Widow of Former County Exec. Suing for Denied Spousal Pension

December 20, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A widow of the former Milwaukee County Executive is suing the county because she was denied a spousal survivorship pension.
According to the Journal Sentinel, Jo Ann Schulz contends the Milwaukee County Pension Board’s denial of her deceased husband, David Schulz’s, pension plan is unreasonable. She argued she deserved at least a discounted pension based on the $1,472 monthly benefit the county told her husband in 1993 he would receive upon retirement.

David died in 2007 at age 58. In addition to his wife, he also had a son, 12 years old at the time. The Journal Sentinel reports that there wouldn’t be an argument on whether Jo Ann would receive the pension if her husband had died at 60, which would have been his retirement age.

David left his service with the county in 1992. At this time he qualified for a “deferred vested pension,” which means he was eligible at some future date for a pension.

When Jo Ann tried to obtain the pension, the County Pension Board ruled that she would not receive the monthly pension benefit because her husband died before he could have collected one. The board added, she couldn’t obtain payments because David had never applied for the benefit in the first place.

Jo Ann’s attorney plans on using the county’s rules to carve a legal rationale for paying her a monthly pension check.