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Indiana Public Retirement System

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Indiana Public Retirement System

Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) > My Fund > Police and Firefighters > Police and Firefighters Member Handbook: Your Benefits Police and Firefighters Member Handbook: Your Benefits

All benefits are funded by the employer and employee contributions. In general, there are three types of benefits paid by the Fund:

  1. Retirement benefits
  2. Survivor benefits, and
  3. Disability benefits

Retirement Benefits

Eligibility

You qualify for an unreduced retirement benefit if you:

  • have at least 20 years of service credit in the Fund,
  • are at least age 52, and
  • have retired from service and ended employment.

Amount

If you qualify for an unreduced benefit, you will receive a monthly payment that equals at least 50 percent of the base salary (first-class salary) the year you retire.

If you earn more than 20 years of service, you will receive another 1 percent of the base salary for each six months of active service over 20 years. The most you can receive is 12 years (or a maximum 24 percent of the base salary).

For example: If you retire with exactly 20 years of service, your benefit at retirement will be 50 percent of the base salary for your department. If you retire with 30 years of service, your benefit will be 70 percent of the base salary (1 percent every six months for an additional 10 years equals 20 percent). When you earn 32 years of service or more, your benefit at retirement will be 74 percent of the base salary of your department.

Benefit Overpayment and Underpayment

INPRS is required by federal and state law to correct any errors in benefit calculations. If you receive an overpayment as a result of an error, INPRS must recover the overpayment. If you are underpaid, you will receive another payment from INPRS.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

Consistent with IC 36-8-8-15, every year the INPRS board decides if there has been an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If there has been an increase in the CPI, your monthly benefit will increase. The increase will begin by July 1 the year after your benefit starts. The increase will not exceed 3 percent.

Re-employment after Retirement

You may return to work with your previous employer after you have ended employment. If your new position is not covered by the Fund, you may continue to receive your benefit when you return to work. There is no minimum period of separation before you can be hired into a PERF-covered position if you are age 55 or older. If you are younger than 55, you must separate from service for 30 days before returning to work.

Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)

A retirement benefit option within the 1977 Fund known as the Deferred Retirement Option Plan or DROP is available for certain members of the fund. Members elect to be in the DROP.

What is DROP?

  • a program available to members who are eligible for normal (unreduced) benefits
  • allows members to choose a retirement date and continue to work in their 1977 Fund position for the DROP period

DROP participation has:

  • a minimum of 12 months but not more than 36 months,
  • any number of whole months between 12 and 36 months, and
  • an election period that may begin on any day of the month

To participate, on the date you enter the DROP, you must be eligible to retire and immediately begin receiving unreduced retirement benefits if you choose to do so.

A member may make only one DROP election during his or her lifetime. DROP may not extend past the mandatory retirement age of the local unit, if one exists. You will need to submit your DROP application to your employer. A mandatory retirement age of 70 applies after June 1, 2018.

Your pension contributions while in the DROP is 6 percent of your base salary while you are employed in your covered position, or for 32 years, whichever comes first.

To enter the DROP, you will need to submit the following to INPRS:

  • an election to participate in the DROP specifying the DROP entry date, which must be the first day of your DROP period, and
  • a notice of retirement date, which must be the last day of your DROP period.

When you enter the DROP, a “frozen benefit” will be calculated. The frozen benefit equals your monthly retirement benefit. Your monthly retirement benefit is based on your earned service and base salary as of the date you enter the DROP.

You will not earn additional service credit while you are in the DROP. If there are cost of living adjustments, they will not apply to your benefit while you are in the DROP. If there is a cost of living adjustment, it will be applied to your benefit the year after you retire.

Your retirement date must be at least 12 months and not more than 36 months after you enter the DROP.  When you exit the DROP and retire on your DROP retirement date, you can choose to be paid a lump sum or three equal annual payments. The DROP payment at retirement is the amount “accrued” while in the DROP.

Your decision to receive a DROP benefit is important. You should speak with a trusted financial advisor before making a final decision.

This sample worksheet shows how to estimate DROP benefits.

Overview of Retirement Options

Type of Retirement

Age and Service Requirements*

Benefit Calculation

Unreduced

You must have at least 20 years of service and be at least age 52.

Your pension will equal 50 percent of base salary + 1 percent for each six months of service over 20 years. The max. benefit is 74 percent of base salary if you have 32 years or more of service.

DROP

If you qualify, you may choose to retire under the terms of DROP.

You will receive a lump sum or 3 yearly payments = your DROP frozen benefit x no. of months you are in DROP + your monthly pension.

Early

You must have at least 20 years of service and be at least age 50.

You will receive a reduced benefit for each month prior to age 52.

*You will not receive credit for earned and unused sick leave even if you received pay for the leave.

Early Retirement Benefits

If you have 20 years of service, you may retire at age 50 with a reduced benefit. If you choose early retirement, your benefit will be reduced by 14 percent at age 50.

For example: If you retire at age 50, you will receive 86 percent of the pension you would have received at age 52. Your years of service and base salary at retirement are used to calculate the percentage. On a monthly basis, the reduction factor decreases regularly from age 50 to age 52. At age 51, the pension reduction factor is 7 percent. If you choose to retire at age 51, you will receive 93 percent of a normal pension benefit for the rest of your life.

If you choose to take early retirement, your pension benefits will remain reduced even after you reach age 52.

Survivor Benefits

Lump Sum Death Benefit

In the event of your death, your heirs or estate will be entitled to a one-time death benefit of $12,000.

Survivors of Active Members (Non-Line of Duty)

If you die as an active member of the Fund, or after ending employment with at least 20 years of service credit but you had not started receiving benefits, the following survivor benefits will be paid:

  • Your surviving spouse is entitled to a monthly benefit. It will equal 60 percent of your monthly benefit. The benefit will be paid to your spouse for life. Your benefit will be calculated as if you were receiving benefits at age 52 with 20 years of service. If you have more than 20 years of service, your benefit will increase by 1 percent for each six months of additional service.  Your spouse can remarry and not risk losing the benefit.
     
  • Each surviving child is entitled to a monthly benefit. It will equal 20 percent of your monthly benefit until:
    • the child turns age 18, or
    • until age 23 if he/she is enrolled in a secondary school and attends on a regular basis, or
    • the child is no longer a full-time student at an accredited college or university.

  • If an eligible child has a physical or mental disability as determined by the Social Security Administration (regardless of age) and the child is not a ward of the state, the child will receive benefits. An eligible disabled child is entitled to 30 percent of the monthly pay of a first-class police officer or first-class firefighter or 55 percent (whichever is greater) of the monthly benefit you were receiving or were entitled to receive on the date of your death. The child will receive the benefit as long as the disability continues.
     
  • If you do not have a qualified surviving child or spouse, your surviving parent(s), if qualified, is entitled to 50 percent of your monthly benefit for life. Your parent(s) must submit proof that they were claimed as dependents on your federal income tax form for the year prior to your date of death. Your benefit will be calculated as if you were receiving benefits at age 52 with 20 years of service. If you have more than 20 years of service, your benefit will increase by 1 percent for each six months of additional service.
     
  • If your death was not in the line of duty and you had less than 20 years of service, your contributions plus interest will be paid to your chosen beneficiary. If you do not have a chosen beneficiary, your contributions plus interest will be paid to your estate.

Survivor Benefits Chart

Your spouse will receive 60 percent of the eligible benefit paid for life.

Non-Line of Duty (Active Member) or Vested Inactive Retiree Line of Duty as Determined by the INPRS Board (Active Member)
Lump Sum Death Benefit Your heirs or estate will receive $12,000. Your heirs or estate will receive $12,000. Your spouse, children or dependent parent(s) will receive $150,000 + $12,000 to your heirs or estate.
Surviving Spouse Your spouse will receive 60 percent of the eligible benefit paid for life. Your spouse will receive 60 percent of eligible benefit paid for life. Your spouse will receive 100 percent of eligible benefit paid for life.
Each Surviving Child* Your surviving child will receive 20 percent of the eligible benefit, paid until age 18 or 23 if he/she is a full-time student. Your surviving child will receive 20 percent of the eligible benefit, paid until age 18 or 23 if he/she is a full-time student. Your surviving child will receive 20 percent of the eligible benefit, paid until age 18 or 23 if he/she is a full-time student.
Wholly Dependent Parent(s) if no surviving spouse or child Parents (who qualify) will receive 50 percent of the eligible benefit paid for life. Parents (who qualify) will receive 50 percent of the eligible benefit paid for life. Parents (who qualify) will receive 50 percent of the eligible benefit paid for life. If both parents qualify, they share the benefit equally.

*If an eligible child has a physical or mental disability (regardless of age) and the child is not a ward of the state, the child will receive benefits. An eligible disabled child is entitled to 30 percent of the monthly pay of a first-class police officer or first-class firefighter or 55 percent (whichever is greater) of the monthly benefit you were receiving or were entitled to receive on the date of your death. The child will receive the benefit as long as the disability continues.

Survivors of Retirees

If you die while receiving retirement or disability benefits:

  • Your surviving spouse is entitled to a monthly benefit. It will equal 60 percent of your monthly retirement or disability benefit. The benefit will be paid to your spouse for life. Your spouse may remarry and not risk losing the benefit.
  • Each surviving child is entitled to a monthly benefit. It will equal 20 percent of your monthly retirement benefit or disability benefit until:
    • the child turns age 18, or
    • age 23 if he/she is enrolled in a secondary school and attends on a regular basis, or
    • the child is no longer a full-time student at an accredited college or university.
  • If an eligible child has a physical or mental disability (regardless of age) and the child is not a ward of the state, the child will receive benefits. An eligible disabled child is entitled to 30 percent of the monthly pay of a first-class police officer or first-class firefighter or 55 percent (whichever is greater) of the monthly benefit you were receiving or were entitled to receive on the date of your death. The child will receive the benefit as long as the disability continues.
  • If you do not have a surviving eligible child or spouse, your surviving parent(s), if qualified, is entitled to 50 percent of your monthly benefit for life. Your parent(s) must prove that they were claimed as dependents on your federal income tax return filed by you the year prior to your death. Your surviving parents are equally entitled to 50 percent of your monthly benefit for life.

Beneficiaries

You may choose one or more of your beneficiaries to receive a lump sum payment plus interest if you die without:

  • receiving a retirement benefit,
  • receiving a disability benefit,
  • a survivor entitled to receive a benefit, and
  • INPRS returning your contributions.

Your contributions plus interest are paid to your beneficiary. INPRS will decide the interest rate. If you do not choose a beneficiary and you do not have survivors entitled to a benefit, your contributions plus interest will be paid to your estate. INPRS will decide the payment rate paid to your estate.

Line of Duty Benefits

Death Benefit

A special one-time death benefit of $150,000 will be paid to your surviving spouse if you die in the line-of-duty as determined by INPRS. If you are not married at the time of your death, the benefit will be paid to your surviving children. If you do not have a surviving spouse or child, the special death benefit is paid to your parents jointly.

Survivors of Members who Die in the Line of Duty

If you die in the line of duty while an active member of the Fund, the following survivor monthly benefits will be paid:

  • Your surviving spouse will receive a monthly benefit equal to 100 percent of your monthly benefit. Your spouse will receive the benefit for life. Your benefit will be calculated as if you were receiving benefits at age 52 with 20 years of service. If you have more than 20 years of service, your benefit will increase by 1 percent for each six months of additional service. Your spouse may remarry and not risk losing the benefit.
  • Each surviving child will receive a monthly benefit equal to 20 percent of your monthly retirement or disability benefit until:
    • the child turns age 18, or
    • age 23 if the child is enrolled in a secondary school and attends on a regular basis, or
    • the child is no longer a full-time student at an accredited college or university.

Your benefit will be calculated as if you were receiving benefits at age 52 with 20 years of service. If you have more than 20 years of service, your benefit will increase by 1 percent for each six months of additional service.

  • If an eligible child has a physical or mental disability (regardless of age) and the child is not a ward of the state, the child will receive benefits. An eligible disabled child will receive 30 percent of the monthly pay of a first-class police officer or first-class firefighter or 55 percent (whichever is greater) of the monthly benefit you were receiving or were entitled to receive on the date of your death. The child will receive the benefit as long as the disability continues.
  • If you do not have a surviving eligible child or spouse, your surviving parent(s), if qualified, is entitled to 50 percent of your benefit for life. Your parent(s) must prove that they were claimed as dependents on your federal income tax return filed by you the year prior to your death. Your surviving parents will equally receive 50 percent of your benefit for life.

Your retirement benefit will be calculated as if you were receiving benefits at age 52 with 20 years of service. If you have more than 20 years of service, your benefit will increase by 1 percent for each six months of additional service.

Disability Benefits

You are covered under the Pre-1990 Plan if you:

  • were first hired before Jan. 1, 1990, or
  • elected not to be covered under the current plan, or
  • made no election at all.

You are covered under the current plan (1990 Plan) if you:

  • were hired for the first time after Dec. 31, 1989,
  • were hired for the first time before Jan. 1, 1990 and chose the current plan.

Pre-1990 Disability Plan (For those members hired prior to Jan. 1, 1990)

If you are in the Pre-1990 Disability Plan, this is the process to apply for disability benefits:

  1. Your local board will have a hearing to decide if you have a covered impairment. They will also decide if that impairment occurred in the line of duty. A covered impairment is one that permanently or temporarily leaves you unable to perform your duties, considering reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Using the standards of the ADA, the local board will decide if suitable and available work exists within the department. For more details on how to apply for disability benefits, see the Application and Appeal sections of this handbook.
  2. The Fund and the INPRS Medical Authority will review the local board’s findings. If the local board and the Fund decide that you have a covered impairment, you will be entitled to receive a disability benefit equal to the benefit you would have received if you had retired at age 52. The Fund administers the benefit based on the decisions of the local board and INPRS' physician.

Steps to Apply for Pre-1990 Disability Plan Benefits:

  1. You must submit an application to request a hearing.
  2. Your local department pension board will conduct a determination hearing.
  3. The Fund and the INPRS Medical Authority will review local board findings. The review will decide if a covered impairment exists. You may provide INPRS with more records and evidence for review before INPRS’ initial determination is finalized.
  4. If you qualify, you receive disability benefits equal to your full normal retirement benefit at age 52.

The time spent receiving disability benefits is considered active service until you have 20 years of service. The local board or INPRS may request a yearly medical review while you are receiving disability. If you have recovered and suitable and available work is offered to you by your department, your disability benefit will end.  If you have recovered, your benefits will end whether or not you accept the offer of employment. As a recovered member who returns to a Fund-covered position, you will not be treated as a new applicant. You will not be subject to the Fund membership application process required for new members.

If your previous condition(s) returns within two years (without an intervening event) after you return to active duty from a covered impairment, you may qualify to receive benefits. Your benefit will equal the disability benefit you were receiving when you returned to work. You will also receive any cost of living adjustments that Fund members received during your period of re-employment.

If you return to a Fund-covered position after you recover from a covered impairment, your employer should notify INPRS. If you receive any disability benefits after you return to work, it must be repaid to INPRS.

1990 Disability Plan (if you were hired after Dec. 31, 1989 or if you elected coverage under the 1990 plan)

If you have a covered impairment as a 1990 Plan member, the Plan will pay monthly disability benefits based on:

  • the class of your impairment,
  • degree of impairment, and
  • first-class pay for your department in the year the local board makes the disability determination.

If you are in the 1990 Plan, your local board will conduct a hearing to decide if you have a covered impairment. The hearing must happen before you qualify for a disability benefit.

Steps to Apply for 1990 Disability Plan Benefits

  1. You must submit an application to the local board.
  2. Your local board will conduct a hearing to decide if you have a covered impairment.
  3. The local board decides the class of your impairment. The board will consider reasonable accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The local board will also decide if there is suitable and available work in the department for you.
  4. The Fund and the INPRS Medical Authority will review the findings of the local board to decide if you qualify. They will also decide your class and degree of your disability.
  5. You will receive disability benefits based on the class of impairment, if you qualify.

Your class of impairment determines your base monthly benefit. The degree of your impairment determines your additional monthly benefit.

A covered impairment is one that permanently or temporarily makes you unable to perform your duties. The appointing authority certifies that there is no suitable and available work in your department for which you are or may be capable of becoming qualified. The standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are used to decide “reasonable accommodations.” Certain covered impairments are not included when considering if your impairment was a pre-existing “Class 3 excludable condition” at the time you were hired. You do not qualify for Class 3 benefits if the impairment relates to a condition that was excluded when you became a member of the Fund.

If the local board determines that you have a covered impairment, the board will also decide the “class” of your impairment. The INPRS Medical Authority will also review the impairment and its “class.” The class of impairment determines your base monthly benefit. The INPRS Medical Authority decides your degree of impairment. Your additional monthly benefit is determined by the degree of your impairment.

Base Monthly Disability Benefit

The following describes the three classes of impairments and the amount of base benefit for each class:

Class 1 Impairment

A Class 1 impairment is the direct result of one or more of the following:

  1. a personal injury that happens while you are on duty,
  2. a personal injury that happens while you are off duty but responding to an offense or a reported offense in the case of a police officer. Or, in the case of a firefighter, while responding to an emergency or a reported emergency for which you are trained, or
  3. an occupational disease (defined in IC 22-3-7-10 as a disease arising out of and in the course of the employment).
  4. a health condition caused by an exposure risk disease that results in a presumption of disability or death that happens in the line of duty under IC 5-10-13.

You will receive a monthly base benefit equal to 45 percent of the base salary. You will also receive an additional amount based on the degree of your impairment. The INPRS Medical Authority determines your degree of impairment.

Class 2 Impairment

A Class 2 impairment is a duty-related disease. This is a disease that occurs as a result of your employment. This disease can be determined if it is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all the circumstances, that:

  1. there is a connection between your work environment and the disease,
  2. the disease happened naturally, resulting from your work environment. The disease is a result of exposure that happened by the nature of your duties, or
  3. the disease can be traced to your employment as the proximate cause.
  4. a health condition caused by an exposure related heart or lung disease, an exposure related cancer, or exposure related Parkinson's disease that results in a presumption of disability incurred in the line of duty under IC 5-10-15.

You will receive 22 percent of the base pay plus 0.5 percent of that pay for each year of service, up to a maximum of 30 years. You will also receive an additional amount based on the degree of your impairment. The INPRS Medical Authority determines your degree of impairment.

Benefit periods are limited for certain Class 2 disability benefits. Benefits for a Class 2 impairment are paid for a period equal to your years of service, if your total disability benefit is less than 30 percent of base salary and you have fewer than four years of service.

Class 3 Impairment

A Class 3 impairment is one that is not in Class 1 or Class 2. Benefit periods are limited for certain Class 3 disability benefits. Benefits for a Class 3 impairment are paid for a period equal to your years of service, if your total disability benefit is less than 30 percent of base salary and you have fewer than four years of service.

You will receive a monthly benefit equal to your years of service, up to a maximum of 30 years, multiplied by 1 percent of the base pay. You will also receive an additional amount based on the degree of your impairment. The INPRS Medical Authority decides your degree of impairment.

Additional Monthly Benefit (Class 1, 2, and 3)

Your disability benefit equals your base monthly benefit. Your base monthly benefit is based on your class of impairment, plus an additional monthly benefit amount based on the degree of your impairment. The INPRS Medical Authority determines the degree of your impairment. INPRS uses a formula to convert the degree of your impairment into a dollar amount. The amount represents your additional monthly payment. The minimum and maximum benefit is determined by statute.

Supplemental Benefit (Class 1 and 2)

As a member of the Fund, you may be entitled to an additional monthly benefit if you:

  • were hired after Dec. 31, 1989, (or elected coverage under IC 36-8-8-12.4), and
  • receive a disability benefit based on a Class 1 or Class 2 impairment,
  • are entitled to receive the disability benefit for the rest of your life,
  • are receiving a disability benefit at age 52 based on a Class 1 or Class 2 impairment, and
  • your calculated regular retirement at age 52 exceeds the disability benefit you are receiving at age 52.

1990 Disability Plan Benefit Chart

Type of Injury Benefit Period Occurrence Benefit Formula
Class 1 Life If you are a police officer who was injured on duty, or injured off-duty while responding to an offense. If you are a firefighter, and were injured while responding to an emergency. You will receive 45 percent x base salary + additional monthly benefit. This is based on the degree of your impairment.
Class 2 Life If you have a proven duty-related impairment. You will receive 22 percent x base salary + 0.5 percent x years of service up to 30 + additional monthly benefit. This is based on the degree of your impairment.
Class 3 Period that equals your total years of service or until age 52 Other - not Class 1 or 2. You will receive 1 percent x base salary x years of service up to 30 + additional monthly benefit. This is based on the degree of your impairment. At age 52, the benefit will be recalculated as a regular retirement.

Medical Conditions that are excluded under a Class 3 Disability

If you are hired with a pre-existing medical condition that is not covered by this plan, you will not qualify for a Class 3 disability benefit when the impairment is related in any manner to the uncovered condition. The uncovered condition will also prevent you from receiving any Class 3 disability benefit for a period of four years after the date of hire or rehire, unless the Class 3 impairment is attributed to an accidental injury.

Deferred Retirement Option Plan – DROP

If you retire because of a disability less than 12 months after you enter DROP, your benefit is calculated under the terms of the applicable fund as if you never entered DROP. If you retire because of a disability 12 months or more after you enter DROP, you may elect to receive a benefit calculated as if the DROP retirement date is the date you retire because of a disability (section 12 of IC 36-8-8.5 (d).

The Local Board Process

  1. You request a hearing to determine if you have a covered impairment.
  2. You provide medical records to the hiring authority and the local board.
  3. The hiring authority determines if there is suitable and available work. The standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are used to determine “reasonable accommodations”.
  4. The local board holds a hearing to see if you have a covered impairment. The statutes are used to define a covered impairment. A transcript of the local board’s hearing will be provided to the Fund.
  5. If you were hired after Dec. 31, 1989 (or elected coverage under IC 36-8-8-12.4), the local board determines the class of impairment (Class 1, 2, or 3). For Pre-1990 Plan members, the local board determines if the impairment is duty-related.
  6. If the local board decides the impairment is Class 3 and you have a Class 3 non-covered condition, the board will then decide if the impairment resulted from an accidental injury.
  7. The local board submits the determinations and a copy of all the medical proof used in making that determination to the Fund.

Section Five: Benefit Application Checklists