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Indiana Public Retirement System

Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) > My Fund > Judges > 1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System Handbook 1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System Handbook

Membership

Eligibility

To be eligible for membership in either the 1977 or 1985 Judges' Retirement System, you must have served or be serving, as a regular judge for any of the following courts:

  • Supreme Court of the State of Indiana
  • Court of Appeals of the State of Indiana
  • Circuit Court of a Judicial Circuit
  • Superior Court of a county
  • Criminal Court of a county having a separate criminal court
  • Probate Court of a county having a separate probate court
  • Juvenile Court of a county having a separate juvenile court
  • Municipal Court of a county
  • County Court of a county
  • Indiana Tax Court

Participation

If you became a judge before Sept. 1, 1985, you are a member of the 1977 Judges’ Retirement System (JRS), unless you elected not to participate within 20 days after you began your term as a judge.

If you terminated your employment and returned to your position as a judge after Aug. 31, 1985, you will remain a member of the 1977 System.

If you began service as a judge after Aug. 31, 1985, you are a member of the 1985 System.

Individuals serving as full-time magistrates on July 1, 2010, may elect to become participants in the 1985 Judges’ Retirement System (JRS). This election must have occurred by Oct. 1, 2010. All full-time magistrates who begin service after July 1, 2010, will become members of the 1985 JRS.

A judge in the 1985 JRS who has PERF service credit for service as a full-time referee, full-time commissioner, or before Jan. 1, 2011, a full-time magistrate, before becoming a judge or after leaving the bench shall be granted credit for that service under the JRS if the state contributes the amount the board determines necessary to amortize the service liability. The member shall also pay the amount the judge would have contributed if the judge had been a member of the JRS during the service.

Magistrates who purchase service in the JRS using PERF service will waive only the amount of PERF service used to purchase service in the JRS. Magistrates will not lose PERF service that they did not use to purchase service in the JRS.

Contributions

If you are a member of either the 1977 or 1985 JRS, you are required to contribute 6 percent of your statutory state salary for a maximum period of twenty-two (22) years.

You are not required to contribute to either retirement system during the time that you are not employed as a judge or for any period of service as a senior judge.

Effective Jan. 1, 1989, each participant who began service before Sept. 1, 1985, is deemed to have made a one-time irrevocable salary reduction agreement equal to 6 percent of each payment of salary. The auditor of state shall pay and credit to the fund the amounts representing the 6 percent contributions.

Effective Oct. 1, 1989, the state of Indiana elected to pay the 6 percent contributions for judges who began their service after Aug. 31, 1985. According to Section 414(h) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, the judges’ salaries were reduced by six (6) percent in order to fund the six (6) percent contributions paid by the state to the 1985 JRS. The six (6) percent contributions are not taxed until paid as a distribution or monthly benefit.

When crediting interest on employee contribution accounts, the interest rate will be set at least annually. For active members, the interest will be credited at least once annually on the prior fiscal year end balance. For a member separated from service, members who die before vesting, and for survivors, the amount credited to the member’s contribution account must be the value of the member’s contribution account plus interest valued the day before the member applies for a distribution or the date of death of the member plus contributions received after that date. For members with less than twenty (20) years of service and no activity after ten (10) years, no amount of interest will be credited.

Retirement Benefits

Entitlement

You will be eligible for normal retirement with full benefits if you:

  • Are age sixty-five (65) and
  • Have at least eight years of service credit as a judge; or are at least fifty-five (55) years of age and your age in years plus years of creditable service is at least eighty-five (85) (the  Rule of 85).

You will qualify for early retirement with reduced benefits if you:

  • Are between the ages of sixty-two (62) and sixty-five (65) and
  • Have at least eight years of service credit as a judge.

Your benefit is effective the day following the date of your termination of employment as a judge or some other date you elect following your separation from employment. You are entitled to a monthly benefit payable for life in an amount calculated according to Indiana statutes. (See Table A).

To be eligible for a retirement benefit, you may not be receiving, or be entitled to receive, any salary from the state for services currently performed as a judge (as defined in IC 33-38-6-7) or a magistrate under IC 33-23-5.

Amount
If you apply for a retirement benefit and are age sixty-five (65) (or age fifty-five (55) and meet the Rule of 85), you are entitled to a retirement benefit that equals the product of:

  • The salary that you received at the time of your separation from service,* multiplied by the percentage shown below:

Table A

Years of Service Percentage
8 24%
9 27%
10 30%
11 33%
12 50%
13 51%
14 52%
15 53%
16 54%
17 55%
18 56%
19 57%
20 58%
21 59%
22 or more 60%

*Benefit calculations for the 1977 JRS are based on the salary being paid for the  office that the participant held at the time of the participant's separation from service. The 1985 JRS uses the applicable salary determined by statute.

If you receive early retirement benefits between the ages of sixty-two (62) and sixty-five (65), your benefits are reduced by 0.1 percent for each month that your retirement precedes your sixty-fifth (65th) birthday. This reduction does not apply to those judges who are eligible to receive a disability benefit from the JRS.

If you reemploy with the state of Indiana, you may continue receiving retirement benefits, so long as you are not reemployed as a judge or magistrate.

Benefit Overpayment or Underpayment

Occasionally, errors occur in benefit calculation. If such an error is discovered, INPRS is required by federal and state law to correct errors at any time, including after you take a distribution of your account balance.  If you receive an overpayment as a result of any error, INPRS is required by federal and state law to recover benefit overpayments.  If you have an underpayment, you will receive an additional payment from INPRS.

Disability Benefits

Determination

You are considered to be permanently disabled if the INPRS board has received a written certification of your disability by a licensed and practicing physician (your treating physician) and the INPRS Medical Authority.

This certification must state that:

  • You are totally incapacitated by reason of physical or mental infirmities from earning a livelihood and
  • Your condition is likely to be permanent.

You will be re-examined by at least two licensed physicians (your treating physician and INPRS physician) appointed by the INPRS board at such times designated by the board but at intervals not exceeding one year. If, in the opinion of these physicians, you have recovered from your disability, your benefits will stop unless you are age sixty-five (65) or meet the Rule of 85.

Amount

The annual benefit payable if you become permanently disabled is the product of:

  • The salary that was paid to you at the time of your separation from service*, multiplied by the percentage shown below:

Table B

Years of Service Percentage
0-12 50%
13 51%
14 52%
15 53%
16 54%
17 55%
18 56%
19 57%
20 58%
21 59%
22 or more 60%

*The disability benefit of a participant of the 1977 JRS is based on the salary being paid for the office that the participant held at the time of separation from service.

Survivor Benefits

Participants can designate, in the event of their death, whether available benefits are to be paid to a surviving spouse or child or children.

Under both the 1977 and 1985 Judges’ Retirement Systems, your spouse or designated child or children qualify for survivor benefits if you meet one of the following provisions:

  • Died while receiving benefits,
  • Completed at least eight years of service and are currently in service as a judge,
  • Completed at least eight years of service, was not still in service as a judge but entitled to a future benefit, or
  • Were permanently disabled at the time of your death.
Under both the 1977 and 1985 Systems, the surviving spouse is generally entitled to the greater of:
  • An amount set by statute or fifty percent (50%) of the retirement benefits that you were drawing (or would have been entitled to draw) at the time of your death.

A child entitled to benefits will receive their share until the child becomes eighteen (18) or during the entire period of the child’s physical or mental disability, whichever period is longer. Acceptable proof of disability must be submitted to INPRS. Upon cessation of benefits to a child, any remaining benefits will be shared equally among the   remaining children. If the surviving spouse is surviving upon the cessation of benefits to all designated children, the surviving spouse shall receive the benefit for the remainder of their life.

If benefits are not payable to a surviving spouse or designated child or children, then any dependent or dependents may withdraw the participant’s contributions plus interest at a rate specified by the board.

If no spouse, child or children, or other dependents survive, then the participant’s contributions, plus interest at a rate specified by the board and minus any payments made to the participant, shall be paid to the executor or administrator of the participant's estate within sixty (60) days after a request for the funds has been properly filed with INPRS.

You can log in to the enhanced PERF Online to manage your personal and pension benefit information. You will need your Social Security number (SSN) and passcode to get started. If you do not have your SSN or passcode, call our office at (888) 526- 1687.

Withdrawal from the System

If you terminate service in the JRS and return to a covered position for at least one year, you may purchase all or part of your previous service.

1977 System

You may withdraw an amount equal to the total sum you contributed to the fund if you:

  • Terminate your service as a judge and
  • Have less than twelve (12) years of creditable service.

You may elect a lump sum payment or monthly installments.

1985 System

If you cease service as a judge under the 1985 System other than by death or disability and if you are not eligible for a retirement benefit, you are entitled to withdraw the total sum contributed from the system. You may elect a lump sum payment or monthly installments.

Income Tax Consequences

If you terminate employment prior to being eligible for monthly benefits, you may elect a distribution of your member contributions.

You will be taxed (as ordinary income) for the year the distribution is received:

  • The six percent (6%) contribution made on a pre-tax basis

If you are under age fifty-nine and one half (59 ½) at the time your distribution is paid, you may be subject to an additional ten percent (10%) federal tax penalty on the above taxable amount.

An explanation of your four annuity payment choices and the tax consequences of those choices follows:

  • Choice A: To have the total amount of your contributions (less the mandatory withholding for federal income tax) PAID DIRECTLY TO YOU.
  • Choice B: To have the entire taxable portion of your contributions paid in the form of a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a Qualified Retirement Plan which has provisions allowing it to accept the rollover on your behalf. Any non-taxable portion would be paid directly to you.
  • Choice C: (May be selected only if you want a partial rollover amount of at least $500) To have a part of the taxable portion of your contribution paid in the form of a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an IRA or a Qualified Retirement Plan which has provisions allowing it to accept the rollover on your behalf. The remaining balance will be paid directly to you.
  • Choice D: To have the total amount of your contributions paid to you in monthly installments.

NOTE:  INPRS is required to withhold twenty percent (20%) of any taxable portion of your contributions which are paid directly to you and not paid in the form of a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an IRA or a Qualified Retirement Plan. The twenty percent (20%) withholding is for federal income taxes.

If you elect Choice B or C, INPRS will send you a check payable to the trustee of the IRA or Qualified Retirement Plan and a separate check payable to you representing your non-taxable portion and any taxable portion not directly rolled over. You will then be responsible for delivering the check to the trustee of the IRA or Qualified Retirement Plan that you specified on your distribution form.

NOTE: There will be no federal income tax withholding on any amount directly rolled over. You are not taxed on any taxable portion of your payment for which you choose a direct rollover until you elect a distribution from that plan.

CAUTION: You should consult the trustee of your qualified plan or IRA or your professional tax advisor if you need further information regarding the taxes on your distribution.

You must have standing as a party or a right to intervention to request administrative review. The steps of administrative review are http://www.in.gov/inprs/adminreview.htm

The Administrative Review Process

Appeals of the 1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System initial determination will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge in compliance with the Indiana Administrative Orders and Procedures Act IC 4-21.5.

You must have standing as a party or a right to intervention to request administrative review. The steps of administrative review are http://www.in.gov/inprs/adminreview.htm

The appeal process will allow for additional evidence to be presented by all parties. The Administrative Law Judge will submit findings to INPRS. INPRS will review the findings of the Administrative Law Judge and issue a final determination.

All parties will be advised of the final determination.


Every attempt has been made to verify that the information in this handbook is correct and up-to-date. Published content does not constitute legal advice. If a conflict arises between information contained in this publication and the law, the applicable law shall apply.