APR 23 1993

X X RE: Complaint Number X New Complaint Number X Dear Ms. X: This letter responds to your complaint filed with cur office against the South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Your complaint alleges that the South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System has different earning limitations for disability retirees and service retirees, and thus, discriminates against individuals with disabilities. The Civil Rights Division has completed its investigation of your complaint. We have determined that under the South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System, an individual is eligible for service retirement benefits at age 55 with five or more years of service, or at any age with 25 or more years of service. An individual who becomes disabled is eligible for disability retirement if he or she has five or more years of service or if the disability results from performance of his or her duties. Benefits for both service retirees and disability retirees are subject to reductions based on earned income. For disability retirees under age 55, benefits are reduced if their earnings from gainful employment exceed the difference between the retirement allowance and the individual's average final compensation before retirement. Benefits for service retirees are reduced only if they work for employers covered by the South Carolina Retirement System or the South Carolina Police officers Retirement System and earn more than $10,500 in a year. (If a service retiree works for an employer not covered by either of the South Carolina Retirement Systems, there is no earnings limitation.) After age 55, a disability retiree is subject to the same earnings limitation as a service retiree.

01-00021 ​ 2 The Department's regulation implementing title II prohibits a public entity from discriminating against "qualified" individuals with disabilities in the benefits and services that it provides. 28 C.F.R. pt. 35. Because you do not meet the essential eligibility requirements, i.e. age and time in service, you are not a "qualified" individual with a disability, as defined in 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, for receipt of service retirement benefits. Section 35.130[c] of the regulation permits a public entity to offer benefits to individuals with disabilities, or to a particular class of individuals with disabilities, that it does not offer to individuals without disabilities. The South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System offers disability retirement to covered employees who become disabled before they are eligible for service retirement. Only individuals with disabilities are covered under the disability retirement system. Where a benefit is limited to individuals with disabilities or a particular class of individuals with disabilities, discrimination is determined by comparing the treatment of an individual with a disability to the treatment provided to similarly situated individuals without disabilities. Because individuals without disabilities who do not meet the age and service requirements for service retirement are not eligible for any retirement benefits, the difference between the earnings limitations for disability retirees and for service retirees does not constitute discrimination prohibited by title II. This letter constitutes our Letter of Findings with respect to the allegations of discrimination in your administrative complaint. If you are dissatisfied with our determination, you may file a private complaint in the appropriate United States District Court under title II of the ADA. Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 522, we may be required to release this letter and other correspondence and records related to your complaint in response to a request from a third party. Should we receive such a request, we will safeguard, to the extent permitted by the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, the release of information which could constitute an unwarranted invasion of your or other's privacy.

01-00022 ​ 3 Please note the new complaint number assigned to your complaint. Please use this new complaint number in all correspondence and other communications regarding this complaint. If you have any questions, please contact Linda King at (202)307-2231. Sincerely, Stewart B. Oneglia Chief Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division