S-447

"Requires the consent of a spouse to the election of certain retirement allowance options by a member of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, the Judicial Retirement System or the Public Employees’ Retirement System."

NJEA supports S-447 (Turner).  The bill requires written spousal consent whenever a member of the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) or the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) elects a retirement benefit which is payable for the life of the member only or any other payout option that provides a benefit to the member’s spouse that is less than one-half of the member’s retirement allowance.

Under current law, whenever a TPAF, JRS or PERS member elects a retirement benefit which is payable for the life of the member only and terminates at death, without refund of any kind to the spouse, the division simply sends a notice, by certified mail, to the spouse that the retirement benefit chosen by the member is payable during the member's lifetime only and that no benefits, other than any applicable life insurance benefits, will be payable to any beneficiary after the member's death.  Under ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, federal law requires that any qualified private defined benefit retirement plan must pay a married participant’s retirement benefit as a joint-and-survivor annuity that provides at least a 50% survivor benefit to the participant’s spouse unless both the participant and the spouse waive the survivor option.  Similar benefits are already provided to participants and their survivors under the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, the State Police Retirement System and the Judicial Retirement System.

NJEA believes this bill is an important step in providing adequate notification to a spouse of public employees and urges you to vote yes on S-447.

 NJEA urges you to support this legislation.