House passes legislation assisting officers injured in the line of duty

Last Updated on March 1, 2017 by cassnetwork

STATEHOUSE — The Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday that would extend disability benefits to officers severely injured in the line of duty, according to State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo).

House Bill 1617 would expand the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters Pension and Disability Fund and that of sheriff’s pension trusts to include benefits for police, deputies and firefighters who were severely injured in the line of duty and can no longer work. Individuals who qualify for this severe disability compensation would receive a monthly salary equal to that of a first class patrolman or firefighter.

“This bill aims to help police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters who have quite literally given everything they have in the line of duty to serve their fellow Hoosiers,” said VanNatter, co-author of the bill. “It’s important that we take care of those first responders who can no longer work because of the sacrifices they made for us.”

According to VanNatter, there are currently only benefits for the families of local law enforcement and firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. This bill would ensure that those officers and firefighters that were permanently disabled while on duty will also be compensated for their service and sacrifice

The 1977 Fund was established to pay pension, disability and survivor benefits to eligible public safety officers and their survivors.  The fund consists of member contributions (police and firefighters), employer contributions and earnings. VanNatter said although the state takes great care of the families that have lost a public safety officer in the line of duty, the same cannot be said for individuals who are catastrophically injured while on the job.

All those who were injured after July 1, 2008, would be eligible for this disability compensation.

The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

SOURCE: News release from the Office of Representative Heath VanNatter.

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38, which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton Counties.