ARTICLE 2 - FIREMEN PENSIONS AND DEATH BENEFITS
 
15-5-201.  Definitions.
 
(a)  As used in this article:
 
(i)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(ii)  "Benefit unit" means each of the following:
 
(A)  Each paid fireman;
 
(B)  Each person receiving a monthly pension under W.S. 15-5-204;
 
(C)  Each person receiving a disability pension under W.S. 15-5-204;
 
(D)  Each account of a deceased or retired fireman from which monthly pension payments are being made to any person under W.S. 15-5-205 and 15-5-206.
 
(iii)  "Compensation Act" means the Wyoming Worker's Compensation Act, W.S. 27-14-101 through 27-14-806;
 
(iv)  "Fireman first class" means the highest salary grade which a fireman can obtain within his department without any promotion in rank.  The term specifically excludes chiefs, officers, engineers, fire equipment operators, secretaries, mechanics, inspectors and all other specialized grades, ratings and ranks;
 
(v)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(vi)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(vii)  Repealed By Laws 2009, Ch. 90, § 3.
 
(viii)  "Injured, disabled or killed in the line of duty" means that a paid or volunteer fireman is injured or disabled when he meets with bodily or mental injury while actually engaged in the repair, upkeep or care of fire apparatus, or in the performance of duties prescribed in the maintenance and operation of a fire department;
 
(ix)  "Maximum monthly salary of a fireman first class" means the gross monthly salary of a fireman first class, including the greatest longevity or additional monthly salary increase for length of service, as established by the city, town or county which employed the retired, disabled or deceased paid fireman, and including contributions required by W.S. 15-5-203;
 
(x)  "Minimum annual cash requirement of the account" means the amount of cash needed to meet the known required disbursements from the firemen's pension account during the upcoming fiscal year, reduced by the anticipated cash account balance of the firemen's pension account on hand at the end of the current fiscal year;
 
(xi)  "Paid fireman" means an individual regularly employed and paid by any city, town, county or fire protection district for devoting his entire time of employment to the care, operation and requirements of a regularly constituted fire department;
 
(xii)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(xiii)  "Twenty years active service" means that an individual's principal means of livelihood for twenty (20) years has been employment by one (1) or more cities, towns, counties or fire protection districts as a member of a regularly constituted fire department and that the individual has been carried on the payrolls thereof for that period of time;
 
(xiv)  "Volunteer fireman" means an individual who devotes less than his entire time of employment to, but who is carried on the rolls of a regularly constituted fire department, the members of which may be partly paid and partly volunteer.  Payment of compensation for services actually rendered by enrolled volunteers does not take them out of this classification.  Any individual who volunteers assistance but is not regularly enrolled as a fireman is not a volunteer within the meaning of this article;
 
(xv)  "Board" means the retirement board created by W.S. 9-3-404;
 
(xvi)  "Employer" means any incorporated municipality, county or fire protection district offering fire protection or public safety services employing one (1) or more members.
 
15-5-202.  Pension account; creation; administration; donations; investment; dual participation prohibited.
 
(a)  There is created a firemen's pension account for the purpose of paying the awards, benefits and pensions under the provisions of this article. The account shall be administered by the board through the director.  The board has full custody and control of the account with full power over its administration.  The director of the state department of audit or his designee shall make a biennial audit of the account and the receipts thereto and disbursements therefrom and report his findings to the governor and the legislature.  The account shall be administered without liability on the part of the state beyond the amount of the funds.  All expenses of administration shall be paid from the account.
 
(b)  Repealed By Laws 1997, ch. 69, § 2.
 
(c)  The board is empowered to:
 
(i)  Receive and credit to the account any and all gifts, donations and contributions as may be made by individuals and organizations for the benefit of the account;
 
(ii)  Invest all account monies not immediately necessary for disbursements in any of the securities and in any amounts authorized by W.S. 9-3-408.
 
(d)  No paid fireman shall participate as a member of the firemen's pension account established under this article and as a member of the volunteer firefighter and EMT pension account established under W.S. 35-9-616 through 35-9-628 if participation is based upon covered service with the same fire department.
 
15-5-203.  Firemen and employer contributions; imposition at discretion of board; amounts; how and when collected, suspended and reinstated.
 
(a)  In addition to the amount appropriated to the firemen's pension account by W.S. 15-5-202, every paid fireman may, at the discretion of the board, be assessed not more than eight percent (8%) of his gross monthly salary for the use and benefit of the account, up to the maximum monthly salary of a fireman first class.  Any salary assessment imposed under this subsection shall be withheld monthly from his salary by the treasurer or other disbursing officer of the city, town or county.
 
(b)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(c)  Repealed by Laws 1981, ch. 41, § 3.
 
(d)  Upon a determination by the board in accordance with subsection (g) of this section, every employer shall pay into the account for each paid fireman it employs an amount not to exceed twenty-one percent (21%) of the salary of a fireman first class.  Any contributions imposed under this subsection, together with the paid firemen's contributions, shall be transferred and credited to the account in a manner as the board directs.  If the contributions are not transferred to the board when due, they may be recovered, together with interest at the rate of ten percent (10%) per annum in an action brought for that purpose in the district court for the county in which the employer has its principal office.
 
(e)  The contributions required by subsection (a) of this section shall be paid by the employer for paid firemen covered under this article in order to be treated as employer contributions for the sole purpose of determining tax treatment under the United States internal revenue code.
 
(f)  The contributions under subsection (e) of this section shall be paid from the source of funds which is used in paying salary to paid firemen covered under this article.  The employer may pay these contributions by a reduction in cash salary of the paid firemen or by an offset against a future salary increase, or by a combination of a reduction in salary and an offset against a future salary increase, provided:
 
(i)  No such salary reduction or offset, or combination thereof, shall exceed the percentage amount actually being deducted from an employee's salary for contributions to the firemen's pension account as of July 1, 1983; and
 
(ii)  Any employer may pay any amount of an employee's share of retirement contributions without a salary reduction or offset, or combination thereof.
 
(g)  Based upon findings and recommendations of the Wyoming retirement system actuary, the board shall determine if contributions under subsections (a) and (d) of this section are necessary for the continued payment of benefits under this article.  Any contributions imposed by the board upon paid firemen and employers shall bear the ratio provided for the maximum contribution rates authorized under subsections (a) and (d) of this section.  If contributions are reinstated at any time following suspension of contributions, the board shall provide notice of reinstated contributions to firemen and employers not less than six (6) months prior to the date of imposition.
 
15-5-204.  Pensions; amounts; qualifications; when paid; disability benefits; disqualifications; examinations; disallowance; actions; adjustment.
 
(a)  Any person qualifying may retire from active service and receive a monthly pension of seventy-five percent (75%) of the maximum monthly salary of a fireman first class. Any benefit increases which may occur shall not subsequently be withdrawn. This benefit accrues to any paid fireman who has completed twenty (20) years of active service in regularly constituted fire departments of any cities, towns, counties or fire protection districts and to any paid fireman suffering from a mental or physical disability rendering him unfit for active duty. Any paid fireman covered under this article may continue service beyond twenty (20) years and receive an additional benefit of one and one-half percent (1.5%) of the maximum salary of a fireman first class for each year of service beyond twenty (20) years.
 
(b)  Any fireman with less than ten (10) years of service upon terminating his employment for any reason shall receive in a lump sum a refund of all the money he has contributed to the firemen's pension account. Refund of such contributions extinguishes all rights to any benefits under this article.
 
(c)  After ten (10) years as a full time paid fireman, any fireman upon terminating his employment for any reason may have his choice of:
 
(i)  A refund, in a lump sum, of all the money he has contributed into the firemen's pension account, less one-half percent (1/2%) for bookkeeping costs; or
 
(ii)  Upon the twentieth anniversary of the date of his employment as a full time paid fireman he may draw a monthly pension computed as follows:
 
Number of years service x 75% of the maximum
 
monthly salary of a fireman first class
 
_______________
 
20
 
(d)  No fireman is entitled to draw a disability pension if the primary cause of the mental or physical disability which renders him unfit for active duty is alcoholism, substance abuse or addiction or an injury incurred as a result of the commission of a crime of a voluntary nature, or a mental or physical condition which existed at the time of his employment.
 
(e)  The board may require firemen applying for or drawing a disability pension to submit periodically to a physical or mental examination by a physician it selects and to furnish relevant information it requests. If the physician's report, or other evidence available to the board, shows that the fireman is not qualified for the disability pension, or that he is fit for active duty, the board shall disallow or discontinue the payment of the monthly disability pension. Examining physicians selected by the board shall be paid from the account in accordance with existing worker's compensation schedules for examinations.
 
(f)  Any applicant or beneficiary of the firemen's pension account aggrieved by a disallowance or discontinuance of pension benefits has a right to commence an action in the district court of the county in which the applicant resides, naming the board, as custodian of the firemen's pension account, as the party defendant, to have his rights to pension benefits determined before a judge of the district court.
 
(g)  Any pension benefit, survivor benefit or disability benefit received by an eligible individual under this article, and the fireman for whom the benefit is generated has been retired for a period of not less than one (1) year, shall be increased each year by at least three percent (3%). In the event the most current actuarial valuation indicates the market value of assets is greater than one hundred fifteen percent (115%) of the actuarial value of liabilities, the board may increase the benefit by an amount determined affordable by the actuary, but in no case shall the total increase be greater than five percent (5%) of the benefit. Any increase under this subsection shall be added to the pension benefit, survivor benefit or disability benefit and compounded for purposes of determining the total benefit amount in subsequent years.
 
(h)  The board shall adopt rules to allow service for any period of time, after commencement of participation under this article, which an employee spends in active military or other emergency service of the United States as required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.
 
15-5-205.  Death benefits to surviving spouse; amounts; limitations; length of payments.
 
(a)  If any paid fireman dies from any cause, the board shall pay to the surviving spouse a monthly pension equal to the greater of the monthly benefit payable to the fireman under W.S. 15-5-204 or the monthly benefit payable under W.S. 15-5-204(a) for twenty (20) years of active service. Benefits payable under this subsection shall be paid out of the firemen's pension account and shall continue for the spouse's life.
 
(b)  If the fireman is a retired fireman drawing his pension at the time of his death, the board shall pay to the surviving spouse a monthly pension equal to the monthly benefit payable to the fireman under W.S. 15-5-204. Benefits payable under this subsection shall be paid out of the firemen's pension account and shall continue for the spouse's life.
 
(c)  Repealed By Laws 2001, Ch. 36, § 2.
 
15-5-206.  Death benefits to dependent father and mother; amounts.
 
If any paid fireman dies, leaving no surviving spouse or children, but leaves a surviving dependent father or mother or both, the board shall pay to the mother if there is no father, to the father if there is no mother or to both, out of the firemen's pension account, a monthly amount equal to the pension the retired fireman was receiving if retired at the time of his death, or if in active service at the time of death, a monthly amount equal to the greater of the monthly benefit payable to the fireman under W.S. 15-2-204 at the time of his death or the monthly benefit payable under W.S. 15-2-204(a) for twenty (20) years of active service. If either the surviving mother or father dies after the payments have started, the board shall pay to the surviving parent the full amount as computed under this section.
 
15-5-207.  Application for benefits; statement filed; determination; review; appeal.
 
If any fireman, his surviving spouse, dependent children or dependent parents are entitled to any pension or benefits under this article, the fireman, or in the event of his death, the chief of the fire department of which he was a member, or some other proper person, shall apply by filing a complete and concise statement of the facts necessary to entitle the fireman or the fireman's surviving spouse or children or parents to the benefits or pension. The application shall be filed with the board upon forms it provides. The board is empowered to investigate the application and determine whether or not it should be granted and to hear evidence as to the justice of the application, or to require and receive affidavits as to the truth of the statements made in the application. If the application is refused, the matter may be taken, by petition, before the district court of the county in which the applicant resides. The court shall notify the board of the date set for hearing. The decision of the district court is binding upon the board and applicant unless appealed from according to the procedure provided under the Worker's Compensation Act.
 
15-5-208.  Pension application; payments thereafter; when benefits suspended.
 
Application for pension may be made prior to actual retirement upon statement of the intention to retire, but payment shall not begin until the applicant has actually retired and his name is stricken from the payroll of the city or town. No fireman or any of his survivors is entitled to any of the benefits of this article while the fireman or his survivors are receiving payments under the Worker's Compensation Act, but when the payments under the Worker's Compensation Act terminate, his or their rights to the benefits of this article attach. Any fireman who is entitled to the benefits of insurance paid for from the general fund of any city or town is not entitled to any of the benefits of this article until the insurance payments cease.
 
15-5-209.  Payments; when and how made; protections; nonassignability; qualified domestic relations order.
 
(a)  Payments made under this article shall be made to the beneficiaries on or before the fifth day of each month and shall be made by voucher approved by the board or its designee drawn against the firemen's pension account and paid by the board out of the account. No payments made under this article are subject to judgment, attachment, execution, garnishment or other legal process and are not assignable nor shall the board recognize any assignment nor pay over any sum assigned.
 
(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, payments under this article may be made in accordance with qualified domestic relations orders pursuant to W.S. 9-3-426.
 
15-5-210.  Repealed By Laws 1996, ch. 6, § 2.