Area of Law:
Public sector benefits refer to insurance, retirement, and other benefits for Iowa’s public employees, who include police officers, fire fighters, school workers, and employees of state, county, and city or municipal government. If you belong to a union, first consult your bargaining contract and/or union representative for initial guidance about dealing with your public sector benefits and insurance. Then, if you still find yourself in need of legal assistance, there is some free legal support available on the Internet.
Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) administers retirement benefits for Iowa’s public employees. Iowa’s public sector employees are required to participate in the IPERS program. In addition to retirement benefits, IPERS handles Iowa public sector employees’ death and disability benefits. The IPERS website provides free legal help with its publicly accessible IPERS Member Handbook which can be found at, http://www.ipers.org/members/memberhandbook/handbook_1.html. This handbook provides free legal aid in the form of a list of items not covered by the IPERS program.
Employees of Iowa’s Department of Corrections can find additional legal help regarding their benefits at its benefits website, which provides free legal assistance via information about health, dental, life, and disability insurance.
Police officers in Iowa also have a website specific to their services that offers information pertaining to police officer public sector benefits and includes information about health savings accounts, medical insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, cancer insurance, and vision insurance. The website address is http://www.mypersonalhealthinsurance.com.
Employees of an Iowa’s school system can contact their local school district’s administrative office or area education agency to inquire about free legal services and information available for them.
The law firm of Crawford, Sullivan, Read & Roemerman, P.C. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, specializes in providing legal services to assist Iowa’s public employees with employment-related matters. Their website indicates that this type of legal aid is provided by attorney Bill Roemerman and specifies that the firm represents clients who are the following types of employees: police officers, firefighters, and city, county and state employees. The website further states that the firm assists public sector employees with IPERS benefits.
The type of attorney or law firm to contact with regards to legal services concerning public sector benefits are those practicing in the field of employment law. The Iowa State Bar Association maintains a list of attorneys practicing in various areas of law, including employment law. To view a list of attorneys practicing in the area of employment law throughout the various counties of Iowa, go to: conduct a search for an employment law attorney in your area, go to: http://www.iowabar.org/AttorneyOnLine.nsf/results?ReadForm&c2=&a=Employment%20Law.
Individuals whose incomes are low enough to qualify may be able to obtain free legal assistance from one of Iowa’s several legal aid agencies. You can obtain the contact information for one of these agencies in your area by visiting the Iowa Legal Aid website at, http://www.iowalegalaid.org/ia/homepage.html.
As a public sector employee, you may be overwhelmed with concerns or issues regarding your public sector benefits. Dealing with government or other large public sector entities, such as the police force or firefighter organizations, can be intimidating and difficult. Fortunately, Iowa has several options for locating information and assistance for helping to navigate these issues.