Date of Adoption: February 25, 2004.
Purpose: To implement chapter 4, Laws of 2004 (HB 2418), which provides additional benefits for certain law enforcement officers' and fire fighters's retirement system members who incur a disability in the line of duty.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 41.50.050(5).
Other Authority: RCW 41.26.470.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: This law goes into effect on June 10, 2004. It provides benefits for members of the law enforcement officers' and fire fighters' retirement system who are totally incapacitated for continued employment by their employer due to a disability incurred in the line of duty. Observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment would be contrary to the interest of eligible law enforcement officers and fire fighters with duty-related disabilities.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making:
Pilot Rule Making:
or Other Alternative Rule Making:
May 25, 2004
John F. Charles
WAC 415-104-480 Does the disability I incurred in the line of duty qualify me for retirement benefits? (1) Who is entitled to benefits provided for in RCW 41.26.470 for a disability incurred in the line of duty?
Any member of the law enforcement officers' and fire fighters' retirement system (LEOFF) Plan 2 who is deemed by the department to:
(a) Have incurred a disability in the line of duty on or after January 1, 2001; and
(b) Be totally incapacitated for continued employment by your employer.
The disability may be physical or mental, and may be caused by injury or occupational disease.
(2) How is "line of duty" defined?
Line of duty means any action or activity done in conjunction with your employment or your status as a law enforcement officer or fire fighter that is required, obligated, or authorized by law, rule, regulations, or condition of employment or service.
(3) How do I apply for benefits under this section?
You must submit:
(a) A completed three-part disability retirement application provided by the department.
(i) Part 1: Disability retirement application. You must complete, sign and have notarized.
(ii) Part 2: Employer's statement and report. Your employer must complete, sign and return directly to the department.
(iii) Part 3: Medical report. You must complete section one. The remainder must be completed and signed by a person licensed according to Washington state law to practice medicine and surgery, osteopathic medicine and surgery, chiropractic, naturopathy, podiatry, dentistry, or optometry;
(b) Verification of a determination of disability from the Washington state department of labor and industries (L&I), if available;
(c) Additional information that may be requested by the department; and
(d) Any other material you wish the department to consider.
(4) What types of evidence will the department use to determine if I am entitled to benefits under this section?
The department will consider:
(a) Information and determinations obtained from L&I;
(b) The documentation you submit;
(c) Facts surrounding your injury or occupational disease;
(d) Your job description;
(e) Your membership records, maintained by the department;
(f) Materials obtained or provided by your employer; and
(g) Any other relevant evidence.
(5) What would disqualify me for benefits under this section?
The department will not qualify you for a duty-related (line of duty) determination if any of the following apply:
(a) The department of labor and industries denies your claim;
(b) The disability occurred as a result of intentional misconduct;
(c) An action was taken by you intentionally to bring about your own disability;
(d) You were voluntarily intoxicated at the time of disability, as evidenced by a blood alcohol level of .20 per centum or greater;
(e) Your mental or physical faculties were affected by the voluntary induction of drugs or other substances in the body; or
(f) You were performing your duties in a grossly negligent manner at the time the disability occurred.
(6) Who decides if I meet the requirements for benefits under this section?
The LEOFF plan administrator.
(7) Do I have the right to petition a decision made by the LEOFF plan administrator?
Yes. If the LEOFF plan administrator denies your request for a disability benefit or determines your disability is not duty related under this section, you have the right to request a review of that decision according to the provisions of chapter 415-04 WAC.
(8) Are my disability benefits taxable?
DRS reports disability benefits as required by federal law. Based on current federal law, part of your benefit may be taxable. You should consult with your own tax advisor regarding all questions of federal or state income, payroll, personal property or other tax consequences regarding any payments you receive from the department.
It is important that you realize that the department does not:
(a) Guarantee that payments should or should not be designated as exempt from federal income tax;
(b) Guarantee that it was correct in withholding or not withholding taxes from benefit payments to you;
(c) Represent or guarantee that any particular federal or state income, payroll, personal property or other tax consequence will occur because of its nontaxable determination; or
(d) Assume any liability for your compliance with the Internal Revenue Code.
(9) When does a disability retirement benefit end?
Your disability benefit will cease if you return to work in a LEOFF-covered position, or:
(a) Medical examination reveals that you have recovered from the incapacitating disability; and
(b) You are no longer entitled to workers' compensation benefits under Title 51 RCW.