Public Safety Officer Permanent Disability Benefit

TITLE 59

PUBLIC OFFICERS IN GENERAL

CHAPTER 13

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM

59-1352A.  PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER PERMANENT DISABILITY BENEFIT. (1) A public safety officer who is ruled by the retirement system to be permanently disabled, as provided in section 59-1302(12), on or after July 1, 2009, as a result of bodily injury or disease sustained in the line of duty is eligible for a one-time permanent disability benefit in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), which shall be payable as provided in this section to the permanently disabled public safety officer.

(2)  Public safety officers who qualify and who seek the benefit under this section shall apply to the retirement board. No benefit shall be payable unless the retirement board determines that:

(a)  The permanent disability occurred in the line of duty;

(b)  The permanent disability was not caused by the intentional misconduct of the public safety officer or by the public safety officer’s intentional infliction of injury; and

(c)  The public safety officer was not voluntarily intoxicated at the time of the event causing the permanent disability.

(3)  As used in this section, "public safety officer" means an active member of the retirement system who, when injured:

(a)  Was designated as a police officer member under section 59-1303, Idaho Code;

(b)  Was a firefighter as defined in section 59-1302(16), Idaho Code; or

(c)  Was a paid firefighter as defined in section 72-1403(A), Idaho Code.

(4)  The benefit payable under this section is as follows:

(a)  Separate from and independent of any benefits payable to the public safety officer under this chapter;

(b)  Not dependent upon years of service or age of the public safety officer; and

(c)  Shall not be subject to state income taxes.

(5)  It is the intent of the legislature that this benefit shall be funded solely by public safety officers in perpetuity, and not by an employer, as defined in section 59-1302(15), Idaho Code. Therefore, the costs associated with providing this benefit, as determined by the board, shall be paid solely by the public safety officers.

History:

[59-1352A, added 2009, ch. 158, sec. 1, p. 476.]

Disability Benefits

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PERSI DISABILITY BENEFITS If your career is cut short because of a permanent and total disability, you may be eligible for a monthly disability benefit from your PERSI Base Plan if you meet certain eligibility requirements. This booklet explains those benefits. Base Plan Disability Retirement Disability Requirements Disability for retirement purposes is considered to be a total and permanent physical or mental impairment that prevents you from earning a livelihood. This means you cannot perform any work for compensation. Temporary disability benefits are not available under the retirement law. Permanent incapacity is a prerequisite to approval of a disability retirement application. To be eligible for PERSI disability retirement: • You must be totally and permanently disabled as a result of a physical or mental disease or injury while an active member, AND • Your disability must result in substantially all avenues of employment being reasonably closed, AND • You must apply no later than one year after you cease to be an active member, AND • You must have 5 years of service. (You may be eligible from the first day on the job if you are disabled due to work-related causes.) Based on medical and other evidence, the Retirement Board or its agent will determine whether you are eligible for disability retirement. Disabilities resulting from service in the Armed Forces of the United States meeting the requirements of Idaho Code section 59-1302(23) qualify for disablity retirement. Disability resulting from an intentionally self-inflicted injury are excluded from a disability retirement benefit. Disability Allowance Formula A disability retirement allowance is calculated using the formula on the next page. If you have less than 360 months of service as of the date you are eligible for disability retirement, you will be given credit for the months of service you would have earned from the date of disability to the date you would have reached service retirement age (65 for general members/62 for police/firefighters) had you not become disabled (360 months of credited service maximum). In other words, PERSI will give you up to 30 years of credit or to age 65 for general members (age 62 for police/firefighters), whichever is less. EXAMPLE: If you are a general member with 120 months of service and become disabled at age 50, PERSI will add 180 months (12 months x 15 years to age 65), to give you 300 months of service for your disability retirement. Disability Retirement Formula Your Base Plan disability retirement benefit is based on your highest average monthly salary over a base period of 42 months, your total months of service, and a multiplier. A base period is the period of consecutive months during which you received your highest average monthly salary. This is usually at the end of your career, but may have occurred earlier. The base period is set by Idaho law. In the early 1990s it was shortened from 60 to 42 months to improve benefits. Your benefit will be calculated using the formula in effect at the time of your last contribution to PERSI. Formula Used to Calculate Base Plan Disability Retirement Benefits Your Average Monthly Salary During Base Period _________ Multiplier x _________ = _________ Months of Service x _________ (including disability months) Annual Benefit = _________ ÷ 12 Monthly Benefit = _________ 2 Applying for Disability Retirement To receive a disability benefit you must meet disability eligibility requirements while you are an active PERSI member, you must be leaving your job because of your disability, and you must file your application no later than one year after ceasing to be an active member. The first step in the disability application process is to contact PERSI at 1-800-451-8228 so a disability questionnaire and estimate can be sent to you. Once the form is completed and returned to PERSI, it will be reviewed to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, PERSI will put you in contact with a third-party administrator (TPA) who will assist you through the application and review process. The TPA will send you several forms to complete including: 1) Employee’s Statement of Disability 2) Training and Educational Experience Questionnaire 3) Daily Activities Questionnaire 4) Attending Physician’s Statement With the information provided by you and your physician, the TPA will determine your eligibility for disability retirement. The entire determination process may take several months. You may contact PERSI or the TPA at any time during the process if you have questions. Until recently, there was no deadline for applying for disability retirement. As a result, inactive members were able to apply at any time if they could demonstrate they became permanently and totally disabled while still an active member. Under a law that went into effect on July 1, 2006, PERSI members applying for disability benefits have a limited period of time to file an application. Inactive members applying for PERSI disability benefits are now required to file their application no later than one year from the date of their last contribution. PERSI is interpreting this to be the day the member ceases to be an active member. Members go from being active to inactive when they are no longer eligible to accrue service and make contributions. Don’t Wait: In some cases, the one year count down for applying for benefits could begin while a member is receiving benefits from worker’s compensation or short-term disability plans. Members who believe they are eligible for PERSI disability retirement should not wait until other benefits end to apply for the PERSI benefits or they may miss the deadline for applying. When possible, members should file their application before terminating employment or shortly thereafter, even if they are still uncertain about their ability to return to work. Applying for disability retirement merely initiates the process, it does not guarantee approval. In all cases, as part of the review process members must meet the applicable disability standard while an active member. TIME LIMITS FOR FILING FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS WENT INTO EFFECT JULY 1, 2006 3 Medical Examinations You will be required to provide medical information and may be required to undergo medical examinations both before and after the disability determination. Refusal to submit to a medical examination, if requested before the beginning of a disability retirement or at any reasonable time thereafter, will be considered proof that you are not disabled. When Disability Allowances Begin A disability allowance is payable on the first of the month following the latest of: • The date salary, sick leave, or temporary disability benefits sponsored by your employer stop, OR • Six months, depending on your employer, OR • The completion of a 5-calendar-month waiting period following your last day of employment. How Long Disability Allowances Continue You may continue receiving a disability allowance until the first of the month following whichever occurs first: • The date of your death, OR • The date your disability ceases, OR • The date you would have been eligible for service retirement if you had remained an active member. If your disability allowance is discontinued because you have reached service retirement age, your benefit will be converted to a service retirement allowance. At that time, you will be provided with options on different ways to draw the allowance and with information on the various options available to you. Returning to Work: Law Modified in 2010 PERSI disability law was modified by HB458 during the 2010 legislative session. If you are receiving disability retirement and attempt to return to work but are unsuccessful, you may resume your disability retirement if certain requirements are met. The requirements include giving PERSI’s executive director advance notice of the return to work (upon the notification, your disability retirement payments shall terminate). Disability payments may resume if you terminate the attempted return to work within 150 days from the date of the notice, make a written request to the Retirement Board, and provide medical records and/or submit to a medical exam at your own expense (if requested by the Retirement Board). If the Retirement Board (and the thirdparty administrator) determines you could not successfully return to work because of the same disability on which your original disability was based, your disability retirement allowance may resume. Death Benefits Payable While on Disability Retirement If you die while on disability retirement or while waiting for disability determination, and had named your spouse as beneficiary, your spouse has the option of a monthly benefit for his or her lifetime or a lump-sum death benefit consisting of two times the amount in your Base Plan account at the time of disability retirement minus any amount paid to you. If your spouse is not your beneficiary, the beneficiary may take a lump-sum payment of two times the amount in your Base Plan account at the time of disability retirement minus any amount paid to you, or may waive rights to the benefit and opt to provide your spouse with a monthly benefit for his or her lifetime. 4 Death Benefit Example: $60,000 In your Base Plan account at time of disability x 2 $120,000 - $65,000 Paid to you while on disability $55,000 Death benefit payable to your beneficiary Choice Plan Withdrawals During Disability The PERSI Choice Plan 401(k) does not provide disability retirement benefits; however, if you end PERSI-covered employment you may withdraw your Choice Plan funds. As long as you have ended PERSI employment, you do not need to wait to be approved for the PERSI Base Plan disability to receive a Choice Plan distribution. The withdrawal options available to you depend on your age and account balance. 

PRESUMTIVE ILLNESS

TITLE 72

WORKER’S COMPENSATION AND RELATED LAWS — INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION

CHAPTER 4

BENEFITS

72-438.  OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES. [EFFECTIVE UNTIL JULY 1, 2021] Compensation shall be payable for disability or death of an employee resulting from the following occupational diseases:

(1)  Poisoning by lead, mercury, arsenic, zinc, or manganese, their preparations or compounds in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(2)  Carbon monoxide poisoning or chlorine poisoning in any process or occupation involving direct exposure to carbon monoxide or chlorine in buildings, sheds, or enclosed places.

(3)  Poisoning by methanol, carbon bisulphide, hydrocarbon distillates (naphthas and others) or halogenated hydrocarbons, or any preparations containing these chemicals or any of them, in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(4)  Poisoning by benzol or by nitro, amido, or amino-derivatives of benzol (dinitro-benzol, anilin and others) or their preparations or compounds in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(5)  Glanders in the care or handling of any equine animal or the carcass of any such animal.

(6)  Radium poisoning by or disability due to radioactive properties of substances or to roentgen ray (X-ray) in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(7)  Poisoning by or ulceration from chromic acid or bichromate of ammonium, potassium, or sodium or their preparations, or phosphorus preparations or compounds, in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(8)  Ulceration due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil, or paraffin, or any compound product, or residue of any of these substances, in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(9)  Dermatitis venenata, that is, infection or inflammation of the skin, furunculosis excepted, due to oils, cutting compounds, lubricants, liquids, fumes, gases, or vapors in any occupation involving direct contact therewith, handling thereof, or exposure thereto.

(10) Anthrax occurring in any occupation involving the handling of or exposure to wool, hair, bristles, hides, skins, or bodies of animals either alive or dead.

(11) Silicosis in any occupation involving direct contact with, handling of, or exposure to dust of silicon dioxide (SiO2).

(12) Cardiovascular or pulmonary or respiratory diseases of a firefighter, employed by or volunteering for a municipality, village or fire district as a regular member of a lawfully established fire department, caused by overexertion in times of stress or danger or by proximate exposure or by cumulative exposure over a period of four (4) years or more to heat, smoke, chemical fumes or other toxic gases arising directly out of, and in the course of, his employment.

(13) Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), AIDS-related complexes (ARC), other manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, infectious hepatitis viruses and tuberculosis in any occupation involving exposure to human blood or body fluids.

(14)  Firefighter occupational diseases:

(a)  As used in this subsection, "firefighter" means an employee whose primary duty is that of extinguishing or investigating fires as part of a fire district, fire department or fire brigade.

(b)  If a firefighter is diagnosed with one (1) or more of the following diseases after the period of employment indicated in subparagraphs (i) through (xi) of this paragraph, and the disease was not revealed during an initial employment medical screening examination that was performed according to such standards and conditions as may be established at the sole discretion of the governing board having authority over a given fire district, fire department, or fire brigade, then the disease shall be presumed to be proximately caused by the firefighter’s employment as a firefighter:

(i)   Brain cancer after ten (10) years;

(ii)  Bladder cancer after twelve (12) years;

(iii) Kidney cancer after fifteen (15) years;

(iv)  Colorectal cancer after ten (10) years;

(v)   Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after fifteen (15) years;

(vi)  Leukemia after five (5) years;

(vii) Mesothelioma after ten (10) years;

(viii) Testicular cancer after five (5) years if diagnosed before the age of forty (40) years with no evidence of anabolic steroids or human growth hormone use;

(ix)  Breast cancer after five (5) years if diagnosed before the age of forty (40) years without a breast cancer 1 or breast cancer 2 genetic predisposition to breast cancer;

(x)   Esophageal cancer after ten (10) years; and

(xi)  Multiple myeloma after fifteen (15) years.

(c)  The presumption created in this subsection may be overcome by substantial evidence to the contrary. If the presumption is overcome by substantial evidence, then the firefighter or the beneficiaries must prove that the firefighter’s disease was caused by his or her duties of employment.

(d)  The presumption created in this subsection shall not preclude a firefighter from demonstrating a causal connection between employment and disease or injury by a preponderance of evidence before the Idaho industrial commission.

(e)  The presumption created in this subsection shall not apply to any specified disease diagnosed more than ten (10) years following the last date on which the firefighter actually worked as a firefighter as defined in paragraph (a) of this subsection. Nor shall the presumption apply if a firefighter or a firefighter’s cohabitant has regularly and habitually used tobacco products for ten (10) or more years prior to the diagnosis.

(f)  The periods of employment described in paragraph (b) of this subsection refer to periods of employment within the state of Idaho.

Recognizing that additional toxic or harmful substances or matter are continually being discovered and used or misused, the above enumerated occupational diseases are not intended to be exclusive, but such additional diseases shall not include hazards that are common to the public in general and that are not within the meaning of section 72-102(22)(a), Idaho Code, and the diseases enumerated in subsection (12) of this section pertaining to firefighters shall not be subject to the limitations prescribed in section 72-439, Idaho Code.

History:

[72-438, added 1971, ch. 124, sec. 3, p. 422; am. 1973, ch. 108, sec. 1, p. 193; am. 1981, ch. 261, sec. 8, p. 557; am. 1989, ch. 155, sec. 14, p. 394; am. 1990, ch. 188, sec. 1, p. 417; am. 2001, ch. 212, sec. 1, p. 837; am. 2006, ch. 206, sec. 5, p. 634; am. 2016, ch. 276, sec. 2, p. 763.]

 

WEINGARTEN RIGHTS

WEINGARTEN RIGHTS

Weingarten rights guarantee an employee the right to Union representation during an investigatory interview. These rights, established by the Supreme Court, in 1975 in the case of J'. Weingarten Inc,, must be claimed by the employee. The supervisor has no obligation to inform an employee that s/he is entitled to Union representation.

What is an Investigatory Interview?

An investigatory interview is one in which a Supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his/her conduct. If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or discharge may result from what s/he says, the employee has the right to request Union representation.

Examples of such an interview are:

 

  1. The interview is part of the employer's disciplinary procedure or is a component of the employer's procedure for determining whether discipline will be imposed.

     

  2. The purpose of the interview is to investigate an employee's performance where discipline, demotion or other adverse consequences to the employee's job status or working conditions are a possible result.

     

  3. The purpose of the interview is to elicit facts from the employee to support disciplinary action that is probable or that is being considered, or to obtain admissions of misconduct or other evidence to support a disciplinary decision already made.

     

  4. The employee is required to explain his/her conduct, or defend it during the interview, or is compelled to answer questions or give evidence.

It is an obligation of the Union to educate bargaining unit employees about their Weingarten rights BEFORE an occasion to use them arises. An employee must state to the employer that he/she wants a Union representative present; the employer has no obligation to ask: the employee if she/he wants a representative.

Weingarten Rules

When an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:

Rule 1 - The employee must make a clear request for Union representation before or during the interview. The employee can't be punished for making this request.

Rule 2 - After the employee makes the request, the supervisor has 3 options. S/he mug either:

 

  1. Grant the request and delay the interview until the Union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee: or

     

  2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or

     

  3. Give the employee a Choice of: 1)having the interview without representation or 2) ending the interview

     

Rule 3 - If the supervisor denies the request and continues to ask questions, this is an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employee cannot be disciplined for such refusal but is required to sit there until the supervisor terminates the interview. Leaving before this happens may constitute punishable insubordination.

Union Representative's Rights Under Weingarten

You are not required to merely be 'silent witness'. You have the right to:

  1. be informed by the supervisor of the subject matter of the interview

     

  2. take the employee aside for a private conference before questioning begins

     

  3. speak during the interview

     

  4. request that the supervisor clarify a question so that what is being asked is understood

     

  5. give employee advice on how to answer a question

     

  6. provide additional information to the supervisor at the end of the questioning.

You do not have the right to tell the employee not to answer nor, obviously, to give false answers. An employee can be disciplined for refusing to answer questions.

A standard statement to suggest to members is:

"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or discharged, request that my Union representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions."

The employer will be ordered to cease and desist and to post a notice. Discipline that is imposed for insisting on Weingarten rights will be overturned. Discipline will not be overturned if the discipline was for reasons other than insistence on Weingarten rights. Although information gained by the Employer from the employee in a meeting during which a breach of Weingarten rights occurred, may be excluded from a hearing on the matter.

An employee has NO right to the presence of a Union representative where:

 

  1. The meeting is merely for the purpose of conveying work instructions, training, or communicating needed corrections in the employee's work techniques.

     

  2. The employee is assured by the employer prior to the interview that no discipline or employment consequences can result from the interview.

     

  3. The employer has reached a final decision to impose certain discipline on the employee prior to the interview, and the purpose of the interview is to inform the employee of the discipline or to impose it.

     

  4. Any conversation or discussion about the previously determined discipline which is initiated by the employee and without employer encouragement or instigation after the employee is informed of the action.

Even in the above four (4) circumstances, the employee can still ask for representation. Most employers will permit a representative to attend even when not required to.