Your Right to Administrative Review
If Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) staff have answered your questions regarding your account but you disagree with the action or determination, and no alternative resolution is available, you may request administrative review under the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act (IC 4-21.5). You must have standing as a party or a right to intervention to request administrative review. The steps of administrative review are as follows:
INPRS Administrative Review Final Orders
Search the Indiana Public Retirement System's Administrative Review Final Orders
These Orders may be used as precedent in Administrative Review proceedings, pursuant to IC 4-21.5-3-32.
Petition INPRS in the form of a letter to request a review of the action or determination with which you disagree. This letter should specifically state the basis of your disagreement and include sufficient facts so that INPRS administration can make an evaluation and determination. You may include copies of any supporting documents. For a sample format of this member petition, click here.
Once an evaluation has been completed, you will be notified with an initial determination letter, sent by certified mail. We will detail in the letter our initial determination and provide supporting justification. In addition, we will provide explicit instructions should you wish to appeal our initial determination. Indiana law sets forth specific time lines to appeal a decision. Should your appeal be received after the deadline, under Indiana law, the initial determination will become final and you will forfeit any future claims specific to that particular outcome. As noted, many processes and procedures followed by INPRS are statutory, meaning INPRS does not have the discretion to act outside of the law in granting a benefit that federal and/or state law does not permit.
Administrative Law Judge
If you disagree with the initial determination and wish to further challenge, you may bring the matter before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). To initiate this process, you must file a petition for review with the INPRS Executive Director. The petition for review:
- must meet the statutory requirements set forth in Indiana Code, section 4-21.5-3-7(a); AND
- must be filed within 15 days after you have received the written notice of the INPRS initial determination letter. (IC 4-21.5-3-7(a)).
Click here to see a sample format of a petition for review by ALJ.
If your petition for review meets the statutory requirements, INPRS will arrange for an administrative hearing of your case, which is similar to a trial in a lawsuit, but is conducted in less formal manner (IC 4-21.5-3-25(b)). You may be represented by counsel, but there is no requirement that you obtain representation. INPRS is not responsible for costs associated with your representation. The ALJ who conducts the review will consider the evidence concerning the administrative action/decision and decide whether INPRS has misinterpreted or misapplied the law and/or acted beyond the scope of its authority in your case.
After an ALJ is selected, you will be notified of the time and place of a pre-hearing conference, ordinarily conducted by conference call between you, INPRS, and the ALJ. The purpose of this conference is for the ALJ to identify and narrow the issues of the case and to set a timeframe for pleadings and discovery. A pleading is a formal document that sets forth allegations, complaints, denials, or defenses. Discovery is the process of learning information and obtaining documents from the other party.
If there are no material facts in dispute and the ALJ believes that the issues involved in the case deal with whether INPRS has applied or interpreted the law correctly, the ALJ may request a party file a motion for summary judgment. This means the ALJ may determine the case based on information submitted to the ALJ in writing. This is a process that speeds up the disposition of the case without the need for an evidentiary hearing where witnesses testify and are cross examined.
If there are material issues of fact, the ALJ will set a date for an evidentiary hearing where each party will call and cross examine witnesses and present other evidence. For a detailed outline of the ALJ review process, click here.
Within ninety (90) days after the conclusion of the administrative hearing, the ALJ will issue a Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law and written order concerning the action or decision that you are challenging (IC 4-21.5-3-27). The ALJ’s order is then subject to review by the INPRS Executive Director. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will issue a final order that affirms, modifies, or dissolves the ALJ’s order (IC 4-21.5-3-29(b)).
If you are still in disagreement at the conclusion of the administrative review, you may seek judicial review within thirty (30) days of receipt of the final order (IC 4-21.5-5). A reviewing court will examine only those disputed issues of fact that appear in the agency record of the appeal. The trial court may not retry the appeal or substitute its judgment for that of agency (IC 4-21.5-5-11).
- Click here for a list of all relevant IAC references.
This information is merely a guide and neither a substitute for, nor intended as, legal advice.