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County Retirement Plan board mulls change in benefit rules

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Detective Micah Flick was killed Feb. 5. - COURTESY EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Detective Micah Flick was killed Feb. 5.

The El Paso County Retirement Plan board is studying whether to change rules on when vested members' survivors can receive monthly benefits. Currently, family members must wait until the person who died would have qualified for retirement benefits.

The issue stems from the shooting death of Sheriff's Office Deputy Micah Flick, who was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 5. His family has to wait more than 20 years to get a monthly pension check. Pension board chair Mark Lowderman says the board will resume discussion of the matter on March 19.

"We just want to make sure it's well vetted for everyone involved, the plan and employees," he said. The death benefit of $3,000 isn't paid to survivors if the pension member had not yet retired. The county, though, provides an $80,000 death benefit to employees killed in the line of duty.

Meantime, a state Senate bill, co-sponsored in the House by Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs, that would pay medical and dental benefits to dependents of state employees who die in work-related incidents is now one vote away from Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk. The bill was prompted by the 2016 death of State Trooper Cody Donahue. His family lost their health insurance in the days following his death on the job. Donahue was hit by a tractor-trailer while investigating a traffic crash.


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