On its website, www.njspba.com, The New Jersey State PBA has reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has adopted regulations that would prohibit any public safety officer in a state legislated pension system from retiring before the age of 50. The regulation in its current form is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2009.
As all public safety officers throughout the State of New Jersey are aware, there is currently no minimum retirement age for a member of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System to qualify for a pension. All that is needed to qualify for a PFRS pension is twenty five (25) years of service and retirement credits paid into the system. Based on the new regulations the State of New Jersey would be required to amend its pension laws or face the potential of being non compliant with the Federal tax code and regulations. The State PBA reports that this particular regulation has caught New Jersey politicians and the New Jersey Division of Pensions off guard and the State is not prepared to address the IRS regulations should they be enacted in 2009.
The New Jersey State PBA appears to have engaged in an extensive lobbying effort and has requested that the regulation be delayed indefinitely in order to seek a change in language impacting public safety employees. A formal request to delay the rule has already been made but the IRS has not yet acted upon it.
The PBA goes on to further state that if the IRS rejects its request to delay the enactment of the regulation they will be seeking either federal legislation to overrule the IRS Regulation or a legal remedy challenging the regulations as a violation of PFRS member’s constitutional rights.
The Publishers of the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog are currently looking into this regulation and the legalities of the same. We will report more on this topic in the immediate future.