As reported by NJ.com, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and labor leaders defended Sweeney’s proposal to constitutionally enforce payments into the public pension system against arguments it’s a gift to special interests that will shackle New Jersey’s finances. The scrap between Sweeney and labor leaders versus Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and business
On May 12, 2009, Kate Benner published an article entitled “The Public Pension Bomb” in Fortune Magazine. The article addresses how states all across the country, for many years, have been starving their retirement plans. More importantly, however, the article focuses upon how the crisis is playing out in New Jersey, where the bill is…
This blog entry will focus upon our review of certain statutory proposals currently pending in the New Jersey Legislature concerning the pay status of law enforcement officers when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days. These proposals are set forth in Assembly Bill Number 3481.
Assembly Bill 3481 concerns the suspensions of certain law enforcement officers and firefighters and supplements Title 40A of the New Jersey statutes and specifically amends N.J.S.A. 40A:14-150 and N.J.S.A. 40A:14-22. In essence, the bill allows certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to regain pay status when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days.
The first part of the bill provides:
When a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency…that is subject to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes is suspended from performing his official duties without pay for a complaint or charges, other than (1) a complaint or charges relating to the subject matter of a pending criminal investigation…whether pre-indictment or post indictment, or (2) when the complaint or charges allege conduct that also would constitute a violation of the criminal laws of this State or any other jurisdiction, and the law enforcement agency employing the officer…seeks to terminate that officer’s…employment for the conduct that was the basis for the officer’s…suspension without pay, a final determination on the officer’s…suspension and termination shall be rendered within 180 calendar days from the date the officer…is suspended without pay.…
Following up on our previous entry, this article will help our readers understand the criteria that must be met in order for a public employee to qualify for an ordinary or accidental disability pension within one of the following State pension systems, the Public Employees Retirement System, the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund, the State Police Retirement System, and the Judicial Retirement System. While these pension plans are similar in defined benefits and criteria for eligibility, each has their own specific nuances that are particular to the membership they serve.
Accidental v. Ordinary Disability Benefits
In accordance with the Public Employees Retirement System (“PERS”) and Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (“TPAF”) handbooks, in order to qualify for an ordinary disability retirement, an employee must:
· Have an active pension account;
· Have 10 or more years of New Jersey service credit;
· Be considered totally and permanently disabled; and
· Submit medical reports certifying the disability.
In order to qualify for an accidental disability retirement, a member must:
· Be considered totally and permanently disabled as a result of a “traumatic event” that happened during and as a direct result of carrying out the member’s regular or assigned job duties;
· File an application for disability retirement within five (5) years of the date of the “traumatic event”; and
· Be examined by physicians selected by the retirement system.
If an employee claiming membership to either one of these retirement funds qualified for accidental disability, his/her annual retirement allowance will be 72.7% of their salary at the time of the “traumatic event.”
Should the public employee be receiving periodic workers’ compensation benefits, the accidental disability retirement benefits will be reduced dollar for dollar by the periodic benefits paid after the retirement date. However, the retirement benefit is not reduced by any Social Security or private insurance benefits that may be payable.
The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits reports accidental disability retirement benefits as exempt from federal income tax. The benefits are also …
Recently, it has come to our attention that many individuals aside from Public Safety Officers utilize this website as a reference guide for the various pension systems available to individuals employed by municipalities, counties, and the New Jersey state government. As such, this entry will focus upon a few of these pension systems and help our readers understand their background, membrship, and administration.
Overview of the Various Pension Systems
The State of New Jersey established the Public Employees Retirement System (“PERS”) in 1955 after repeal of the laws that created the former State Employees Retirement System. Like the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (“PFRS”), the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits is assigned all administrative functions of the retirement system except for investment of the assets.
The PERS Board of Trustees has the responsibility for the proper operation of the retirement system. The Board consists of six (6) employee representatives, the State Treasurer, and two (2) individuals appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate. The Board meets monthly to conduct its business.
Membership in the retirement system is generally required as a condition of employment for most employees of the State or any county, municipality, school district, or public agency. Generally, an employee is required to enroll in PERS if:
· They are employed on a regular basis in a position covered by Social Security;
· Their annual salary is $1,500.00 or more; and
· They are not required to be a member of any other State or local government retirement system on the basis of the same position which gives them membership in PERS.
The Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (“TPAF”) was established in 1919 and completely reorganized in 1955. The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits is assigned all administrative function of the retirement system except for investment of the assets.…