Schedule of Benefits

1. PRE-PAID LEGAL SERVICES PLAN (Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, P.C.)

A. PREVENTIVE LEGAL SERVICES

This section describes the Plan’s General Matters Benefits, which covers any general questions a member may have regarding his/her legal rights.

  1. FREE CONSULTATION BENEFIT (three (3) 1 hr. sessions per calendar year)

Who is eligible…Any covered member and dependent.

What is the Benefit…A covered member or dependent may get advice on the telephone or in-office consultations.  This benefit provides a covered member and dependent with the opportunity to consult an attorney for three one hour sessions in-office each calendar year concerning any new legal matter.  In addition, a covered individual may consult with the Legal Services Plan attorneys an unlimited number of times over the telephone.  The in-office consultations cannot be used as a credit toward any other service.

How to Obtain the Benefit…For an appointment to discuss Consultation Benefit on any question relating to your legal rights, or to conduct a telephone consultation, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. 24-HOUR EMERGENCY HOTLINE BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member and dependent.

What is the Benefit…If a covered member or dependent is confronted with a

situation that requires immediate legal advice, he or she may call the emergency hotline to talk to an attorney after regular business hours.  This emergency service may only be used in situations that cannot wait until the next business day.

How to Obtain the Benefit…Call the Legal Services Plan Emergency Hotline Number at (800) 832-5182.

  1. FREE DOCUMENT REVIEW BENEFIT

Who is Eligible…Any covered member and dependent.

What is the benefit…This benefit provides review and interpretation by an attorney of all legal documents which directly involve the member or a covered dependent, such as guarantees, warranties, installment purchase agreements, loans, leases and court papers.

Exclusions and Limitations:

The following documents are not included in the Document Review Benefit:

  1. Tax Returns.
  2. Work that is being prepared by other attorneys at the time of your Document Review appointment.
  3. Documents exceeding 10 pages in length.

The Document Review Benefit provides review and interpretation of documents: it does not involve representation by counsel, unless such representation involves legal services covered by the Plan.  If a covered matter is involved, the Legal Services Plan will provide representation by an attorney in accordance with the benefit’s description under the Plan.

How to Obtain the Benefit…For an appointment for the Document Review Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. FREE LEGAL LETTERS BENEFIT

Who is Eligible…Any covered member and dependent.

What is this benefit….Your Plan attorney will write free legal letters on your behalf to resolve legal disputes before they become lawsuits.  These letters are available regarding any covered legal matter.  However, letters cannot be written in response to a pending lawsuit or regarding any personal injury claims.

How to Obtain the Benefit…Contact the office to speak to a Legal Services Plan Attorney at 1 (800) 832-5182.

 

B.  RETAINED LEGAL SERVICES

  1. FREE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member, his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner (as determined by the Fund).

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner with the opportunity to have a Last Will and Testament, including a Simple Trust, if needed, or Codicil prepared and executed under the supervision of a legal benefits attorney.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Last Will and Testament Benefit, you should complete the Confidential Will Questionnaire (see page 8 for website access) or contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.  If both spouses or both domestic partners, desire a Will, it is recommended that they make appointments together.

  1. FREE HEALTH CARE PROXY BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member and his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner with the opportunity to have a Health Care Proxy prepared and executed under the supervision of a legal benefits attorney.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Health Care Proxy Benefit, you should complete the Confidential Will Questionnaire (see page 8 for website access) or contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.  If both spouses or domestic partners desire a Health Care Proxy, it is recommended that they make appointments together.

3.  FREE LIVING WILL BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member and his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and his/her spouse or domestic partner with the opportunity to have a Living Will prepared and executed under the supervision of a legal benefits attorney.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Living Will Benefit, you should complete the Confidential Will Questionnaire (see page 8 for website access) or contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.  If both spouses or domestic partners desire a Living Will, it is recommended that they make appointments together.

  1. FREE DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY BENEFIT

Who is eligible….Any covered member and his/her spouse or eligible domestic partner.

What is the benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and his/her spouse or domestic partner with the opportunity to have a Durable Power of Attorney prepared and executed under the supervision of a legal benefits attorney.

How to obtain the benefit…To obtain the Durable Power of Attorney Benefit, you should complete the Confidential Will Questionnaire (see page 8 for website access) or contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.  If both spouses or domestic partners desire a Durable Power of Attorney, it is recommended that they make appointments together.

  1. ELDER LAW BENEFIT (1 hr. FREE and 20% discounted fee)

Who is eligible…Exclusively in connection with the Elder Law section of the Legal Plan coverage only, this Elder Law Benefit is available to the member, eligible dependents and is extended to the members’ parents, grandparents, parents-in-law and grandparents-in-law who resides in New York State.

What is the Benefit…Our Elder Law attorneys will consult with a covered individual to discuss asset preservation strategies.  The first hour is free and all subsequent time will be billed at a 20% reduction from the Elder Law attorneys’ usual billing rate. Client will be advised of attorney’s usual billing rate prior to referral.

Elder Law attorneys can advise on State law and assist in putting a health and estate plan in effect, which can maximize eligibility for coverage of Medicaid to pay for nursing home and home care costs while preserving one’s estate and assets.

The attorneys who will provide the listed services specialize in the subject of Elder Law, estate planning, wills, trusts, pre-nursing home planning, probate and conservatorship.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Elder Law Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

 

C. COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL SERVICES (3 services per calendar year)

This section describes the specific benefits in the Comprehensive Legal Services category.  All covered members are entitled to three (3) Comprehensive Legal Services each calendar year.  In most cases there will be no cost to the client for legal fees.  There may be collateral expenses and disbursements, however, which client must pay.

  1. FREE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION BENEFIT (2 transactions/3 year)

Who is covered…Any covered member who owns a primary private residence, a condominium or a co-operative or is in the process of purchasing such a residence where he/she will reside primarily in the United States of America.

What is the Benefit…The sale, purchase or refinance of a primary private dwelling, condominium or co-operative apartment in the United States of America where residence is or will be in effect at time of settlement (i.e., “closing”).  In the event that a covered member retains one of the Legal Services Plan Attorneys there will be no charge for legal fees related to the real estate transaction as described in this booklet.  A maximum of two (2) transactions per three (3) years will be covered, commencing with the date of the initial transaction.

This benefit does not cover expenses for Title searches or Title insurance, appraisal costs, bank fees or any related fees (i.e., “closing costs”).  This benefit only covers the sale, purchase or refinance of a single family home. There is no coverage for multiple dwelling units.  This benefit does not include representation regarding contract disputes, specific performance of contracts, landlord/tenant disputes or any litigation related to the buy, sell or refinance of business property.  One (1) hour of post-closing service will be provided to conclude any post-closing issues, exclusive of the preparation of the appropriate closing statement. All time spent beyond that point will be billed to the member at the reduced hourly rate of $250.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Real Estate Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. FREE FAMILY COURT BENEFIT (up to 5 hrs. FREE)

Who is eligible…Any covered member who is a defendant (respondent) or a plaintiff (petitioner) in a contested or uncontested Family Court proceeding within Suffolk or Nassau Counties.

What is the Benefit…The benefit provides up to five (5) hours of legal representation per matter without cost by a Plan attorney either in court or out of court for all necessary legal services in cases involving support, child custody, visitation rights, or paternity matters.  After five (5) hours per matter have been exhausted, the member will be responsible for all legal fees.  All time spent beyond that point will be billed to the member by the Plan attorney at the reduced hourly rate of $250.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Family Court Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. FREE UNCONTESTED SEPARATION/DIVORCE/ANNULMENT BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member.

What is the Benefit…The Legal Service Plan will provide coverage to members only in actions for divorce/separation and/or civil annulment.  This benefit includes free representation at all uncontested stages of the matter where there are no children. A property settlement agreement is included in this benefit.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Separation/Divorce/Annulment Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182. If there is a conflict of interest for the law firm whereby both spouses/domestic partners are members of the Legal Plan (whether both are covered by the Fund or by this Fund and another entity that has retained the Panel Law Firm’s Legal Plan), or if it would be ethically improper to represent either member, or if a State other than New York has jurisdiction, then separate arrangements will be made for retention of outside counsel to represent the members.  If outside counsel is necessary, the Law Firm will be liable up to a maximum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) per member for outside counsel.

If the matter becomes contested, the member may continue with the Legal Services attorney, but will be billed at the reduced hourly rate ($250). A matter will be deemed “contested” when the situation requires extensive negotiation of terms and/or adversarial representation as determined by the retained attorney in order to maintain, defend, advance or assert the member’s interests.

  1. FREE UNCONTESTED CHANGE OF NAME BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member or eligible dependent.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides legal advice and representation in the change of name procedure.  The attorney will file all appropriate papers and represent the member in the change of name process.  All publication costs and other related expenses will be paid by member.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Change of Name Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. IMMIGRATION CONSULTATION BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member or eligible dependent.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member with consultation in matters involving problems with immigration.  The attorney will offer assistance and guidance in how to handle a particular matter.  This benefit does not include legal services requiring the formal appearance of the Legal Services Plan attorneys before any tribunal or Immigration and Naturalization Service of the U.S.

How to Obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Immigration Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. EVICTION DEFENSE BENEFIT (5 hrs. FREE, once per any 12 months commencing with initial defense)

Who is eligible…Any covered member.

What is the Benefit…A covered member is entitled to up to five (5) hours of free legal services regarding the defense of Summary Proceedings in connection with the covered members’ primary residence and regarding a petition which specifically names the covered member as a respondent in an eviction proceeding.  This coverage is available once in any 12 month period commencing with initial defense.

How to obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Eviction Defense Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. FORECLOSURE DEFENSE BENEFIT (max. 10 hrs. FREE)

Who is eligible…Any covered member.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member with representation in matters involving problems with a foreclosure in connection with the covered member’s primary residence and regarding a petition which specifically names the covered member as a respondent.  This benefit includes free representation (maximum 10 hours) and thereafter at the reduced hourly rate of $250.

How to obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Foreclosure Defense Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. FREE SIMPLE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING (Uncontested)

Who is eligible…Any covered member and his/her eligible spouse.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and spouse with legal representation for all necessary legal services which the preparation of a joint (or individual petition, if only the member is filing for bankruptcy protection) U.S. Bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 may require including court appearances at Section 341 meeting of creditors.  Also included is assistance in completing all credit counseling requirements regarding both filing of a petition and discharge of debts.  This benefit does not include any motions, or reaffirmation agreements. The member and/or spouse must pay all Bankruptcy Court filing fees in advance of representation under this benefit.  This benefit includes free representation as long as proceeding is uncontested.  If additional services are required representation is available at the reduced hourly rate of $250 or a 30% reduction from flat fee.

How to Obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. DEBT CONSOLIDATION (5 hrs. FREE)

Who is eligible…Any covered member or eligible dependent.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member or his/her eligible dependent with consultation and negotiation in matters involving problems with creditors.  Attorneys will advise members or their eligible dependent regarding their rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collector Practices Act which governs collector practices and will provide assistance in negotiating with a credit card company to suspend or lower obligation and offer a restructure of the debt.  This benefit includes free consultation and five (5) hours of representation.

How to obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Debt Consolidation Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.   

  1. TRAFFIC MATTER BENEFIT (once in a twelve (12) month period from first initial matter.)

Who is eligible…Any covered member or eligible dependent.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member and eligible dependent with consultation in matters concerning any traffic violation and representation in court in all instances where, in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle, a traffic ticket has been issued, and, due to the accumulation of points or the severity of violation, a license may be revoked or suspended upon conviction.  Representation in court under this benefit is available once in a twelve (12) month period beginning the day you first consult with the Plan attorneys concerning a traffic-related matter.  This benefit includes trial if necessary.

How to obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Traffic Matter Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. CRIMINAL DEFENSE BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member.

What is the Benefit…This benefit provides a covered member with consultation in matters concerning any misdemeanor or felony charge against the member. This benefit does not include any federal charges.

This benefit includes free consultation and the availability of representation at trial or in court at the reduced hourly rate of $250 or a 30% reduction from flat fee. Federal jurisdiction matters are not covered.

How to obtain the Benefit… To obtain the Criminal Defense Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. REDUCED FEE BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member and eligible dependent.

What is the Benefit….Representation is available from the Plan attorneys at $250.00 per hour for matters that are specifically covered by the Legal Services Plan but require payment for contested matters or additional hours of representation under the terms of the plan.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Reduced Fee Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

D. CONTINGENT FEE MATTERS

  1. PERSONAL INJURY BENEFIT

Who is eligible…Any covered member or dependent.

Personal Injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.  That means that the attorney works for a percentage of the recovery rather than an hourly rate.  If there is no recovery you don’t pay any legal fees.  The law sets the percentage of the contingent fees and the plan has offered a reduction of that fee.

What is the Benefit….In the event that any covered member or dependent is injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog-bite, product liability, premises accident, etc., your Plan attorney will reduce the contingent fee by 10%.  This reduction can save an injured victim many thousands of dollars.  Services are available for medical or other professional malpractice matters, however, a reduction in the fees for those matters is not provided under this benefit.

How to Obtain the Benefit…To obtain the Personal Injury Benefit, contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at 1 (800) 832-5182.

  1. UNCONTESTED ESTATE AND PROBATE BENEFIT (Reduced Fee)

Who is eligible….Any covered member or dependent.

What is the Benefit….Representation in Probate court re the probate of a Will or administration of an Estate at a 20% reduction from the standard attorney fee. The fee must be less than the allowable amount for Executor’s/Administrator’s commission.

How to obtain the Benefit…to obtain the Estate and Probate Benefit ….Contact the Legal Services Plan Attorney office to request an appointment at       1(800) 832-5182.

  1. STOCK BROKER FRAUD BENEFIT (Reduced Fee)

Who is eligible…Any covered member and dependent.

What is the Benefit…If you or a family member have been defrauded by a stock broker maybe we can help you recover some of your losses.  If a broker has violated his fiduciary duty to you by selling you stock that has a high level of risk, he may be liable for your losses.  As an investor, you have a stated “risk tolerance” profile.  If the broker sells you stock that is outside that risk tolerance, he may have violated his fiduciary duty to you and may be liable for losses.

We will evaluate your situation and in the event, that we determine that you are the victim of stock broker fraud we will accept retainer on the case on a contingency fee basis. Your Legal Services Plan attorney will reduce his contingent fee by 10%.  If there is no recovery, you don’t owe the attorney anything for legal services.

How to obtain the Benefit…to obtain the Stock Broker Fraud Benefit, contact the office to speak to a Legal Services Plan Attorney and request an appointment for the at 1 (800) 832-5182.

 

2. LEGAL VOUCHER SERVICES PLAN (Claims from 1/1/17 to 7/31/17 and Self-Pay Enhanced Retiree Platinum Plan Members)

GENERAL LIMITATIONS

Legal Benefits under the plan are limited to $1,000 per calendar year per family. The calendar year runs from January 1 to December 31st.

Allowances are paid only to the extent of fees charged. The Fund will not absorb or be responsible for any fees or charges that are owed by a member beyond the allowances herein. Only matters specified in this booklet are covered by the plan.

There are two types of benefits: regular benefits and $50 deductible benefits.

ADOPTION

Who is Eligible – Member who seeks representation in an adoption proceeding.

What is the Benefit – Legal advice and representation by an attorney in a formal adoption proceeding.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $500

Limitations – Benefit allowance does not cover the payment of any fees or expenses to adoption or other agencies.

ARRAIGNMENT SERVICE

Who is Eligible – Member or dependent, as defined by the Fund, who is a defendant in a criminal arraignment proceeding.

What is the Benefit – Representation in an arraignment proceeding requiring a personal appearance by legal counsel.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $200

Limitations – Costs of legal representation beyond the arraignment stage are not covered. Thus, should a covered member or dependent desire to retain an attorney beyond the arraignment stage, such individual must make necessary fee arrangements directly with the attorney of his choice.

CHANGE OF NAME

Who is Eligible – Member

What is the Benefit – Legal advice and representation in a change of name procedure.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $350 per family

Limitations – Limited to changes of name sought by member for self and dependents.

CONTRACTS

Who is Eligible – Member or spouse/domestic partner who seeks to obtain legal services regarding a non-business contract.

What is the Benefit – Legal advice and/or representation in the preparation, execution of a personal, non-business contract.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $125

Limitations – Does not provide allowances for the preparation and execution, or review of business contracts.

DOMESTIC RELATIONS REPRESENTATION

Who is eligible – Member involved in a matrimonial matter requiring legal representation.

What is the benefit – Representation by an attorney in a separation, annulment, or divorce.

  • Uncontested matters are those resolved up to and including a pre-trial conference.
  • Contested matters are those not settled at the pretrial conference but settled prior to an actual court trial.
  • Litigated matters are those resolved only after a Supreme Court trial and include any referral to and representation at Family Court.

Benefit allowance – 

  • Uncontested Separation, Annulment or Divorce Up to $ 500
  • Contested Separation, Annulment or Divorce Up to $ 600
  • Litigated Separation, Annulment or Divorce U p to $ 700

Limitations – Domestic relations benefits limited to one per elapsed year.  Example: If a separation is completed by June 15, 2000, you would not be eligible for payment on a divorce action until after June 15th, 2001.

Allowances will be reduced if court awards payment of attorney’s fees or portions thereof. Combined payments may not exceed fees charged.

GENERAL CONSULTATION

Who is eligible – Member obtaining an in-person legal consultation with an attorney regarding an actual or assumed legal problem.

What is the Benefit – Five, one-half hour sessions on separate dates, each calendar year, concerning unrelated legal questions.

Benefit Allowance – $35 per visit to an attorney’s office.

Limitations – Business matters, excluded matters and telephone consultations are not covered. When an attorney is retained to provide a specific service for which Benefit allowances are provided by the Fund, such attorney fees shall include the initial general consultation, as well as all other consultations.

PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY

Who is Eligible – Member or spouse/domestic partner filing for personal bankruptcy.

What is the Benefit – Representation by an attorney in a personal bankruptcy proceeding

Benefit Allowance – Up to $350

Limitations – Limited to one personal bankruptcy per family per calendar year.  Business bankruptcies are not covered.

PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE MORTGAGE PROTECTION

Who is Eligible – Member or spouse/domestic partner who is a defendant in a proceeding to foreclose a mortgage regarding a dwelling, condominium or cooperative, which the covered member and/or spouse own and in which the member principally resides.

What is the Benefit – Legal advice and/or representation in the defense of a mortgage foreclosure involving any of the above stated residences.

Benefit Allowance – An allowance not to exceed $150 if the matter is resolved before trial. An allowance not to exceed $300 should the matter proceed to trial.

Limitations – One foreclosure proceeding per calendar year per family.

PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE REAL ESTATE CLOSING PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE REFINANCE

Who is Eligible – Member who is selling, purchasing or refinancing their principal residential dwelling, condominium or cooperative.

What is the Benefit – Legal representation for the sale, purchase or refinance of property as described above.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $600 per calendar year per sale, purchase or refinance.

Limitations – Only one sale, and purchase or refinance per family in any year covered. Closings on building loans are considered part of the final closing that will result in the member taking up immediate residency. This benefit provides representation with respect to one’s personal residence (not to exceed a two family house). Business property is not covered by this benefit. Property situated outside of Suffolk County is NOT covered under this benefit. This benefit requires that your attorney be present at the actual closing. Fees paid to the attorney representing the lending institution are not covered. The member must physically reside in the home for which claim is being made.

TENANT

Who is Eligible – Member or spouse/domestic partner who rents, for personal residential use, a private dwelling, condominium, apartment or rooms as a tenant.  The member must principally reside in the dwelling being claimed.

What is the Benefit – Legal advice and/or representation for a defendant in defense of a dispute between the member or spouse as tenant and the landlord.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $300

Limitations – One Landlord/Tenant defense per year, per family

VETERAN AND SERVICEPERSON’S RIGHTS

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, seeking remedial action in relation to a denial of their veteran’s rights by any military board or agency of the United States government.

What is the Benefit – Legal services in:

  • a denial of veteran’s benefit or right
  • changes in type of military discharge
  • cases of court martial
  • connection with military boards convened for the purpose of imposing a penalty, an administrative discharge or a less than honorable discharge from military service.

Benefit allowance – 

  • Legal advice and counsel upon a denial of a veteran’s right for benefit Up to $ 125
  • Legal representation to effect changes in types of military discharges Up to $ 400
  • Legal representation in convened court-martial or military boards Up to $ 750

Limitations – Only the above stated matters that relate directly to member or dependent’s rights as a veteran are covered by the plan.

WILLS

Who is Eligible – Member and spouse/domestic partner

What is the Benefit – The preparation and execution of a Will.

Benefit Allowance – $65

Limitations – Each member and spouse may utilize this benefit once every five years.

$ 50 DEDUCTIBLE BENEFITS

NOTE: Members, or dependents as defined by the Fund, are required to pay the first $ 50 of the fee for the following legal services in order to be eligible for these allowances.

TRAFFIC VIOLATION REPRESENTATION MISDEMEANOR

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, who is charged with a traffic violation misdemeanor.

What is the Benefit – Legal services are covered during the defense of alleged violations of the vehicle and traffic law before a court or administrative agency. The matter must be of a serious nature that may affect the status of the defendant’s driver’s license.

Benefit Allowance

  • Without Trial Up to $ 225 after deductible
  • With Trial Up to $ 375 after deductible

Limitations – Member or dependent must be the driver of the vehicle charged with the alleged violation. Multiple allowances for violations received on the same date are payable only if trials are held on different dates.

TRAFFIC VIOLATION REPRESENTATION OTHER THAN MISDEMEANOR

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, who has been charged with a traffic violation.

What is the Benefit – Legal services are covered during the defense of an alleged traffic violation when the status of the alleged violator’s driver’s license is adversely and seriously effected and must be determined by administrative adjudication.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $175 after deductible

Limitations – Member or dependent must be the driver of the vehicle. Multiple allowances for violations received on the same date are payable only if adjudicated on different dates.

AUTOMOBILE DEFENSE OVERAGE MATTERS

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, who is a defendant in an action involving a vehicle.

What is the Benefit – Legal services for the defense of an action involving operation of vehicle wherein damages or personal liability exceed face amount of insurance policy.

Benefit Allowance – Up to $450 after deductible

Limitations – Overage cases only: That is a suit for damages that would exceed the face amount of the insurance policy. Legal representation provided by insurance companies is not reimbursable.

DEBT COLLECTION DEFENSE

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, who is a defendant in a claim involving debt collection.

What is the Benefit – Defense in a legal action started against the defendant involving their rights in resisting a claim before the District Courts and Supreme Court of the County of Suffolk.

Benefit Allowance – 

  • Without trial, District Court Up to $ 300 after deductible
  • Without trial, Supreme Court Up to $ 400 after deductible
  • With trial, District Court Up to $ 450 after deductible
  • With trial, Supreme Court Up to $ 550 after deductible

Limitations – Only one debt collection allowance is permitted per calendar year.

LEGAL DEFENSE BENEFIT IN OTHER CIVIL MATTERS

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund, who is resisting a claim that does not fall within any of the specified benefits listed in this booklet.

What is the Benefit – Defense in a civil legal proceeding in which the member or dependent is a named defendant in an action brought before a court or agency involving his or her rights.

Benefit Allowance – 

  • Without Trial Up to $300 after deductible
  • With Trial Up to $550 after deductible

Limitations – Coverage is limited to cases brought before the following or similar bodies for adjudication:

Supreme, Surrogate’s and District Courts of Suffolk County; United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; United States Customs Court; Supreme, Surrogate’s and County Courts of New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond, Bronx, Nassau, Rockland, Putnam and Westchester Counties; Civil Courts of New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond and Bronx Counties; District Court of Nassau County, Administrative Agencies and Bureaus.

Examples of this legal defense benefit would be costs of a lawsuit alleging breach of contract or a lawsuit concerning a garnishment or medical expense claims. Such problem maybe successfully resolved after consultation or it may require steps leading to actual representation and defense before an administrative agency.

Reminder: Matters involving businesses owned or operated by member or dependent are not covered.

CONTINGENT FEE MATTERS

PERSONAL INJURY (NEGLIGENCE) MATTER

Payment for this type of legal proceeding is customarily by contingent fee. Anyone who desires legal services in connection with the commencement of a claim for personal injuries suffered as a consequence of negligence can contact a law firm of their choice. However, the legal counsel who you choose has a right to judge whether the case is worthy of prosecution before acceptance of your retention.

A $35 consultation benefit is payable if the law firm you consult is not retained and charges you a consultation fee.

Contingent fee matters are those in which a recovery of monies is attempted through a legal action, with an agreement with your attorney that fees are charged only if the action is successful. Generally, the fee is stated as a percentage of the recovered amount. It is customary, whether the litigation is successful or not for you to reimburse your attorney for most costs incurred by his office. These costs include disbursements, charges and other expenses such as police and medical investigative reports, costs of serving subpoenas, witness fees, etc.

ESTATE SETTLEMENT

Who is Eligible – Member, or dependent as defined by the Fund who is a named heir to an estate.

What is the Benefit – Preliminary legal services in connection with the probate or settlement of an estate.

Limitations – In as much as fees are generally set as a percentage of the estate no benefit allowance is payable other than a $35 consultation benefit.

The Benefit Fund provides benefits through allowances only as specifically stated and described herein. Legal Services that have not been so described are excluded from the plan.

As a guide to employees in their utilization of the Legal Benefit package, the following list specifies but does not limit the particular and general exclusions from the plan:

  • Any proceeding or dispute or controversy with or against the Suffolk County Municipal Employees Benefit Fund or Suffolk County Municipal Employees Legal Service Fund or their agents or officers;
  • Any proceeding or dispute or controversy with or against the employer or their agents or officers;
  • Any proceeding, dispute or controversy directed against the Association of Municipal Employees, or any of their officers, agents, or attorneys;
  • Any proceeding, dispute or controversy where there is a prohibition of the Legal Services Fund defraying the cost of such services by provision of law;
  • Any business matter wherein as an officer or shareholder, etc. a member or dependent is directly or indirectly involved;
  • Matters that concern payment of income tax including but not limited to, preparation or filing of income tax returns;
  • Any proceeding, action or controversy where legal fees are payable by virtue of statute or by order of the court;
  • Any proceeding, action or controversy wherein two or more parties pool or combine benefits for the purpose of ascertaining a claim for their mutual benefit, e.g. class actions;
  • Any amicus cariae activities;
  • No benefits or allowances will be paid for services or advice when it involves a duplication of the same service or advice that was previously obtained in connection with the same problem;
  • Any action, dispute, proceeding or controversy in which insurance will cover legal services or through which any government agency or attorney, such as Federal, State or Local, that provides legal services;
  • Any matter that incurred legal expenses that commenced before the employee became eligible to receive the benefit under this plan;
  • Any payment in excess of reasonable and customary fees in Suffolk County for the specific legal matter involved;
  • The Fund will not pay or reimburse members, spouses and/or dependents for court costs and/or filing fees, fines or penalties;
  • Any portion of legal expense for a legal matter that is jointly shared with a person not-covered by the Fund