Firefighter Disability Pension Determination

Under the Firefighters’ Pension Code, a firefighter is currently entitled to a disability pension if a disability is established by three physicians and such other evidence as the board deems necessary. 40 ILCS 5/4-112. Senate Bill 1553 amends the Pension Code to provide that the three physicians selected by the board do not need to unanimously agree as to the existence of any disability, or the nature and extent of a disability. The amendment also declares that a physical or mental disability that constitutes, in whole or in part, the basis for an application for disability benefits under the Illinois Pension Code, cannot be used by a municipality or fire protection district as cause for a firefighter’s discharge. Rebuttable Presumption for Workers’ Compensation Benefits The Workers’ Compensation Act currently provides benefits for persons whose condition arises out of and in the course of his or her employment. 820 ILCS 305/6. House Bill 928 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act by providing a rebuttable presumption for firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics that the following ailments all arise out of and in the course of employment, and are causally connected to the hazards or exposures of employment.:

  • Blood borne pathogen-related
  • diseases
  • Lung or respiratory diseases
  • or conditions
  • Heart or vascular diseases or
  • conditions
  • Hypertension
  • Tuberculosis; and
  • Cancer

This presumption, however, does not apply to an individual who has been a firefighter, EMT or paramedic for less than five years.

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