SENATE, No. 447

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Allen

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires spousal consent to election of certain pension payout options under TPAF, JRS and PERS.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

††


An Act requiring the consent of the spouse to the election of certain retirement allowance options by a member of the Teachersí Pension and Annuity Fund, the Judicial Retirement System or the Public Employeesí Retirement System and amending P.L.1985, c.382 and P.L.2002, c.54.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 2 of P.L.1985, c.382 (C.18A:66-47.1) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 2.††† Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 66 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes or any other law to the contrary, whenever a member of the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund elects a retirement benefit which is payable for the life of the member only and terminating at his death, without refund of any kind to the spouse, [the member shall be required, before electing that benefit, to sign a form stating that the member has elected that benefit, that the member understands that it is payable during the member's lifetime only and that no benefits will be payable to the member's spouse after death.† The Division of Pensions, Department of the Treasury, shall notify the member's spouse if the member identifies the spouse on the form. Notification shall be by certified mail to the spouse's address as provided on the form by the member.† If the member has not provided an address for the spouse on the form, the Division of Pensions, Department of the Treasury, shall send the notice, by certified mail, to the spouse at the member's address.† The notice shall advise 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, shall be payable to the beneficiary after the member's death] or any other option pursuant to N.J.S.18A:66-47 that provides a benefit to the memberís spouse that is less than one-half of the memberís retirement allowance to be continued throughout the life of the spouse, the election shall not take effect unless:

†††† a.†††† (1) the spouse of the member consents in writing to such election; (2) such election designates a beneficiary or an option neither of which may be changed without spousal consent, or the consent of the spouse expressly permits designations by the member without any requirement of further consent by the spouse; and (3) the spouseís consent acknowledges the effect of such election and is witnessed by a representative of the Division of Pensions and Benefits or a notary public; or

†††† b.††† it is established to the satisfaction of the retirement system
that the consent required under this section may not be obtained because there is no spouse, because the spouse cannot be located, or because of such other circumstances as the Division of Pensions and Benefits may prescribe by regulations
.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.382, s.2)

 

†††† 2.††† Section 2 of P.L.2002, c.54 (C.43:6A-16.2) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 2.††† Whenever a member of the Judicial Retirement System elects a retirement allowance which is payable for the life of the member only and terminating at the member's death, without refund of any kind to the member's spouse, [the member shall be required, before electing that benefit, to sign a form stating that the member has elected that benefit, that the member understands that it is payable during the member's lifetime only and that no benefits will be payable to the member's spouse after death, other than the survivor benefits provided by section 18 of P.L.1973, c.140 (C.43:6A-18) and any applicable life insurance benefits.† The Division of Pensions and Benefits in the Department of the Treasury shall notify the member's spouse if the member identifies the spouse on the form.† Notification shall be by certified mail to the spouse's address as provided on the form by the member.† If the member has not provided an address for the spouse on the form, the division shall send the notice, by certified mail, to the spouse at the member's address.† The notice shall advise the spouse that the retirement benefit chosen by the member is payable during the member's lifetime only and that no benefits, other than the survivor benefits provided by section 18 of P.L.1973, c.140 (C.43:6A-18) and any applicable life insurance benefits, shall be payable to the beneficiary after the member's death] or any other option pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2002, c.54 (C.43:6A-16.1) that provides a benefit to the memberís spouse that is less than one-half of the memberís retirement allowance to be continued throughout the life of the spouse, the election shall not take effect unless:

†††† a.†††† (1) the spouse of the member consents in writing to such election; (2) such election designates a beneficiary or an option neither of which may be changed without spousal consent, or the consent of the spouse expressly permits designations by the member without any requirement of further consent by the spouse; and (3) the spouseís consent acknowledges the effect of such election and is witnessed by a representative of the Division of Pensions and Benefits or a notary public; or

†††† b.††† it is established to the satisfaction of the retirement system that the consent required under this section may not be obtained because there is no spouse, because the spouse cannot be located, or because of such other circumstances as the Division of Pensions and
Benefits may prescribe by regulations
.

(cf: P.L.2002, c.54, s.2)

 

†††† 3.††† Section 1 of P.L.1985, c.382 (C.43:15A-50a) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1.††† Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1954, c.84 (C. 43:15A-1 et seq.) or any other law to the contrary, whenever a member of the Public Employees' Retirement System elects a retirement benefit which is payable for the life of the member only and terminating at his death, without refund of any kind to the spouse, [the member shall be required, before electing that benefit, to sign a form stating that the member has elected that benefit, that the member understands that it is payable during the member's lifetime only and that no benefits will be payable to the member's spouse after death.† The Division of Pensions, Department of the Treasury, shall notify the member's spouse if the member identifies the spouse on the form.† Notification shall be by certified mail to the spouse's address as provided on the form by the member.† If the member has not provided an address for the spouse on the form, the Division of Pensions, Department of the Treasury, shall send the notice, by certified mail, to the spouse at the member's address. The notice shall advise 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, shall be payable to the beneficiary after the member's death] or any other option pursuant to section 50 of P.L.1954, c.84 (C.43:15A-50) that provides a benefit to the memberís spouse that is less than one-half of the memberís retirement allowance to be continued throughout the life of the spouse, the election shall not take effect unless:

†††† a.†††† (1) the spouse of the member consents in writing to such election; (2) such election designates a beneficiary or an option neither of which may be changed without spousal consent, or the consent of the spouse expressly permits designations by the member without any requirement of further consent by the spouse; and (3) the spouseís consent acknowledges the effect of such election and is witnessed by a representative of the Division of Pensions and Benefits or a notary public; or

†††† b.††† it is established to the satisfaction of the retirement system that the consent required under this section may not be obtained because there is no spouse, because the spouse cannot be located, or because of such other circumstances as the Division of Pensions and Benefits may prescribe by regulations.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.382, s.1)

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect on the 90th day after the date of enactment.


STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires written spousal consent whenever a member of the Teachersí Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) or the Public Employeesí 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 memberís spouse that is less than one-half of the memberís retirement allowance.

†††† Under the bill whenever a member of the TPAF, the JRS or the PERS elects a retirement benefit that is payable only during the life of the member and terminates at death, without payment of any kind to the spouse, or any other payout option that provides a benefit to the memberís spouse that is less than one-half of the memberís retirement allowance to be continued throughout the life of the spouse, the election will not take effect unless: 1) the spouse of the member consents in writing to such election; 2) such election designates a beneficiary or an option neither of which may be changed without spousal consent, or the consent of the spouse expressly permits designations by the member without any requirement of further consent by the spouse; and 3) the spouseís consent acknowledges the effect of such election and is witnessed by a representative of the Division of Pensions and Benefits or a notary public.† Such consent will not be required if it is established to the satisfaction of the retirement system that the consent may not be obtained because there is no spouse, the spouse cannot be located, or there are such other circumstances as the Division of Pensions and Benefits may prescribe by regulations.† These requirements are similar to those of nongovernmental plans regulated by the federal Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

†††† Current law requires that whenever a TPAF, JRS or PERS member elects a retirement benefit that is payable only during the life of the member and terminates at death, without payment of any kind to the spouse, the division must send a notice, by certified mail, to the spouse that the retirement benefit chosen by the member is payable only during the member's lifetime and that no benefits, other than any applicable life insurance benefits, will be payable to any beneficiary after the member's death.

†††† The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission reviewed an identical bill pending during the 2008-2009 Legislative session and recommended enactment.† The commission's review noted that the bill improves spousal protection through the proposed spousal consent provisions under elections of certain payout provisions.† The protection afforded through the identical bill was noted by the commission to duplicate the same spousal protection afforded under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for private qualified pension plans.