§8-22A-18. Awards and benefits for disability — due to other causes; exception during early period.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (a), section nine of this article, any municipal police officer or municipal firefighter with ten or more years of contributory service who, after the effective date of this article and during covered employment: (1) Has been or becomes totally disabled from any cause other than those set forth in section seventeen of this article and not due to vicious habits, intemperance or willful misconduct on his or her part; and (2) in the opinion of two physicians after medical examination, at least one of whom shall be named by the board, he or she is by reason of the disability not only unable to perform his or her previous work as a police officer or firefighter but also cannot, considering his or her age, education and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful employment which exists in the state regardless of whether: (A) The work exists in the immediate area in which the member lives; (B) a specific job vacancy exists; or (C) the member would be hired if he or she applied for work, is entitled to receive and shall be paid from the fund in monthly installments during the lifetime of the member or, if sooner, until the member attains normal retirement age or until the disability sooner terminates, the compensation set forth in, either subsection (b) or (c) of this section.

(b) If the member is totally disabled, he or she shall receive sixty-six and two-thirds percent of his or her average monthly compensation for months in which full compensation was received for the twelve-month contributory period preceding the disability.

(c) If the member remains totally disabled until attaining sixty years of age, then the member shall receive the retirement benefit provided in sections fourteen and fifteen of this article.