(a) Under rules the board of trustees may adopt, upon application of a member, or the person appointed by the family court as guardian of an incapacitated member, any member who has been permanently incapacitated for duty as the natural and proximate result of an accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place, or as the cumulative result of some occupational hazard, through no wilful negligence on the member's part, may be retired by the system for service-connected disability; provided that:
(1) In the case of an accident occurring after July 1, 1963, the employer shall file with the system a copy of the employer's report of the accident submitted to the director of labor and industrial relations;
(2) An application for retirement is filed with the system within two years of the date of the accident, or the date upon which workers' compensation benefits cease, whichever is later;
(3) Certification is made by the head of the agency in which the member is employed, stating the time, place, and conditions of the service performed by the member resulting in the member's disability and that the disability was not the result of wilful negligence on the part of the member; and
(4) The medical board or other entity designated by the board of trustees certifies that the member is incapacitated for the further performance of duty at the time of application and that the member's incapacity is likely to be permanent.
(b) In the case of firefighters, police officers, and sewer workers, the effect of the inhalation of smoke, toxic gases, chemical fumes, and other toxic vapors on the heart, lungs, and respiratory system shall be construed as an injury received or disease contracted while in the performance of their duty and as the result of some occupational hazard for the purpose of determining occupational disability retirement under this section.
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any condition of impairment of health caused by any disease of the heart, lungs, or respiratory system, resulting in permanent incapacity to a firefighter, police officer, or sewer worker, shall be presumed to have been suffered in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place through no wilful negligence on the firefighter's, police officer's, or sewer worker's part, and as a result of the inherent occupational hazard of exposure to and inhalation of smoke, toxic gases, chemical fumes, and other toxic vapors, unless the contrary be shown by competent evidence; provided that such firefighter, police officer, or sewer worker shall have passed a physical examination on entry into such service or subsequent to such entry, which examination failed to reveal any evidence of such condition.
(c) The system may waive strict compliance with the time limits within which a report of the accident and an application for service-connected disability retirement must be filed with the system if it is satisfied that the failure to file within the time limited by law was due to ignorance of fact or law, inability, or to the fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit of any person, or because the applicant was undergoing treatment for the disability or was receiving vocational rehabilitation services occasioned by the disability.
(d) The system may determine whether or not the disability is the result of an accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place and that the disability was not the result of wilful negligence on the part of the member. The system may accept as conclusive:
(1) The certification made by the head of the agency in which the member is employed; or
(2) A finding to this effect by the medical board or other entity designated by the board of trustees.
(e) Upon approval by the system, the member shall be eligible to receive a service-connected disability retirement benefit after the member has terminated service. Retirement shall become effective on the first day of a month, except for the month of December when retirement on the first or last day of the month shall be allowed. [L 1963, c 127, §7; am L 1965, c 225, §2; Supp, §6-46.1; HRS §88-69; am L 1969, c 110, pt of §1; am L 1971, c 152, §3; am L 1974, c 182, §3; am L 1975, c 41, §1; am L 1983, c 124, §15; gen ch 1985; am L 1987, c 81, §1 and c 283, §14; am L 1997, c 212, §3; am L 1998, c 151, §6; am L 2002, c 128, §6; am L 2007, c 215, §10; am L 2017, c 17, §4]