by the Board for preparation of retirement benefit estimates and the counseling of potential retirees. On February 8, 1984, Ms. Shaffer conducted a one and one-half hour telephone conference with Decedent regarding his retirement options. Ms. Shaffer testified that she went over the three disability retirement options available to Decedent, reviewed the benefit estimate previously mailed to him, and explained what Decedent had to do before the Board would accept his retirement application. Ms. Shaffer also went over a retirement counselor's "checklist" with the Decedent, she asking the questions and he checking the appropriate blank on the checklist.

Ms. Shaffer testified that Decedent related his physical condition to her and indicated that he had a wife and a nineteen-year old daughter in college. Ms. Shaffer did not inquire about, nor did Decedent volunteer, information regarding Decedent's personal financial circumstances.

Decedent's application for benefits to the Board indicated that he elected Option 2 and that Claimant, his wife, was the named survivor annuitant. On the effective date of his annuity, the present value thereof was $53,293.67. He received a monthly benefit of $554.42 from February 28, 1984 until the date of his ...


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