PUBLIC OFFICERS IN GENERAL
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM
59-1352B. PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER catastrophic Line of Duty benefits. (1) For purposes of this section:
(a) "Catastrophic injury" means a sudden, violent, life-threatening, duty-related injury sustained by an active member within the scope of the public safety officer’s duties and within the department policy that is due to an externally caused event such as a motor vehicle collision, gunshot wound, aggravated battery, structural collapse, significant fall, or other external event or events that is not self-inflicted or the result of intoxication; provided, however, that no psychological injury, disorder, or condition shall be considered a catastrophic injury under this definition. The injury must be of such severity that it causes the loss of ability to maintain certifications required by the state of Idaho, the member’s department, or both. The injury shall be supported by evidence of one (1) or more of the following conditions:
(i) Total, complete, permanent, and uncorrectable loss of sight in both eyes;
(ii) Total, complete, permanent, and uncorrectable loss of hearing in both ears;
(iii) Total, complete, and permanent loss of the ability to speak;
(iv) Total, complete, and permanent loss of the use of one (1) or both feet at or above the ankle;
(v) Total, complete, and permanent loss of the use of one (1) or both hands at or above the wrist;
(vi) Injury to the spine that results in a total, permanent, and complete paralysis of both arms, both legs, or one (1) arm and one (1) leg; or
(vii) An externally caused, physical traumatic injury to the brain that renders the member physically or mentally unable to perform the duties of a public safety officer.
(b) "Catastrophic line of duty benefits" means benefits payable to a public safety officer who sustains a catastrophic injury pursuant to this section.
(c) "Public safety officer" means a police officer member as set forth in section 59-1303, Idaho Code, or a firefighter member as set forth in section 59-1302(16), Idaho Code.
(2) A public safety officer who sustains a catastrophic injury as set forth in this section is eligible for:
(a) A onetime permanent catastrophic injury benefit in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000); and
(b) An ongoing annual benefit in an amount not less than seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) per year, to be adjusted every four (4) years pursuant to an actuarial study to determine the change in average public safety officer benefits over the previous four (4) years.
(3) In the event a public safety officer receiving the catastrophic line of duty benefit as set forth in this section dies and leaves a surviving spouse to whom the member was married at the time of the catastrophic injury, such surviving spouse shall receive the catastrophic line of duty benefit for the duration of such spouse’s life to which the public safety officer would have been entitled.
(4) The benefits payable under this section shall not be subject to Idaho state income tax.
(5) A public safety officer who seeks to obtain benefits under this section shall apply to the retirement board within twelve (12) months of the date of the incident resulting in the public safety officer’s catastrophic injury. No benefit shall be payable unless the retirement board determines eligibility pursuant to the requirements of this section. A public safety officer’s refusal to submit to a medical examination ordered by the board before the commencement of a catastrophic line of duty benefit or at any reasonable time thereafter shall constitute proof that the member is not eligible for the benefits provided for in this section.
(6) The benefits provided for in this section shall not be in addition to other benefits under this chapter.
(7) If a public safety officer who qualifies for benefits provided for in this section again becomes an employee in a nonpublic safety officer position as defined in sections 59-1302(14) and (16) and 59-1303, Idaho Code, as a result of returning to employment with an employer as defined in section 59-1302(15), Idaho Code, the public safety officer may elect to continue receiving benefits and not accrue additional service. In such circumstance, no contributions shall be made by the member during such reemployment and the public safety officer catastrophic line of duty benefit payable on the behalf of the member shall continue.
(8) 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 public safety officers. An actuarial cost analysis of the benefit will be performed every four (4) years by the board.
[59-1352B, added 2021, ch. 143, sec. 1, p. 395.]