Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 51.1. Pensions, Benefits, and Retirement
Chapter 2.1. Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System
10/28/2021

§ 51.1-218. Death before retirement.

A. If a member dies before retirement, and if no benefits are payable under subsection B, the amount of his accumulated contributions shall be paid to the designated beneficiary or to a surviving relative according to the same order of precedence as set forth in subsection A of § 51.1-162. This amount shall be reduced by the amount of any retirement allowance previously received by the member under this chapter or the abolished system. Each member shall designate who is to receive a refund of accumulated contributions credited to his account in the event of the death of the member prior to retirement. The designation must be made on a form prepared by the Board, signed by the member, and filed with the Board. The designation may be changed by the member by the written designation of some other person, signed and filed with the Board.

If no designation has been made, or the death of the designated person occurs prior to the death of the member and another designation has not been made, the proceeds shall be paid to the persons surviving at the death of the member in the same order of precedence as set forth in subsection A of § 51.1-162.

B. To the extent required by § 401(a)(37) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended or renumbered, and the regulations thereunder applicable to governmental plans, if a member dies in service, including a member performing active duty military service in the armed forces of the United States, and if no benefits are payable under subsection C, a retirement allowance shall be paid to the person designated as provided in subsection A of this section if the person is the member's (i) surviving spouse, (ii) minor child, or (iii) parent(s). If no designation has been made, or if the death of the designated person occurs prior to the death of the member and another designation has not been made, a retirement allowance shall be paid in the same order of precedence as set forth in subsection B of § 51.1-162. The retirement allowance shall be continued during the lifetime of the person or in the case of a minor child until the child dies or attains the age of majority, whichever occurs first. The retirement allowance shall equal the decreased retirement allowance that would have been payable under the joint and survivor option so that the same amount would be continued to such person after the member's death. If the member dies prior to his fiftieth birthday, then, for purposes of this subsection, the member shall be presumed to be age 50 on his date of death. When determining the allowance that would have been payable to the member had the member retired on the date of his death, the provisions of subsection B of § 51.1-217 shall not apply. If the person elects in writing, the amount of the member's accumulated contributions shall be paid to the person exclusively, in lieu of any other benefits under this section. This amount shall be reduced by the amount of any retirement allowance previously received by the member.

C. If a member dies in service from a cause compensable under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act (§ 65.2-100 et seq.), a retirement allowance shall be paid to the member's surviving spouse. If no compensation is finally awarded under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act due to legal proceedings or otherwise resulting in settlement from the persons causing such death, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission shall determine whether the member's death was from a cause compensable under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. If the member leaves no surviving spouse or the surviving spouse dies, any minor children of the deceased member shall be paid an allowance until the children die or attain the age of majority, whichever occurs first. If more than one minor child survives the deceased member, the allowance shall be divided in a manner determined by the Board. If the deceased member leaves neither surviving spouse nor minor child, the allowance shall be paid to the member's parents, divided in a manner determined by the Board, during the lives of the parents.

The retirement allowance, payable hereunder to a qualifying survivor, shall be the annual amount which, when added to the compensation payable under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act for the death of the member, shall equal 50 percent of the member's average final compensation if the survivor does not qualify for death benefits under the provisions of the Social Security Act in effect on the date of the death of the member. If the survivor qualifies for death benefits under the provisions of the Social Security Act in effect on the date of the death of the member, the allowance payable from the Retirement System when added to the compensation payable under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act shall equal thirty-three and one-third percent of the member's average final compensation.

Any beneficiary entitled to the entire amount of a retirement allowance under the provisions of this subsection as a result of the death of a member shall be entitled to waive his rights to the allowance by written notification to the Board within 90 days after the death of the member in order to make available a retirement allowance under the provisions of subsection B.

1999, c. 585; 2000, c. 911; 2001, c. 683; 2002, c. 313; 2009, c. 22; 2012, c. 696; 2015, c. 660.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.