CFD widow entitled line of duty award but not duty availability
A Chicago fire fighter suffered a duty related injury and was awarded duty disability benefits in 1989. He died in 2000. His spouse sought a widow’s pension as though her husband had died in the line of duty. The court concluded that since the firefighters disability was permanent, he was to be treated as though he had remained on duty and as his spouse was entitled to an enhanced line of duty widow’s pension.
The widow also claimed that the Board did not properly calculate her pension because it had had not included a “duty availability pay” in the base calculation. The Illinois Supreme Court faced whether duty availability pay constituted part of a fireman’s current salary. The court concluded it did not. It held that because duty availability pay was negotiated, it could cease to exist. In that event, a widow such as the plaintiff in this case would be receiving duty availability pay as part of her pension even though no current fire fighter was receiving the pay. Hooker v. Retirement Board 2013 IL 114811 (2013).