The Indiana Supreme Court will consider a certified question from federal court concerning disability pension funds for police and firefighters who are already eligible and receiving benefits governed by Indiana statute.
An order issued Friday accepts the question in Mark J. Thatcher v. City of Kokomo, et al., No. 94S00-CQ-570, from the Southern District of Indiana. The questions arose in Thatcher v. City of Kokomo, No. 1:10-cv-101.
Specifically, the case asks two questions:
1. Does Indiana Code §36-8-4-7(a) apply to a member of the “1977 Fund” [a disability pension fund for police and firefighters managed by the Indiana Public Employees’ Retirement Fund and governed by Indiana Code chapter 36-8-8] who is receiving disability benefits and who has been determined to have been recovered pursuant to 35 Indiana Administrative Code 2-5-5(c)?
2. If yes, does Indiana Code §36-8-8-12(e) apply to determinations of eligibility under Indiana Code §36-8-4-7(a), such that time spent receiving disability benefits counts toward “years of service” as that term is used in Indiana Code §36-8-4-7(a)?
Simultaneous briefing is ordered and those documents must be submitted by Nov. 4, according to the court’s order. The order signed by Acting Chief Justice Brent Dickson says that extensions will be granted only in truly extraordinary circumstances, and an oral argument order will be issued at a later date.