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Officer’s Widow Loses Bid for Pension Benefits

(CN) - The surviving wife of an Illinois police officer is not entitled to annual benefit increases on her husband's line-of-duty pension, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled .

The Roselle Police Pension Board sued the village of Roselle to recover benefits for Bonnie Gurke. Her husband, Charles Gurke, Jr., was receiving the annual 3 percent increases at the time of his death in 2005.

The pension board ruled that Mrs. Gurke was entitled to the increased, but the circuit court and appeals court disagreed.

In upholding the lower courts' decision, Justice Karmeier noted that the Illinois Legislature has made provisions in the pension code for other groups like state employees, teachers, and judges. However, police officers like Gurke have no such coverage.

"The Board and its supporters may believe that ... pensions paid to survivors of police officers receiving 'line of duty' disability pensions should still be subject to annual increases," Karmeier wrote. "We can only respond that the policy arguments they advance are properly addressed to the Legislature rather than this court."

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