What is the test for denying disability retirement benefits on religious grounds?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from Hildebrand v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., 140 Cal.Rptr. 151, 19 Cal.3d 765, 566 P.2d 1297 (Cal. 1977):

This case is also comparable to Montgomery v. Board of Retirement (1973) 33 Cal.App.3d 447, 109 Cal.Rptr. 181 (hg. den.). The petitioner there claimed disability retirement benefits; the county retirement board established that her disability could be eliminated by surgery, which petitioner refused to undergo because of religious faith in divine healing. The court held that 'When considerations of conscience grounded upon religious beliefs are involved, the state interest in preserving health pales into insignificance.' The denial of benefits was reversed.

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