Texas Vernon’s Civil Statutes
Sec. § 6.03
Disability Benefits


(a)

If a member who is on active service, other than a member participating in DROP, becomes disabled to the extent that the member cannot perform the members duties with the members department, the member may apply for a disability pension, subject to any uniform and nondiscriminatory disability application procedure and recall and review procedure adopted by the board and in effect from time to time.

(b)

No disability pension may be paid until a member has been prevented, by a disability, from performing the members duties with the members department for a period of at least 90 consecutive calendar days, and no disability benefits may be paid for any portion of the 90-day period. The board may waive the waiting period on request by the member, if the request is supported by credible evidence acceptable to the board that the disability is wholly and immediately incapacitating. The board may request from the city such information, including any employment application and any related physical test and medical examination records, as may be desirable in evaluating the disability application.

(c)

No disability pension may be paid for any disability if the disability was a result of the members commission of a felony, except that this restriction may be waived by the board if it believes that facts exist that would mitigate the denial of the members application for a disability pension.

(d)

No disability pension may be paid to a member for any disability if the disability was a result of an intentionally self-inflicted injury or a chronic illness resulting from an addiction by the member through a protracted course of indulgence in alcohol, narcotics, or other substance abuse that was not coerced.

(e)

No disability pension may be paid until the health director has either examined the member or reviewed reports of the members physical or mental condition submitted to the health director by competent outside medical practitioners.

(f)

No disability pension may be paid if the chief of the members department is able to provide the member with duties that are within the members physical or mental capabilities, even though the duties are different from the duties the member performed before the disability.

(g)

Written application for a disability pension must be filed with the executive director not later than the 180th day after the date the member leaves active service. The application must be accompanied by a recommendation from the health director. This recommendation shall contain a statement indicating whether the member became disabled while the member was on duty or off duty and whether the disability was service-connected or was not service-connected.

(h)

The recommendation from the health director shall also contain a statement indicating the date the member became disabled or indicating that the disability prevented the member from performing the members duties for a period of not less than 90 days.

(i)

An application for disability retirement will be considered at the meeting of the board held during the month the disability pension is to become effective or as soon after the effective date of the disability pension as possible. No disability pension may be paid, however, until the board has approved the application.

(j)

If a person who became a Group B member pursuant to Section 5.01(a)(2)(E) of this article withdraws the persons contributions pursuant to Section 4.04 of this article and leaves active service with vested rights in the old plan, Plan A, or the combined pension plan in existence before January 1, 1993, the Group B member must, on return to active service, earn five years of pension service after the date of return to receive a Group B disability pension. If the Group B member is disabled before earning five years of pension service following a return to active service, the person may receive only a Group A disability pension.

(k)

For purposes of Sections 6.04 and 6.05 of this article and this section:

(1)

longevity pay and incentive pay are the amounts in effect on the date the benefits are to begin, without subsequent adjustment; and

(2)

except as provided by Section 6.05(b-1) of this article, base pay is the amount in effect on the date benefits are to begin, without subsequent adjustment.

(l)

Notwithstanding any other law, Subchapter B, Chapter 607, Government Code, applies to all members without regard to the employing department or job assignment.
Sec. 6.04. TERMINATION DURING FIRST 2-1/2 YEARS. If, during the first 2-1/2 years of disability retirement, a retiree recovers to the extent that the person is able to perform the duties of the persons job as a firefighter, the board of trustees may terminate the retirement benefit and restore the person to active service at not less than the same rank the person held at the time of disability retirement.
Sec. 6.05. CONTINUATION AFTER FIRST 2-1/2 YEARS. After a retiree has received disability retirement benefits from the fund for at least 2-1/2 years, the board of trustees from time to time may review the situation of the person to determine the status of the disability. The board of trustees may ask the medical board for its opinion of the status of the disability. If the board of trustees determines that the person has recovered to the extent that the person is able to be employed, the board of trustees may:

(1)

continue to pay the full disability retirement benefit;

(2)

pay a reduced disability retirement benefit in an amount commensurate with the persons disability as determined by the board; or

(3)

discontinue payment of a disability benefit.
Sec. 6.06. APPLICATION; PHYSICIANS STATEMENT; MEDICAL BOARD ACTION. (a) An application for disability retirement must be accompanied by a written statement, on a form approved by the board of trustees, signed by a physician of the members choice. The member shall pay any costs of or fees for obtaining the physicians statement and shall file the application and statement with the fund. As soon as possible after the application is filed, the medical board shall evaluate the medical and other pertinent information concerning the members application.

(b)

The medical board may require any firefighter to obtain additional medical opinions before issuing a certificate that the member is unable, as a result of physical or mental disability, to perform the duties of the members occupation as a firefighter. The fund shall pay any costs or fees of examination by a person other than the members own physician.

(c)

A certificate from the medical board may include a finding by that board that the disability is likely to be temporary or is likely to be total and permanent.

(d)

The board of trustees at any time may require a person receiving a disability retirement benefit under this Act to appear and undergo a medical examination by a physician selected by the board of trustees or the medical board for that purpose. The result of the examination and report by that physician shall be considered by the board of trustees in determining whether the disability retirement benefit will be continued, increased, if less than the maximum provided by this Act, decreased, or discontinued.
OPTION I. Joint and 100 Percent Survivor Annuity. A reduced annuity payable to the member but with the provision that on the members death, the annuity shall be continued throughout the life of and be paid to such person that the member shall irrevocably designate before the members retirement date.
OPTION II. Joint and 50 Percent Survivor Annuity. A reduced annuity payable to the member but with the provision that on the members death, one-half of the annuity shall be continued throughout the life of and be paid to the person that the member shall irrevocably designate before the members retirement date.
OPTION III. Joint and 66-2/3 Percent Survivor Annuity. A reduced annuity payable to the member but with the provision that on the members death, two-thirds of the annuity shall be continued throughout the life of and be paid to the person that the member shall irrevocably designate before the members retirement date.
OPTION IV. Joint and 66-2/3 Percent Last Survivor Annuity. A reduced annuity payable to the member but with the provision that two-thirds of the annuity to which the member would be entitled shall be continued throughout the life of and be paid to the survivor after the death of either the member or the person that the member shall irrevocably designate before the members retirement date.
OPTION V. 15-Year Certain and Life Annuity. A reduced annuity shall be payable to the member for life. In the event of the members death before 180 monthly payments have been made, the remainder of the 180 payments are payable to the members beneficiary or, if one does not exist, to the members estate.

(b)

The amount of the annuity payment in Options I, II, III, IV, and V shall be determined without considering the minimum cumulative payment of the retired members accumulated deposits since that refund feature will stay in effect as indicated in Subsection (b), Section 6.06, of this Act.

(b)

The board shall consider the finding of a municipality to which this Act applies that a member was killed in the line of duty as a guideline for its determination in applying this section. On an application for survivors benefits by a surviving spouse or dependent child, the fund shall pay the normal benefits payable under Section 6.02 of this Act. When a benefit is payable under this section, the death benefit annuity shall be recomputed, applying Subsection (c) of this section, and any deficiency payment shall be paid to the eligible beneficiaries.

(c)

Notwithstanding the formulas for computing the total amounts of annuities otherwise provided by this Act, if a member is killed in the line of duty, the members surviving spouse and dependent children are entitled to a death benefit annuity equal to the total salary of the member at the time of death. Rules provided by this section relating to qualification and disqualification for and apportionment of benefits apply to a death benefit annuity computed under this subsection. A death benefit annuity computed under this subsection is divided in the manner described by Section 6.02 of this Act and is subject to the same cost-of-living adjustments that apply to pensions for service retirement.

(b)

Not later than December 31 of the year following the year in which the municipality makes a contribution under Subsection (a) of this section, the municipality shall:

(1)

calculate the difference, if any, between the amount of the municipalitys actual payroll for the applicable fiscal year and the amount of payroll on which its contribution under Subsection (a) of this section was based; and

(2)

contribute to the fund an amount equal to the municipalitys applicable contribution rate multiplied by the amount of the difference calculated under Subdivision (1) of this subsection.
Sec. 6.04. MUNICIPALITYS LIABILITY. (a) Except as provided by this section, the municipality may not be held liable or responsible for any claim or asserted claim for benefits under the fund, but all claims shall be paid from the money for which provisions have been made under the terms of the plan and fund.

(b)

The municipality shall pay the pension fund, in the manner provided by Subsection (d) of this section, money in an amount sufficient to offset any negative financial impact to the fund, as determined by the actuary for the fund, caused by a unilateral action taken by the municipality, including a reduction by the municipality in the number of the municipalitys police officers.

(c)

The actuary for the fund, as part of the actuarys actuarial valuation of the fund, shall annually determine whether a reduction in the number of municipal police officers by a municipality had a negative financial impact to the fund.

(d)

If the actuary determines a negative financial impact to the fund has occurred under this section, the municipality shall:

(1)

provide additional funding to the fund in the time frame prescribed for making contribution increases under Section 11.01(b-1) of this Act; and

(2)

continue to provide the funding described by Subdivision (1) of this subsection until the negative impact of the action is eliminated as determined by the actuary for the fund.

(b)

All other assets shall be designated as reserve funds.

(c)

Only the board may invest and manage the reserve funds. The reserve funds must be invested and managed for the sole benefit of the beneficiaries.

(b)

The board may order a bond election. The order calling the election must state the nature and the date of the election, the hours during which the polls will be open, the location of the polling places, the amount of bonds to be authorized, and the maximum maturity of the bonds.

(c)

Notice of a bond election must be given as provided by the Election Code.

(d)

At an election to authorize bonds, the ballot must be printed to provide for voting for or against the issuance of bonds and the levy of property taxes for payment of the bonds.

(e)

The board shall canvass the returns and declare the results of the election. If a majority of the votes cast at the election favor the issuance of the bonds, the bonds may be issued by the board, but if a majority of the votes cast at the election do not favor issuance of the bonds, the bonds may not be issued.
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Last accessed
Oct. 15, 2019