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2019 Legislative Summary

A number of INPRS-related legislative changes were approved by the 2019 Indiana General Assembly. Below is a brief summary of the legislation. You may e-mail inquiries to questions@inprs.in.gov or call (844) GO-INPRS for more information. These laws are effective July 1, 2019.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for JRS and PARF Funds Language Change in Statues

New language has been added to the statue of Judges’ Retirement System (JRS) and Prosecuting Attorneys’ Retirement Fund (PARF) to be consistent with Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF), Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRF) and other INPRS funds. The new language specifically exempts money in the fund from all legal process and assignment.  Consistent with other INPRS funds, members or beneficiaries may assign part of their payment to premiums on certain insurance plans maintained in part by a state agency or for dues to associations that meet certain qualifications.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for PERF and TRF Defined Contribution Accounts

The new law clarifies that the defined contribution plans (formerly known as ASAs and part of the defined benefit plan) are separate and distinct from the PERF and TRF defined benefit plan.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for PERF and PARF 13th Check and COLA

For PARF members that have a PERF retirement account and normally receive a PERF 13th Check or COLA will continue to receive a 13th check or COLA. The new law clarifies that this process will continue.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for PERF Leave of Absences (LOA)

Previously, PERF members could obtain credit for leaves of absence totaling up to six months during any consecutive four year period.  The new law slightly changes the rules for Leave of Absences (LOA).  Under the new law, PERF members cannot take more than 1/8th of their total creditable service for a Leave of Absence. For example, if a PERF member had 20 total years of service, he/she can only take 1/8th of their 20 years of service towards a Leave of Absence. For this particular example, the member can only take 2.5 years of service towards their Leave of Absence.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for PERF members transferring to 1977 Fund Service Credit

The new law clarifies when a member transfers from PERF to the 1977 fund, the amount transferred from the member’s PERF defined contribution account (formerly known as an annuity savings account) is the amount necessary for purchase of service related to the present value of benefits.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 22 for various funds

All Funds Full or Partial Withdrawals

Certain statutes have changed regarding members taking full or partial withdrawals from their defined contribution account. Members now have more flexibility to take all or part of their money out of their defined contribution account, if allowed to do so by law. If a suspended member’s account with PERF or TRF Hybrid is less than $1,000, the board may pay the member’s defined contribution account only in a lump sum.

1977 Fund Baseline Test  

If a 1977 Fund member were to leave their current employer and return within 180 days to the same employer, he/she will not be required to have a new baseline test. The old statue did not clarify any guidance on situations where the 1977 Fund member leaves their current employer than returns to the same employer with 180 days.

Pension Relief Fund Limitations

In the past, laws stated that there were limitations on how pension relief funds were used. One of those limitations was using pension relief funds for actuarial reports. At the time, there was no provision to make payments for actuarial reports required by statute. The new law specifies that the pension relief funds may be used to pay for actuarial reports.

Elected Officials and Mille Morgan

Previously, elected officials were entitled to a pension benefit when the official was 55 years old and had 20 years of PERF service without separating from their covered position. PERF members that weren’t elected officials were still entitled to receive a pension benefit once they were 70 years old and had 20 years of service without separating from their covered position. If a member does not make the irrevocable election while holding the position, he/she will still be entitled to receive retroactive payments to cover the time period when he/she was eligible to receive payment. However, the new statue only allows retroactive payment back to when the qualifying member submits a retirement application or stops holding the position.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 85 – 1977 Fund retirement and surviving spouse benefits

If a 1977 Fund member retires after June 30, 2019, and has 20 years of service, he/she will receive an increase of 52% (from 50%) to their basic monthly pension benefit. If a 1977 Fund member dies other than in the line of duty after June 30, 2019, the member’s surviving spouse will receive an increase of 70% (from 60%) to their monthly benefit.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 545 – Stress tests and risk assessment

After June 30, 2018, the INPRS Executive Director and the Indiana State Police Pension Trust Trustee will report to the summer committee on any stress tests or risk assessments performed throughout the fiscal year on the pension.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1059 – survivor benefits for Legislators' System, PERF and TRF members

In previous laws, qualifying survivors of PERF and TRF members received benefits if:

  • The member had over 15 years of service,
  • The PERF or TRF member had over 10 years of service and was age 65,
  • Or if the legislator had 10 years of service.

However, under the new law, PERF and TRF members only need 10 years of service in order for their qualifying survivor to receive benefits. The change applies to active and inactive PERF/TRF members who dies after June 30, 2018.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1192 – witHholding pension or disability benefits

This bill clarifies, within the law, that INPRS is prohibited from withholding pension or disability benefits and specifies the following:

  • An employer can be reimbursed when a member has criminally taken an employer’s property.
  • Local boards for small funds and INPRS can withhold a 1977 Fund member’s contribution, but not pension or disability benefits. The 1977 Fund member’s contributions will only be withheld if the board and INPRS are notified of charges against the member. 
  • Local boards for small funds and INPRS can transfer a 1977 Fund member’s contributions if the member is presented in court with a sentence order of conviction of taking the employer’s property.
  • Once INPRS is notified of charges from PERF, TRF, EG&C, PARF and JRS members, INPRS has the ability to withhold all the member’s contributions.   Pension benefits of retired members and disability benefits of members will not be withheld.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1258 – definItion of public safety officer

The following statements have been added to enhance the definition of a public safety officer, which qualifies for the special (line-of-duty) death benefit:

  • An emergency management worker is an employee of the Indiana Department of Homeland security who works in an official capacity during a disaster or an emergency response or
  • An employee of a political subdivision who is employed as an emergency management director, an assistance emergency management director or a deputy emergency management director.
  • A division fire investigator

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001 “Budget Bill”

  • INPRS will provide actuarial support for State Police and EG&C OPEB (other pension employment benefits) plans
  • The Retirement Medical Benefits Account (also referred to as the 501 plan or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)) administration and funds have been transferred from the State Treasurer to INPRS. INPRS will now administer and invest similar to other existing INPRS funds.
  • The general assembly appropriated $150,000,000 from the state general fund to the TRF 1996 Fund.  The legislation also required the INPRS board to reduce the employer contribution rate as of July 1, 2019, for the 1996 account to be
    • The normal cost for the 1996 account plus
    • The surcharge
  • The legislation also specified that the INPRS board is permitted to review and establish the 1996 TRF employer contribution rate as necessary. 

COLAs and 13th Checks

Effective July 1, 2019

PERF, TRF, and EG&C members will receive 13th checks no later than October 1, 2019, and October 1, 2020.

If a member’s creditable service is: The Amount Is:
At least 5 years, but less than 10 years* $150
At least 10 years, but less than 20 years $275
At least 20 years, but less than 30 years $375
At least 30 years $450

*only the case if a member is receiving disability retirement benefits

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