Harris: Law will improve retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters

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INDIANAPOLIS – A new law co-sponsored by State Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago) will provide needed increases to retirement and disability benefits for police officers and firefighters across Indiana.

Public Law 146 (Senate Enrolled Act 85)  increases the compensation available to members of the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund, which was established for these public servants and their spouses to help pay for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. The law, which takes full effect July 1, improves both the basic monthly pension benefit to a member of the fund, as well as the benefit paid to a surviving spouse.

“This is the first benefits increase for members of the 1977 Fund since it was established more than 40 years ago,” Harris said. “On average, it would mean a pension increase of more than $1,000 a year.

“These are ladies and gentlemen who have devoted their lives to keeping their communities safe, and I believe the increases included in this new law are more than fair to help support them and their families after they retire,” he added. “Providing proper compensation for our public servants is a commitment that transcends politics, and I was pleased to be a part of a bipartisan coalition that helped get this change enacted into law.”

The law was authored By State Sen. Jon Ford (D-Terre Haute) and sponsored by State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo).

As of 2017, the 1977 Fund had more than 13,500 active members and more than 4,300 retirees, beneficiaries, and disabled members.

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