TITLE 45
Towns and Cities

CHAPTER 45-19
Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers

SECTION 45-19-4


§ 45-19-4. Annuities to dependents of deceased police officers and appropriations to nondependent parents of police officers.

(a) If an active or retired member of the police force of a city or town is killed or dies from injuries received while in the performance of his or her duty as a member, or dies of a heart condition or any condition derived from hypertension while still a member, there shall be paid out of the police officer's relief fund of Rhode Island to the following dependents of the deceased person, the following sums of money:

(1) To the widow or widower or domestic partner an annuity not exceeding three thousand six hundred dollars ($3,600) a year, payable in the number of regular installments determined by the board and continuing as long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership and commencing with the date of death but not more than six (6) months prior to the date of filing of the petition by the widow or widower or domestic partner; provided, that if the member died more than six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition then the payments are to commence no sooner than six (6) months prior to the date of petition;

(2) An additional annuity of twelve hundred dollars ($1,200) a year, payable in the number of regular installments determined by the board, for each child of the deceased person during the time that the child is under the age of eighteen (18) years, or over the age and physically or mentally incapacitated from earning. If there is any child and no widow or widower or domestic partner or the widow or widower or domestic partner dies later, the sum and the annuity that would have been payable to the widow or widower or domestic partner had there been one or had he or she lived, to or for the benefit of the child or of the children, in equal shares, during the time previously stated;

(3) If there is any child and the widow or widower or domestic partner remarries or enters in a domestic partnership, in lieu of the previously stated annuity to him or her, an annuity not exceeding twelve hundred dollars ($1,200) to or for the benefit of each child during the time previously stated;

(4) If there is no widow or widower or domestic partner and no child the total sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) payable in a lump sum for the benefit of the father and/or mother of the deceased, if not dependent upon him or her for support at the time of his or her death; and

(5) If there is no widow or widower or domestic partner and no child, the sum of three thousand six hundred dollars ($3,600) payable in regular installments by the board of police officer's relief to or for the benefit of the father or mother of the deceased, if dependent upon him or her for support at the time of his or her death, and commencing with the date of death but not more than six (6) months prior to the date of filing the petition; provided, that if the member died more than six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition then the payments are to commence no sooner than six (6) months prior to the date of the petition and continuing so long as the beneficiary is unable to support himself or herself and does not remarry or enter into a domestic partnership, an annuity not exceeding three thousand six hundred dollars ($3,600) a year, payable in regular installments determined by the board. The amount of the annuity shall, from time to time, be determined within the limits previously stated by the board.

(b) For the purpose of this section the words "police officer" mean and include any active or retired member of the state police or the police of any city or town regularly employed at a fixed salary or wage.

(c) The provisions of this section apply in the case of any dependent receiving benefits in accordance with the provisions of this section as it was in effect prior to April 25, 1960.

(d) The provisions of this section apply in the case of any active or retired police officer who from and after January 1, 1935, was killed or died from injuries received while in the performance of duty, or dies of a heart condition or any condition derived from hypertension.

(e) The amount of the annuity shall not be reduced by reason of receipt of an annuity and/or other payments to any beneficiaries from any other source.

(f) Upon the death of a member, the police chief shall immediately notify the widow or widower or domestic partner of the member by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the widow or widower's or domestic partner's possible eligibility for benefits under this chapter and the time restriction for filing a claim for these benefits.

(g) For purposes of this chapter, "domestic partner" shall be defined as a person who, prior to the decedent's death, was in an exclusive, intimate and committed relationship with the decedent, and who certifies by affidavit that their relationship met the following qualifications:

(1) Both partners were at least eighteen (18) years of age and were mentally competent to contract;

(2) Neither partner was married to anyone else;

(3) Partners were not related by blood to a degree which would prohibit marriage in the state of Rhode Island;

(4) Partners resided together and had resided together for at least one year at the time of death; and

(5) Partners were financially interdependent as evidenced by at least two (2) of the following:

(i) Domestic partnership agreement or relationship contract;

(ii) Joint mortgage or joint ownership of primary residence;

(iii) Two (2) of: (A) joint ownership of motor vehicle; (B) joint checking account; (C) joint credit account; (D) joint lease; and/or

(iv) The domestic partner had been designated as a beneficiary for the decedent's will, retirement contract or life insurance.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1936, ch. 2326, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 351, § 2; P.L. 1944, ch. 1466, § 1; P.L. 1948, ch. 2013, § 1; P.L. 1956, ch. 3766, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 45-19-4; P.L. 1959, ch. 146, § 1; P.L. 1960, ch. 32, §§ 1, 2; P.L. 1961, ch. 86, § 1; P.L. 1961, ch. 155, § 1; P.L. 1969, ch. 84, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 397, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 339, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 406, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 333, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 489, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 363, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 387, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 200, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 273, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 510, § 15.)