Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Police and Firefighters Retirement and Relief Board
The purpose of this chapter is to establish rules and procedures for the efficient and uniform administration of retirement, disability, and annuity eligibility determinations pursuant to the Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act, approved September 1, 1916 (39 Stat. 718: D.C. Code § 5-701 et seq.) for eligible members and retired members of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division and the United States Secret Service.
There are currently no active issuances for this chapter.
|2500||Rules and Procedure; Purpose|
|2504||Service of Papers, Methods, Proof|
|2505||Evidentiary Hearings; Notice|
|2512||Transcript of Hearing|
|2513||Maintenance of Decorum and Good Order|
|2514||Consideration of Cases by the Board, Except for D.C. Police Officers and Firefighters Hired After February 15, 1980|
|2515||Disability Annuity Determinations|
|2516||Appearance by Persons Applying for Retirement|
|2517||Appearance by Applicants for Relief|
|2518||Examination of Records|
|2519||Annual Medical Examination of Retired Annuitant|
|2520||Notarized Income Statement|
|2521||Cessation of Annuity|
|2522||Retirement Board Action|
|2523||Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law|
|2525||Motion to Amend an Order or Decision|
2500.1 The purpose of this chapter is to establish rules and procedures for the efficient and uniform administration of retirement, disability, and annuity eligibility determinations pursuant to the Policemen and Firemen’s Retirement and Disability Act, approved September 1, 1916 (39 Stat. 718: D.C. Code § 5-701 et seq.) for eligible members and retired members of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division and the United States Secret Service.
2501.1 As provided by law, the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board shall be composed of the following members:
2501.2 In addition to the Board members and alternates to the Board designated by the Mayor, in all cases of retirement, disability, or other relief involving a member of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division or the United States Secret Service, a Board member and alternate of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division or the United States Secret Service, as designated by the Director of the United States Secret Service, as appropriate, shall sit as a member of the Board.
2501.3 The Board member appointed by the Mayor from the D.C. Department of Human Resources shall serve as the Chair of the Board, and the alternate Board member appointed by the Mayor from the D.C. Department of Human Resources shall serve as the Alternate Chair of the Board.
2501.4 In the absence of the Chair and Alternate Chair(s), the Board member or alternate appointed from the Office of the Attorney General shall serve as an Acting Chair.
2501.5 For any matter requiring the vote of the full Board, a quorum shall consist of any five (5) Board members or designated alternates, provided that one (1) of the five (5) present shall be the Chair, Alternate Chair, or Acting Chair.
2501.6 The Board shall hold hearings and Executive Session meetings on Thursdays or on any other day as scheduled by the Board.
2501.7 The Chair or the Board may --in their discretion, for good cause shown, and in the interest of justice or to prevent hardship -- waive any of the provisions of these rules in any proceeding.
2502.1 Unless otherwise provided, the rules set forth in this chapter are applicable to all survivor benefits eligibility, retirement, and disability proceedings before the Board.
2502.2 Nothing in these rules shall preclude the Board from issuing any orders the Board deems necessary to carry out its duties efficiently. However, in the case of a conflict between these rules and a Board order, these rules shall control.
2502.3 If no procedure is specifically prescribed by an order of the Board or these rules, the District of Columbia Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure shall control, to the extent practicable.
2503.1 The Board has jurisdiction to consider any of the following:
2503.2 The Chair may decide routine applications for optional retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and procedural matters on the Board’s behalf without a vote of the full Board. However, benefits decisions relating to members and survivors of the United States Secret Service shall be made with the concurrence of a Board member or alternate Board member designated by the Director of the United States Secret Service.
2504.1 All written communications by parties pertaining to a particular case before the Board shall be filed with the Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board through the D.C. Department of Human Resources at the agency’s address specified at https://dchr.dc.gov.
2504.2 Unless otherwise provided by statute or regulation, any written communication may be filed with the Board in-person, by mail, by email, by commercial carrier, or by any other additional means authorized by order of the Board.
2504.3 All written communications filed with the Board pertaining to a particular case shall be sent to the attention of the Chair.
2504.4 Any written communications with the Board concerning a particular case shall reference the assigned docket number. Copies of any written communications filed with the Board shall be furnished to all other parties or their representatives of record, and the filing shall demonstrate compliance with this requirement.
2504.5 Except as provided in § 2504.6, all written communications from the Board shall be by email.
2504.6 When the addressee is a non-District government employee who does not have an email account or whose service by the supplied email address is unsuccessful, service shall be made by first-class mail.
2504.7 The Board may serve any written communication by first-class mail at the request of any party.
2504.8 The Board may substitute any commercial carrier for first-class mail and may, in its discretion, supplement any email communications with printed copies by first-class mail or commercial carrier.
2505.1 Certification of disability retirement benefits shall be afforded an evidentiary hearing before the Board, unless this right is affirmatively waived in writing. The Board may decide all other matters based on the evidence in the case record without an evidentiary hearing.
2505.2 In the absence of a specific request by a member, former member, or applicant for a public hearing, evidentiary hearings and other proceedings before the Board shall not be open to the public.
2505.3 Applications or recommendations for retirement, continued eligibility, or relief may be considered at the earliest possible time following their date of submission to the Board.
2505.4 Persons whose cases are scheduled to be heard by the Board shall be notified of the date, time, and location at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance of the hearing, except that thirty (30) calendar days' advance notice shall be given in the case of a hearing on the retiree's continued eligibility for disability annuity payments. Any person whose case is to be heard by the Board may waive the advance notice requirement, in writing, if they so desire.
2505.5 A hearing scheduled to be conducted by the Board shall not be delayed by a motion for a continuance unless the motion is made at least seven (7) calendar days before the date on which the hearing is scheduled to be held, excluding Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays, and, in the opinion of the Chair, or their designee, the motion sets forth good and sufficient cause for the continuance.
2505.6 Whenever the Board takes testimony during a hearing, the witness shall provide their testimony under oath or affirmation administered by the Chair, Alternate Chair or Acting Chair.
2508.1 A member, former member, or applicant appearing before the Board at a hearing shall have the right to be represented by an attorney or a non-legal representative of their own choosing and at their own expense.
2508.2 If it appears to the Board that the issues or facts in the matter before it are so involved or intricate that, in the interest of justice, conservation of time, or facilitating the preparation of an adequate record, a member, former member, or applicant should be represented by an attorney, the Board may urge the member, former member, or applicant to procure the services of any attorney; and, if agreeable with the member, former member, or applicant, the Board shall allow them a reasonable period of time in which to do so.
2508.3 The Board shall, in any case in which a member, former member, or applicant represents themselves, or is represented by a non-legal representative, take such action as may reasonably be necessary to ensure that all information material to the case be developed to the fullest extent possible, commensurate with the Board's function of sitting as an impartial body.
2508.4 During any evidentiary hearing, the Board may be represented by an attorney, or by a non-legal representative who is an employee of the D.C. Department of Human Resources.
2508.5 Members, former members, applicants, expert witnesses, and other persons giving testimony before the Board shall have questions directed to them first by the Board’s representative (if any), members of the Board, then followed by the member, former member, applicants, or their counsel or representatives, or as may otherwise be determined.
2510.1 The Board, on its own initiative or upon written request of an applicant, retiree, or his or her designated representative, may issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to appear and testify or to produce records, papers, books or other documents with regard to matters within the jurisdiction of the Board.
2510.2 Any applicant, retiree, or his or her designated representative requesting issuance of a subpoena shall be responsible for the service thereof.
2510.3 All requests shall be in writing and shall specify with particularity the testimony desired, the records, papers, books, or other documents, and the facts expected to be proven thereby.
2510.4 The Board may determine the relevancy or materiality of any proposed testimony, records, papers, books, or other documents prior to the issuance of a subpoenas.
2510.5 Subpoenas shall be issued in the name of the Board.
2510.6 Witnesses, other than those employed by the District of Columbia Government, shall be entitled to the same fees as are paid witnesses for attendance before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, although not required to be tendered in advance.
2510.7 Subpoenas shall be enforceable in the manner-prescribed in §4-603, D.C. Code, 1981 ed., to the same extent as subpoenas of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
2510.8 Subpoenas shall be signed by the Chairperson for the Board.
2511.1 Evidence shall be taken in conformity with §§1-1509(b) and 4-525, D.C. Code, 1981 ed.
2511.2 All medical information shall be received by the Board at least fifteen (15) days prior to the date of the hearing to allow for an evaluation by the Board of Police and Fire Surgeons. All other information, documents, data, and relevant material shall be received by the Board at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing.
2512.1 Hearings shall be recorded under the supervision of the Board.
2513.1 Decorum and good order shall be maintained at all times during hearings, and the Chairperson may, in the enforcement thereof, exclude or have removed from the hearing room any person violating any reasonable order of the Chairperson.
2513.2 Attorneys and other representatives may, for contumacious conduct, after having been afforded an opportunity to be heard thereon, be barred from further participation in a proceeding.
2514.1 This section shall apply to consideration of cases by the Board, .except for D.C. Police Officers.
2514.2 In considering the cases presented to the Board, the Board shall do the following:
2515.1 This section shall apply to matters involving members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, who were hired after February 15, 1980.
2515.2 Any disability annuity shall be determined by a formula: A minus B divided by A, equals C, and C multiplied by D equals E, given the following:
2515.3 The Labor Market Survey shall take the member’s injury or disease into account through Physical Demand Codes prepared by the Board of Surgeons, or Temperament Codes prepared by the Behavioral Health Services section of the Board of Surgeons. The Labor Market Survey shall also take into account the following factors:
2515.4 The positions listed within the Labor Market Survey shall exist in the open labor market in the Washington metropolitan statistical area for employment to be deemed available.
2515.5 The Board shall examine each position in the Labor Market Survey and decide as to whether the member can occupy the position listed based on the factors listed in § 2515.4.
2515.6 There shall be an assumption that all positions listed in the Labor Market Survey will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and similar legislation, and will provide reasonable accommodations to an individual with the member’s physical or mental condition.
2515.7 Once the percentage of disability has been determined by the Board’s final decision, and the member has exhausted all available appeals, the percentage of disability shall not be changed except in the following circumstances:
2515.8 A member, under the age of fifty (50), who was retired for injuries or illnesses not incurred in the performance of duty pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 5-709, shall not be entitled to an increased annuity on the basis of a worsening condition.
2516.1 Each person appearing before the Board for retirement consideration shall be given full opportunity to present the testimony under oath or affirmation, and to produce the witnesses to give testimony under oath or affirmation, as he or she may desire, subject to the limitations contained in §2510 of this chapter.
2516.2 Appearances before the Retirement Board shall be made in person unless the Board of Surgeons presents medical testimony or evidence, to the satisfaction of the Board, that the person is unable to appear because of the extreme severity of his or her physical or mental condition.
2516.3 The Board may, in the circumstances cited in §2516.2, either consider the case in the member's absence, on the basis of the medical findings presented by the Board of Surgeons, and any other pertinent information submitted by the member or contained in his or her records, or visit and examine the member at the place that is reasonably convenient to visit or cause to have him or her examined by an approved medical expert nearby.
2516.4 Applications for optional retirement shall be considered by the Board on the basis of the following:
2516.5 Applicants for optional retirement shall not be required to make a personal appearance before the Board but may be so required at the Board's discretion. However, those who express a desire to appear before the Board, personally, may do so.
2517.1 In lieu of personally appearing before the Board, individuals applying for relief for themselves and/or on behalf of surviving children shall furnish to the Board satisfactory evidence of their identity, marriage, birth, and legal responsibility for the children, and student status of the children, when appropriate, at the time of the death of a member.
2517.2 With respect to the application for the lump sum payment benefit, provided in cases of performance-of-duty death, evidence of dependency, including the cost of care and portion paid by deceased member, shall also be furnished.
2517.3 The Board shall consider applications for relief from the documented evidence furnished but may, in its discretion, require any individual(s) making the application to personally appear before it.
2517.4 In considering applications for the lump sum payment benefit, the Board shall also consider the investigative report of the circumstances regarding the death involved. An appropriate official of the department or agency concerned shall personally present the report to the Board. The official shall be someone other than the member or alternate member serving the Board at the time the application is being considered.
2517.5 Any applicant for relief, who expresses a desire to do so, may personally appear before the Board.
2518.1 Any applicant for retirement, or retiree ordered before the Board for review of continued disability annuity payments, or his or her representative, shall be permitted to see and examine his or her service and sick records, investigative reports, the transcript of the record of previous hearings, if any, or any other documents pertinent to his or her case.
2518.2 If the applicant for retirement has knowledge of any other paper or document contained in the file kept by his or her department or agency, and desires its production before the Retirement Board at the time of hearing, he or she shall give written notice, at least seven (7) full days before the date of the hearing, excluding Saturdays, Sundays or legal Holidays, expressing the desire and designation of the particular paper or document to the head of the department or agency.
2518.3 The department or agency shall be required to produce the requested paper(s) or document(s) and make it available at the time of the hearing.
2518.4 The Board shall, subject to the restrictions governing disclosure of information, receive or reject the paper(s) or document(s) as evidence.
2518.5 The examination of these records by the applicant or his or her attorney or representative shall be permitted during the regular office hours of any regular work day.
2518.6 If the applicant does not appear personally to make the examination, his or her attorney or representative shall present a written authorization from the applicant requesting permission to make the examination in his or her place.
2519.1 Each annuitant retired for disability shall appear before the Board of Surgeons, or before a medical specialist approved by the Board of Surgeons, at least once every year until he or she shall have reached the age of fifty (50) years, for a medical examination of the disability for which he or she was retired, to determine his or her current physical and/or mental condition, unless excused from the examination by order of the Board.
2519.2 The Board shall receive all medical and psychiatric reports through and from the Board of Surgeons and, upon review of the reports and recommendations made by the Board of Surgeons, determine the current status of the annuitant's disability and make a decision as to the disposition of the case.
2519.3 The Board may, in its discretion and in order to assist it in making a fair and just determination, require any disabled annuitant to report to the Board of Surgeons or to an outside medical consultant for an examination of the disability for which he or she was retired. Expenses incurred by an annuitant reporting to an outside consultant at the direction of the Board shall not-be borne by the annuitant.
2519.4 In making the necessary determination with regard to the continuation of retirement eligibility of an annuitant the Board shall consider the written opinion and recommendation submitted to it by the Board of Surgeons concerning the annuitant's current physical and mental condition together with any other pertinent reports or records.
2519.5 An annuitant may not be required to appear before the Board in person but may be so required at the Board's discretion.
2519.6 If the Board finds there is sufficient evidence that the annuitant has recovered from the disability for which he or she retired, then the annuitant may be required to appear before the Board for a hearing. The expenses incurred by the appearance shall be borne by the annuitant.
2520.1 Each retired annuitant under the age of fifty (50) shall file annually with the Board a notarized statement of employment and income on forms provided, or in format suggested by the Board, and shall execute a release, on a form provided by the Board for that purpose, authorizing the Board to obtain the annuitant's federal income tax returns or information contained therein from the Internal Revenue Service.
2520.2 Information received shall be kept confidential and shall only be used to determine the retiree's continued eligibility for disability annuity payments and shall not be redisseminated unless the retiree's prior written permission is received.
2520.3 All information received pertaining to an annuitant's employment and income shall be considered in determining earning capacity.
2520.4 Any annuitant who is retired under §4-615 or §4-616, D.C. Code (1981), and who prior to his or her retirement was an officer or member of the D.C. Metropolitan Protective Service, or the Secret Service Division, shall upon request by the Board, submit to the Board a notarized statement containing such information as may be required with respect to the gross income received from wages or self-employment, or both, as follows:
2520.5 After examining and evaluating information or statement submitted by any retired annuitant, the Board may require the annuitant to submit further notarized statement(s) containing additional information with respect to the income received from wages or self-employment, or both, as the Board deems appropriate.
2520.6 In the event a retired annuitant fails to submit the statement required or willfully furnishes materially false information, or when the statements raise a question of the annuitant's continued eligibility for disability annuity payments, the Board shall schedule a hearing on the matter.
2521.1 Uniform enforcement for noncompliance with §2520 shall be applicable to all retirees, with respect to submission of notarized income statements. Any annuitant who is retired on disability under §4-615 or §4-616, D.C. Code 1981 ed., who willfully furnishes materially false information with respect to his or her income in any statement required to be submitted to the Board under §2520 shall forfeit all rights to continued disability annuity.
2521.2 For any annuitant who refuses or otherwise willfully fails to timely submit a statement required by §2520, payment of the annuity to the annuitant shall cease and the annuitant shall not be eligible to receive the annuity or any part thereof for the period beginning on the date after the final day for timely filing of the statement and ending on the date on which the Board receives the statement.
2521.3 For any annuitant who is retired on disability under §4-615 or §4-616, D.C. Code 1981 ed., who refuses or otherwise fails to undergo the medical examination required by §2520, payment of annuity shall cease and the annuitant shall not be eligible to receive annuity or any part thereof for any period commencing on the day following the day on which the annuitant was required to undergo examination, and ending on the date on which the annuitant undergoes examination.
2522.1 The effective date for all actions regarding retirement and relief shall be determined by the Board pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 96-122 and the consideration of the evidence of record. When a decision is reached as to the disposition of a matter, the Board members present shall indicate their decision by signing the report of action.
2522.2 Each vote shall be final unless there is a reconsideration of the case in executive session; Provided, that no decision shall be final until a written order giving effect to the Board's decision is signed by the Chairperson.
2522.3 The Board shall reinstate an annuitant's annuity, lost for exceeding the eighty percent (80%) income limitation, effective January 1 of the year following the calendar year in which the annuity was lost, if the annuitant has submitted to the Board a notarized statement containing such information which demonstrates that the annuitant's income from wages and/or self-employment is less than eighty percent (80%) of the current rate of compensation of the position last occupied at the time of retirement.
2522.4 If an annuitant refuses or fails to timely submit the necessary income information or supporting financial data pursuant to §2522.3, the annuity shall not be reestablished until such date as the Board has received all necessary information.
2523.1 A written decision with accompanying findings of fact and conclusions of law shall be prepared by the D.C. Office of Personnel, subject to review by the Corporation Counsel.
2523.2 A copy of the decision along with the final order shall be served upon the member, office, or retired annuitant.
2523.3 The formal order giving effect to the Board's decision shall be prepared for the signature of the Chairperson.
2523.4 Copies of the order shall be distributed to the employing department or agency, the applicant or annuitant, the accounting officer, and other involved offices.
2523.5 The original of all orders issued by the Retirement Board shall be retained by the Director of Personnel as the official record of the Board's action.
2524.1 Upon proper written application of an officer or member, other, than an officer or member not eligible for retirement, where it can be shown that delay in entering a retirement order will adversely affect the member, the Board may issue an interim order effecting a retirement.
2524.2 An interim order shall not become final, for purposes of a petition for reconsideration or an appeal, until the written decision is issued by the Board and served upon the member.
2525.1 A member, former member, or applicant may ask the Board to amend any of its orders or decisions by filing a motion within ten (10) work days after the issuance of the order or decision. The motion must be in writing and clearly articulate the reasons relief is sought, the grounds relied upon for requesting the relief, and the specific amendments sought.
2525.2 The Board, upon motion or upon its own initiative, may alter or amend a final order or decision when there is:
2525.3 Neither the filing nor the granting of a motion for an amendment shall operate as a stay unless specifically ordered by the Board.
2525.4 A stay shall be granted only under unusual or exceptional circumstances and when the member, former member, or applicant will likely prevail on the motion.
2525.5 The Board may permit or require oral arguments for any motion to alter or amend an order or decision.
2599.1 When used in this chapter, the following meanings apply:
Applicant – an individual seeking death benefits or survivor benefits.
Board – the Police and Firefighters Retirement and Relief Board.
Board of Surgeons – the PFC Associates, LLC (Police & Fire Clinic), or its successor(s).
Disability – any actual or presumed reduction in or absence of ability to engage in gainful activity which is caused in whole or in part by an impairment, i.e., economic disability.
Impairment – any anatomic or functional abnormality or loss, i.e., physical impairment.
Member – a uniformed employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the United States Park Police, or United States Secret Service Uniform Division or agent of the United States Secret Service who is eligible for or has made contributions to the District of Columbia Police Officers and Firefighters' Retirement Plan.
Parties – the member, former member, or applicant for benefits or relief, and the applicable department (such as the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the United States Park Police, or the United States Secret Service).
Wage-earning capacity – the ability to engage in gainful activity.
The following D.C. Register citations identify when a given section(s) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, was amended. Following the publication in the D.C. Register of subsequent final rulemaking notices, this Addendum will be updated accordingly. For the convenience of Electronic-DPM (E-DPM) readers, the Addendum identifies amendments on a section-bysection basis, and provides brief comments on the amendment(s) accomplished.
|D.C. Register Date||Section(s)||Comments|
|TBD||2500 through 2509, 2515, 2525 through 2527, 2599||Section 2500 is replaced with a new section titled “Rules and Procedure; Purpose”, that provides a brief overview of the purpose behind the Board’s procedural rules. Section 2501 is replaced with a new section titled “The Board” and incorporates the content previously found in sections 2500 and 2502. The adopted rule also updates agency names, clarifies the composition of the Board and removes the specific place and time the Board meets to allow for greater flexibility. Section 2502 is replaced with a new section titled “Applicability”. This amendment outlines when these rules apply and allows the Board to issue rules by orders or look to the D.C. Superior Court Civil Rules for guidance in the absence of a specific rule. Section 2503 is replaced with a new section titled “Jurisdiction”. This amendment incorporates the prior subsection 2501.1 and authorizes the Chair to decide applications for optional retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and other procedural matters. Section 2504 is replaced with a new section titled “Service of Papers, Methods, Proof”. This amendment incorporates former section 2505 and updates the way communications must be served to the Board and to parties. Section 2505 is replaced with a new section titled “Evidentiary Hearings; Notice”. This updated rule combines several rules relating to evidentiary hearings previously found at sections 2506 through 2509, with minimal updates. Sections 2506, 2507, and 2509 are repealed. Section 2508 is replaced with a new section titled “Representation”. This amendment incorporates what was former section 2503 and updates the rule to explicitly allow the Board to be represented by a DCHR employee at evidentiary hearings, as is the current practice. Section 2515 is renamed “Disability Annuity Determination” and amended to clarify the way in which the Board determines disability annuities for members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department who were hired after February 15, 1980. Section 2525 is amended by eliminating the current “petition for reconsideration” practice and replacing it with language consistent with motions to alter or amend orders or decisions, consistent with D.C. Superior Court Civil Rule 59(e). The procedures and grounds for altering or amending an order or decision are consolidated into a single rule (2525). Therefore, sections 2526 and 2527 are repealed. Section 2599 is amended by updating the definitions for Board and Board of Surgeons while also including new definitions for the terms Applicant, Member, and Parties.|