AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SURVIVOR'S ALTERNATE BENEFIT UNDER THE CONSOLIDATED JUDICIAL RETIREMENT SYSTEM THAT IS ON PAR WITH THE SURVIVOR'S ALTERNATE BENEFIT PROVIDED UNDER THE TEACHERS' AND STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM.
Amends GS 135-63, limiting the existing provisions established for payment of benefits upon the death prior to retirement of a member of the Consolidated Judicial System in subsection (a) to the death of a member in service who earned the first month of membership service prior to July 1, 2023, and had not withdrawn contributions for such service in the System.
Enacts the following new provisions, applicable upon the death of a member or former member who earned the first month of membership service credit on or after July 1, 2023, or forfeited all creditable service in the System earned prior to July 1, 2023, by receiving a return of contributions. Provides for living designated persons, otherwise the member's legal representatives, to be paid the member's accumulated contributions at the time of the member's death. Allows for the beneficiary to elect to receive a reduced retirement allowance under the provisions of Option 2 prescribed for beneficiaries of members of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) set out in GS 135-5(g), with the assumption that the allowance is computed as if the member retired on the first day of the month following the date of the member's death. Sets four qualifying criteria for such election, including that the member had attained such age or creditable service to be eligible to commence retirement with an early or service retirement allowance, or attained 16 years of creditable service, in which case the retirement allowance must be computed in accordance with subsection (b) of GS 135-58; (2) at the time of the member's death, only one beneficiary was eligible to receive a return of accumulated contributions under this provision; (3) the member had not instructed the Board of Trustees, in writing, that the member did not wish for the provisions to apply; and (4) the member had not begun receiving a retirement allowance as provided for the System under Article 4. Sets parameters applicable to the enacted alternate survivor benefit, including that a member is considered to be in service on the date of death if the death occurs within 180 days from the last date of actual service, as defined; and any terminal payments made after the member's date of death that meet the definition of compensation must be credited to the month prior to the member's month of death, excluding salary for wages paid for work performed during the month of the member's death. Provides for payment of the retirement allowances to a living contingent beneficiary designated by the member, or the principal beneficiary's legal representative in one lump sum if the contingent beneficiary is not living at the time the payment becomes payable, upon death of the primary beneficiary prior to total payment of the member's total contributions at the date of the member's death. Provides for payment of the remaining contributions to the contingent beneficiary's legal representative in lump sum upon death of the contingent beneficiary who dies before the total accumulated contributions are paid. Provides for benefits that become payable for a member that does not have a designated beneficiary to be paid to the retired member's legal representative.
Additionally, provides for a $50,000 death benefit for a designated beneficiary of a member, or the member's legal representative, upon the death of a member in service who earned the first month of membership service credit on or after July 1, 2023, or forfeited all creditable service in the System earned prior to July 1, 2023, by receiving a return of contributions and had completed at least one full calendar year of membership in the System. Similarly provides that a member is considered to be in service on the date of death if the death occurs within 180 days from the last date of actual service, as defined.
Amends GS 135-64, which provides for a death benefit for retired members, to limit the application of the existing provisions to described former members who earned the first month of membership service credit prior to July 1, 2023, and had not withdrawn contributions for such membership service in the Retirement System. Adds the following new provisions. For a retired member who earned the first month of membership service credit on or after July 1, 2023, or forfeited all creditable service in the System earned prior to July 1, 2023, by receiving a return of contributions, dies while that retired member was in receipt of a retirement allowance under Article 4, allows for payment of a death benefit to living designated beneficiaries, otherwise to the member's legal representatives, equal to the excess of the accumulated contributions of the retiree at the date of retirement over the total of the allowances paid to prior to the death of the member. Additionally provides for designating beneficiaries of a retirement allowance payable to a designated survivor of the retired member under GS 135-61, or otherwise the retiree's legal representative, which would otherwise terminate upon death of the survivor before the total of the allowances paid to the member and survivor equaled the total accumulated contributions of the member at retirement.
Details designation and proof of death requirements for enacted provisions.
Effective July 1, 2022.
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