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Pensions and Benefits
RECENT LEGISLATION
2002
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Chapter 54, P.L. 2002 Allows members of the JRS to elect to receive a reduced retirement allowance in order to provide a benefit to a named beneficiary.
Chapter 42, P.L. 2002 Allows units of local governments (municipalities, counties, authorities, school boards, etc.) to issue refunding bonds to retire the unfunded accrued liability of the local units owed to the State's various pension systems created through the granting of early retirement benefits to employees of the local unit.
Chapter 23, P.L. 2002 Provides additional retirement benefits to eligible State employees and employees of State autonomous authorities who meet specified age and service requirements and who retire within a specified time period.
Chapter 134, P.L. 2002 Revises the statute authorizing municipalities to pay pensions to the widow and minor children of local volunteer personnel who die in the course of volunteer service.

Links to the New Jersey Legislature and other legislature information.


Chapter 54, P.L. 2002

Date Approved: August 3, 2002.

Effective Date: September 2, 2002.

Description:

This law allows members of the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) to elect to receive a reduced retirement allowance in order to provide a benefit to a named beneficiary. The five optional settlements in this law are the same as those available to members of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund.

The law also provides that within six months of its effective date, a retired JRS member may elect an optional settlement which will be applicable to the member's retirement allowance payable after the election is made.

These options, which allow JRS members to reduce their retirement allowance to provide benefits to a named beneficiary, are in addition to the JRS survivor benefits currently provided by law.

To view the new law, click here: Chapter 54, P.L. 2002 Adobe PDF (84K)

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Chapter 42, P.L. 2002

Date Approved: July 12, 2002.

Effective Date: July 12, 2002.

Description:

This law would allow units of local governments (municipalities, counties, authorities, school boards, etc.) to issue refunding bonds to retire the unfunded accrued liability of the local units owed to the State's various pension systems created through the granting of early retirement benefits to employees of the local unit. Refunding bonds may be issued to retire the pension liabilities for a local governmental unit's participation in an early retirement incentive program established pursuant to Chapter 229, P.L. 1991; Chapter 230, P.L. 1991; Chapter 231, P.L. 1991; Chapter 138, P.L. 1993; Chapter 181, P.L.1993; Chapter 163, P.L. 1993; and Chapter 99, P.L. 1993. The law would also allow units of local governments to utilize refunding bonds when they offer early retirement incentive programs for employees affected by consolidation agreements authorized by Chapter 59, P.L. 1999. The adoption and issuance procedures would be the same as procedures that exist under current law for the issuance of refunding bonds by the local unit.

This law also would permit county improvement authorities and the Economic Development Authority to pool early retirement benefit refunding bonds from local units in order to obtain better interest rates and terms.

To view the new law, click here: Chapter 42, P.L. 2002 Adobe PDF (213K)

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Chapter 23, P.L. 2002

Date Approved: May 30, 2002.

Effective Date: May 30, 2002.

Description:

This law provides additional retirement benefits to eligible State employees and employees of State autonomous authorities who meet specified age and service requirements and who retire within a specified time period. State employees must retire on or after February 1, 2002, but no later than July 1, 2002. Employees of State autonomous authorities must retire on or after July 1, 2002, but no later than September 1, 2002 if the authority fiscal year ends on or before June 30, 2002. If the fiscal year ends after June 30, 2002, employees shall retire no earlier than two months before and not later than the first day of the calendar month after the close of the fiscal year. The offering of the additional retirement benefits is optional for the authorities.

The eligibility requirements and the additional benefits are as follows:

  • Employees who are at least 50 years of age with at least 25 years of service credit under the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) will receive three additional years of service credit. Such members of the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP), federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will receive an amount equal to 60% of base annual salary. The amounts payable to members of the ABP and the federal systems will be paid in two separate installments.

  • Employees who are at least 60 years of age with at least 20, but less than 25, years of service credit in PERS, TPAF or ABP, will receive payment by the retirement system or the State of retiree health care benefits on the same basis that the State currently pays for the coverage of retirees with 25 or more years of service credit. Authority employees already eligible for authority-paid health care benefits will receive $500 per month for 24 months, as will employees of authorities which do not offer employer-paid retiree health care coverage.

  • Employees who are at least 60 years of age with at least 10, but not more than 20, years of service credit in PERS, TPAF or ABP, will receive an additional pension or payment of $500 a month for 24 months following the date of retirement.

  • Employees who are at least 55 years of age with 25 or more years of service credit in PERS or TPAF and who retire on a veteran's retirement will receive an additional pension in the amount of 3/55 of the compensation upon which the retirement allowance is based.

Amounts payable to members of the ABP will be made to the employee's retirement annuity contract, up to the amount allowed by Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code, and then to a contract on behalf of the employee that meets the requirements of Section 403(b) of the Code. Any amount in excess of the cumulative maximum contributions allowed under these Code provisions will be payable directly to the employee.

When the needs of State government, a college or university, or a State autonomous authority so require, an employee electing to retire under the law may continue in employment for up to one year with the approval of the employer and the agreement of the employee. If the employee dies during the period of continued employment, the retirement will become effective on the first day of the month after the date of death.

A State autonomous authority may elect to provide the benefits of this law by filing a resolution with the Division. A State autonomous authority which elects to offer the benefits provided by this law to its employees who are in PERS and which also has employees under other retirement systems or pension plans would be required to provide comparable benefits to those eligible employees.

The additional PERS and TPAF pension liabilities incurred by the State and electing State autonomous authorities will be added to their accrued liability and funded pursuant current pension laws governing unfunded accrued liabilities. Cash payments to ABP members will be made by the State colleges and universities.

The Director of the Division of Pensions and Benefits is required to report annually for five years to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee on the aggregate costs and savings resulting from the enactment of this substitute.

To view the new law, click here: Chapter 23, P.L. 2002 Adobe PDF (142K)

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Chapter 134, P.L. 2002

Date Approved: January 9, 2003.

Effective Date: January 9, 2003, and is retroactive to January 1, 2000.

Description:

This law revises the statute authorizing municipalities to pay pensions to the widow and minor children of local volunteer personnel who die in the course of volunteer service.

Under this law:

  1. The class of personnel eligible for the pension, which presently includes volunteer firefighters, first aid workers, and rescue squad workers, is expanded to include emergency medical technicians;

  2. The class of survivors eligible to receive the pension is expanded to include widowers as well as widows, children if the widow remarries and parents if there is no widow or children.

  3. The pension will be paid by the State for volunteers dying on or after January 1, 2000.  The municipality is to determine the survivors' eligibility for the benefit, and must file a resolution with the State Treasurer within days 10 after adoption.  The pension will commence in the first calendar year after the year of death or the year following this law's enactment, whichever is later.

  4. The amount of the annual pension payable under this law is increased from $5,000 per year to $15,000 per year for unmarried widows, widowers and minor children.  An annual pension of $10,000 shall be payable to the minor children if the widow or widower remarries.  A $5,000 annual pension shall be payable to the parents if there is no surviving spouse or minor children.

To view the new law, click here:  Chapter 134, P.L. 2002 Adobe PDF (107K)

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