WORKER’S COMPENSATION AND RELATED LAWS — INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
FIREMEN’S RETIREMENT FUND
72-1445. Pension payment — Retirement of firefighter incapacitated in the performance of duty. (1) Any paid firefighter incapacitated by injury in the performance of duty, or by illness attributable wholly or partially to service as a paid firefighter, shall be retired so long as such disability shall continue in a degree which prevents efficient service, limited to a maximum of two (2) years, and during such disability shall be paid from the public employee retirement account the monthly retirement sum to which he would be entitled if he elected to retire, but in no event less than a monthly sum equal to: (a) sixty-five per cent (65%) of the average paid firefighter’s salary or wage in this state if the incapacitated firefighter is an Option I firefighter; or, (b) sixty-five per cent (65%) of the said firefighter’s average monthly salary or wage, based on his average final compensation, if the incapacitated firefighter is an Option II firefighter. The monthly sum shall vary annually according to the cost of living adjustment as set forth in section 72-1471, Idaho Code.
Upon application of a firefighter or his or her department head for a service disability retirement, and prior to said retirement, a medical examination of said firefighter shall be given by a medical committee consisting of a physician named by the public employee retirement system board, a physician named by the firefighter claiming benefits, and a third physician designated by the first two (2) physicians so named. If the medical committee, by a majority opinion certifies in writing, that: (1) the firefighter is physically incapacitated for the efficient performance of the duties as a paid firefighter, as defined under the provisions of subsection (G), section 72-1403, Idaho Code, in the service of the city or fire district, (2) such incapacity is likely to be permanent, (3) the member should be retired, and (4) there is medical evidence of probative value including reports of clinical findings (such as the individual’s medical history, physical status examinations), laboratory findings, diagnosis and treatment prescribed and response to such treatment, the public employee retirement system board may approve such application for retirement as provided herein.
If the disabled firefighter is still retired at the conclusion of the two (2) year period, the public employee retirement system board shall determine whether the disability renders the disabled firefighter totally incapacitated. "Totally incapacitated" as used in this section means the inability to perform work in any remunerative employment. It is not necessary for a person to be absolutely helpless or entirely unable to do anything worthy of compensation to be considered totally incapacitated. If the person is so incapacitated that substantially all the avenues of gainful employment are reasonably closed to him, his condition is within the meaning of "totally incapacitated." In evaluating whether a person is totally incapacitated, the medical factor of permanent impairment and nonmedical factors such as age, sex, education, economic and social environment, and training and usable skills shall be considered. If the disabled firefighter is totally incapacitated, then payments shall continue at the rate prescribed in this section during the period of total incapacity. A medical committee may be summoned to determine total incapacity as provided above.
(2) If the disabled firefighter is less than totally incapacitated at the end of the two (2) year period, but has a disability which reduces his presumed ability to engage in gainful activity, payments shall be made to the disabled firefighter during the period of his disability as hereinafter provided. The board shall determine the percentage of disability suffered by the disabled firefighter as compared to the whole man. A medical committee, comprised as prescribed in this section, may be summoned to determine the percentage of disability suffered by the disabled firefighter. The disabled firefighter shall receive a disability benefit equal to the percentage that his disability bears to a totally incapacitated person.
(3) The public employee retirement system board shall provide and maintain disability benefits for all paid firefighters. Their benefits shall be as follows:
(a) For those paid firefighters who were hired for the first time between October 1, 1980, and July 1, 1993, the benefits provided shall be at least equal to those provided to an Option II firefighter. The benefits shall be maintained only until a paid firefighter is eligible for disability retirement under the provisions of chapter 13, title 59, Idaho Code. The costs for such benefits shall be paid from the appropriation made in section 59-1394(1)(b), Idaho Code.
(b) For those paid firefighters hired after July 1, 1993, the benefits and eligibility therefor shall be as provided in chapter 13, title 59, Idaho Code.
[(72-1445) I.C., sec. 72-1430H, as added by 1976, ch. 170, sec. 1, p. 622; am. 1976, ch. 273, sec. 8, p. 930; am. 1979, ch. 146, sec. 2, p. 447; am. 1980, ch. 50, sec. 33, p. 97; am. 1990, ch. 211, sec. 6, p. 477; 1990, am. and redesignated, ch. 231, sec. 95, p. 657; am. 1993, ch. 178, sec. 2, p. 458.]