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What is the difference between Florida Retirement System Pension & Municipal Pension?

There are a vast amount of differences between the Florida Retirement System, or FRS, and a municipal pension. One of the major differences is whether or not you qualify in order for disability. In order to applicable for a pension disability in FRS, you have to be permanently, totally disabled from all gainful employment, opposed to a municipality pension where you only have to be permanently and totally disabled from that specific specialty, such as a firefighter or a police officer.

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What is the standard to receive Line of Duty Pension?

The standard to receive a line of duty pension depends on which system you're in, whether you're in the FRS system or in the municipality system. Regardless of which system you're in, you have to be at medical maximum improvement, meaning that all procedures, treatment and medications have been offered or utilized, and you're as good as you're going to get. Once you're as good as you're going to get, in order to be eligible for a line of duty disability pension in the FRS system, you must be permanently and totally disabled from all gainful employment. In the municipality system you must be permanently and totally disabled from all useful and efficient service, as either a police officer or a firefighter.

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If I have a heart attack, am I eligible for in line of duty disability pension?

If you have a heart attack, you are eligible for an in line of duty disability pension. You must meet the four criteria. You must be a member of the protected class, you must be a member of the protected condition, you have to have a pre-employment physical with the agency at the time you were hired that shows no evidence of that condition, and you also must have disability in the form of a heart attack in order to qualify for those benefits.

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If I quit my job, does it affect my ability to pursue a Line of Duty Pension?

If you quit your job, and depending upon what system you're in whether you're in FRS or a Municipality Pension, it could affect your ability to pursue a line of duty disability pension. If you are in a municipality system, you must be a member of the eligible class, and to be an eligible class you cannot retire or resign voluntarily until the pension hearing is held.

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Who hears a Pension Hearing? A judge or a magistrate or other?

A pension hearing has three different stages. It has an informal hearing stage, a formal hearing stage, and a court proceeding stage. At the informal and formal stages, both of those proceedings are before a board of trustees or commissioners and usually there's approximately three to nine members of the board that hears the pension case. At the court stage, it is then referred to a judge if both the informal and formal stages are denied.

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What are the benefits of Line of Duty Pension vs. longevity pension?

There are many different options in benefits to both a longevity pension and a line of duty disability pension. One of the most significant differences between the two is that a line of duty disability pension, you are tax-free, meaning that there's no taxes paid on that pension and you can receive it at any time you are eligible or qualified for a line of duty disability pension, opposed to a longevity pension, which is based upon the years of service and accruing certain age limits in order to be able to receive that pension.

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What are Public Safety Officer Benefits?

Public Safety Officer Benefits are benefits that a dependent, meaning a spouse or a child, or any other designee as a dependent are entitled to as a result of an injury or death of a First Responder. Public Safety Officer Benefits can include health insurance, it can include college or educational benefits, and it also can include monetary benefits, but it needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

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What is the difference between State and Federal Public Safety Officer Benefits?

There is a significant different between state and federal benefits, and it's also specified by the specific agency that the individual worked for. Federal benefits are usually a monetary benefit that's payable in a lump sum. State benefits include health insurance, educational benefits. They can include some interim support for the dependent of the individual who passed away.

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What is the Scott Pine Bill?

The Scott Pine Bill is a bill that was enacted when Deputy Jonathon Scott Pine was killed in the line of duty. The bill was enacted and passed beginning July 1st of 2016, retroactive to July 1st of 2013, meaning any officer who was killed in the line of duty beginning in July 1st of 2013, their family, their dependents, their spouse, are entitled to monetary support in the form of the wages that they were earning to assist the family in the in line of duty death.

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If my spouse dies of a heart attack under the Heart Bill, am I entitled to Public Safety Officer Benefits?

Yes, if your spouse dies in Florida under the Heart Bill you are entitled to Public Safety Officer Benefits, both state and federal benefits would be applicable. As long as you meet the coverage criteria, meaning that you're a member of the protected class, protected condition, have a pre-employment physical and have a disability related to that condition.

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Do children of officers killed in the line of duty qualify for Public Safety Officer Benefits?

Yes. Children of officers killed in the line of duty qualify for Public Safety Officer Benefits. They also qualify for benefits that are educational in nature. They qualify for health insurance benefits and they qualify for federal monetary benefits as a result of being a dependent of an individual who was killed in the line of duty.

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What qualifies as a catastrophic injury for Public Safety Officer Benefits?

A catastrophic injury is defined by statute, but it basically entails that you're permanently and totally disabled due to the injury that you suffered in the line of duty, or death as a result of your performance as a First Responder.

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