Introduced Version






HOUSE BILL No. 1537

_____


DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 36-8-8-13.4.

Synopsis: 1977 fund disability benefits. Allows a certain member or survivor of a member of the 1977 police officers' and firefighters' pension and disability fund (1977 fund) who applied for disability before 1990 and is receiving a disability benefit to apply to a local board for a recommendation as to whether the member's disability occurred in the line of duty. Provides that the local board shall make a recommendation of its findings to the 1977 fund advisory committee. Provides that the 1977 fund advisory committee shall make an initial determination of whether the member's disability occurred in the line of duty. Provides that if the 1977 fund advisory committee fails to timely provide an initial determination, the default determination will be made by the public employees' retirement fund's (PERF) medical authority. Provides that the PERF board makes a final determination of whether the member's disability occurred in the line of duty. Establishes procedures to appeal: (1) a recommendation by the local board; (2) an initial determination by the 1977 fund advisory committee; or (3) an initial default determination made by the PERF medical authority. Provides that a certain member or survivor of a member may apply to the local board within two years of the PERF board providing notice that it has received a favorable ruling from the Internal Revenue Service. Provides that the PERF board shall provide notice to certain 1977 fund members of the Internal Revenue Service's ruling within 30 days of its receipt.

Effective: July 1, 2011.





Speedy, Frye R, Pryor




    January 20, 2011, read first time and referred to Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions.







Introduced

First Regular Session 117th General Assembly (2011)


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HOUSE BILL No. 1537



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning pensions.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 36-8-8-13.4; (11)IN1537.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 36-8-8-13.4 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]: Sec. 13.4. (a) This section applies only to a fund member or survivor of a fund member who is receiving a disability benefit under section 13.3(b) of this chapter.
    (b) A fund member or survivor of a fund member described in subsection (a) may file an application, in accordance with this section,
requesting a determination that:
        (1) the member's covered impairment, as determined under section 13.3(b) of this chapter, was:
            (A) the direct result of:
                (i) a personal injury that occurred while the fund member was on duty;
                (ii) a personal injury that occurred while the fund member was off duty and was responding to an offense or a reported offense, in the case of a police officer, or an emergency or reported emergency for which the fund

member was trained, in the case of a firefighter; or
                (iii) an occupational disease (as defined in IC 22-3-7-10), including a duty related disease that is also included within clause (B);
            (B) a duty related disease (for purposes of this section, a "duty related disease" means a disease arising out of the fund member's employment. A disease is considered to arise out of the fund member's employment if it is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all of the circumstances, that:
                (i) there is a connection between the conditions under which the fund member's duties are performed and the disease;
                (ii) the disease can be seen to have followed as a natural incident of the fund member's duties as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the fund member's duties; and
                (iii) the disease can be traced to the fund member's employment as the proximate cause); or
            (C) a disability presumed incurred in the line of duty under IC 5-10-13 or IC 5-10-15; or
        (2) the member's covered impairment, as determined under section 13.3(b) of this chapter, was not a covered impairment described in subdivision (1).
The application must
be filed with the local board that made the determination of a covered impairment resulting in a disability benefit under section 13.3(b) of this chapter. The application form shall be prepared by the PERF board or its designee and be made available to a fund member or survivor of a fund member described in subsection (a) upon request.
    (c) A fund member or survivor of a fund member who files an application under this section has the burden of presenting sufficient evidence to support a finding that the member's covered impairment, as determined under section 13.3(b) of this chapter, satisfies the standard provided in subsection (b)(1). Such evidence may include any documents, materials, or other evidence provided in connection with the original hearing and determination of a covered impairment as determined under section 13.3(b) of this chapter, including any transcript from that proceeding. A fund member or a survivor of a fund member may include with an application any additional probative evidence that is relevant to the determination under subsection (b)(1). The local board may

establish reasonable procedures with respect to the application process and may engage a medical authority to provide opinions relevant to making its determination. The local board may hold a hearing with respect to an application filed under this section if the fund member or survivor of a fund member shows good cause that documents or other probative evidence sufficient to make the showing required under this subsection is not reasonably obtainable and that holding a hearing would be reasonably likely to provide such probative evidence. If the local board conducts a hearing, it shall be subject to the provisions of section 12.7 of this chapter relating to the conduct of hearings on the determinations of covered impairments under this chapter.
     (d) The local board shall make its recommendation, including findings of fact, in writing and shall provide copies of its recommendation to the fund member or survivor of the fund member, the 1977 fund advisory committee, and the PERF board not later than thirty (30) days after the:
        (1) filing of the application, if no hearing is held; or
        (2) hearing, if held.

     (e) If the local board does not issue its recommendation within the time required under subsection (d), the member's covered impairment shall be considered to be a covered impairment described under subsection (b)(1) for purposes of the local board's recommendation.
     (f) The 1977 fund advisory committee shall review the local board's recommendation, or the considered recommendation under subsection (e), not later than forty-five (45) days after receiving the recommendation and shall then issue an initial determination of whether the covered impairment is one described under subsection (b)(1). The 1977 fund advisory committee shall notify the PERF board, the local board, and the fund member or survivor of the fund member of its initial determination, and the PERF board or its designee shall issue a final determination to the local board and the fund member or survivor of the fund member. If no objection is made to the initial determination under subsection (g) or (h), the PERF board must issue a final determination not later than thirty (30) days after receiving an initial determination.
     (g) The fund member or survivor of the fund member or the local board may object in writing to the 1977 fund advisory committee's initial determination under subsection (f) not later than fifteen (15) days after the initial determination is issued by

filing an objection with the PERF board. If a written objection is not filed, the 1977 advisory committee's initial determination becomes final. If a timely written objection is filed, the PERF board shall issue a final determination after a hearing. Unless an administrative law judge orders a waiver or an extension of the period for cause shown, the final determination must be issued not later than one hundred eighty (180) days after the date of receipt of the local board's recommendation.
    (h) If the 1977 fund advisory committee fails to issue an initial determination within forty-five (45) days after receiving the local board's recommendation, the default determination on whether the covered impairment is one described under subsection (b)(1) is the determination made by PERF's medical authority. An objection to this determination may be filed in accordance with subsection (g).
    (i) A determination that a member's covered impairment is one described under subsection (b)(1) applies only on a prospective basis beginning on January 1 of the calendar year in which the determination is made. The amount of the benefit may not be changed as a result of this determination.
    (j) A fund member or survivor of a fund member described in subsection (a) must file an application under this section not later than two (2) years after the date the PERF board notifies the fund members and survivors described in subsection (a) that the board has received a favorable ruling from the Internal Revenue Service. The PERF board shall provide notice of receipt of a favorable ruling not later than thirty (30) days after its receipt.

     (k) This section expires July 1, 2021.