Woman loses claim for additional retroactive retirement benefits


Jennifer Nelson for www.theindianalawyer.com

A retired teacher is not entitled to an additional six months of retroactive retirement benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to only six months of retroactive retirement benefits.

Jeri Good was a member of the Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund – now a part of INPRS – for 29.5 years. She purchased an additional six-month service credit to make her eligible to receive retirement benefits at age 55 based on 30 years of service. When she contacted INPRS regarding delaying her retirement benefits, the INPRS employee told her benefits would be paid retroactively, but did not say only for six months.

Good then delayed filing her application for one year and requested benefits retroactive to her 55th birthday. INPRS determined, and the trial court affirmed, that she is only entitled to six months retroactive.

Good acknowledged that the law limits an INPRS member to six months of retroactive retirement benefits but claims she is entitled to additional benefits based on the theories of equitable estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.

The appellate judges in Jeri Good v. Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund, 25A03-1408-MI-278, rejected all of her claims.

“We conclude as follows: (1) equitable estoppel is inapplicable because the facts regarding Good’s retirement were equally available to both parties and she is charged with knowledge of the law regarding retroactive benefits; (2) unjust enrichment is also inapplicable in light of that imputed knowledge; and (3) her fiduciary duty claim fails because there is no indication that the INPRS employee was a fiduciary. Therefore, we affirm,” wrote Judge Terry Crone.