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
4/22/2021

Chapter 2.1. Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System.

§ 51.1-211. Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System; application of provisions of Virginia Retirement System.

The Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System is created and shall be administered by the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Retirement System. Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-124.1 et seq.) of this title shall apply to and govern the operation of the Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System.

1999, c. 585.

§ 51.1-212. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Employee" means any (i) member of the Capitol Police Force as described in § 30-34.2:1, (ii) campus police officer appointed under the provisions of Article 3 (§ 23.1-809 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 23.1, (iii) conservation police officer in the Department of Wildlife Resources appointed under the provisions of Chapter 2 (§ 29.1-200 et seq.) of Title 29.1, (iv) special agent of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority appointed under the provisions of Chapter 1 (§ 4.1-100 et seq.) of Title 4.1, (v) law-enforcement officer employed by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission as described in § 9.1-101, (vi) correctional officer as the term is defined in § 53.1-1, and including correctional officers employed at a juvenile correction facility as the term is defined in § 66-25.3, (vii) any parole officer appointed pursuant to § 53.1-143, and (viii) any commercial vehicle enforcement officer employed by the Department of State Police.

"Member" means any person included in the membership of the Retirement System as provided in this chapter.

"Normal retirement date" means a member's sixtieth birthday.

"Retirement System" means the Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System.

1999, c. 585; 2007, c. 87; 2015, cc. 38, 730; 2020, c. 958.

§ 51.1-213. Membership in Retirement System.

Membership in the Retirement System shall be compulsory for all employees.

1999, c. 585.

§ 51.1-214. Creditable service.

A. Service qualifying for credit under the provisions of the Virginia Retirement System shall be included as creditable service for the purposes of this chapter, provided the requirements set forth in Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-124.1 et seq.) of this title for crediting service have been complied with and any payment required is credited in the member's contribution account.

B. If a member ceases to be an employee, has not received a refund of the accumulated contributions credited to his member's contribution account, and accepts employment in a position covered by the Virginia Retirement System, the Judicial Retirement System or the State Police Officers' Retirement System, he shall be entitled to credit for his previous creditable service under this chapter. His accumulated contributions shall be transferred and credited to his member's contribution account in the appropriate retirement system. Future retirement rights shall be as set forth under the provisions of the appropriate retirement system.

1999, c. 585; 2001, cc. 686, 697.

§ 51.1-215. Contributions by Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth shall contribute an amount equal to the sum of the normal contribution, any accrued liability contribution, and any supplementary contribution. The amount shall be determined and paid as provided in Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-124.1 et seq.) of this title.

1999, c. 585.

§ 51.1-216. Service retirement generally.

A. Normal retirement.

1. Any employee commencing employment or reemployment on or after July 1, 2001, and any employee who makes the election provided in § 51.1-221, who is a member in service in any retirement program administered by the Virginia Retirement System at his normal retirement date with five or more years of creditable service (i) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (ii) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (iii) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138, may retire upon written notification to the Board, setting forth the date the retirement is to become effective.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

2. Any other employee who is a member in service at his normal retirement date with five or more years of creditable service (i) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (ii) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (iii) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138 may retire upon written notification to the Board, setting forth the date the retirement is to become effective.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

B. Early retirement.

1. Any employee commencing employment or reemployment on or after July 1, 2001, and any employee who makes the election provided in § 51.1-221, who is a member in service in any retirement program administered by the Virginia Retirement System other than the program established by this chapter shall retire pursuant to the early retirement provisions of the retirement program of which he is a member at the time of retirement.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

2. Any other employee who is a member in service and who has attained his fiftieth birthday with five or more years of creditable service (i) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (ii) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (iii) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138 may retire upon written notification to the Board setting forth the date the retirement is to become effective.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

C. Deferred retirement for members terminating service.

1. Any employee commencing employment or reemployment on or after July 1, 2001, and any employee who makes the election provided in § 51.1-221, who terminates service from any position with membership in any retirement program administered by the Virginia Retirement System, may retire under the provisions of subdivision A 1 or B 1 if (i) he is otherwise eligible for such benefits, (ii) he has not withdrawn his accumulated contributions prior to the effective date of his retirement, and (iii) he has five or more years of creditable service (a) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (b) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (c) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138 for which his employer has paid the contributions and such contributions cannot be withdrawn. For the purposes of this subsection, any requirements as to the member being in service shall not apply. No member shall be entitled to the benefits of this subsection if his employer certifies that his service was terminated because of dishonesty, malfeasance, or misfeasance in office. The certification may be appealed to the Board.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

2. Any other member who terminates service after five or more years of creditable service (i) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (ii) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (iii) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138 may retire under the provisions of subdivision A 2 or B 2 if he has not withdrawn his accumulated contributions prior to the effective date of his retirement or if he has five or more years of creditable service (a) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (b) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or (c) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138 for which his employer has paid the contributions and such contributions cannot be withdrawn. For the purposes of this subsection, any requirements as to the member being in service shall not apply.

Effective December 31, 2003, any employee in service on June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2002, who is credited with five or more years of creditable service rendered under Chapter 1 (§ 51.1-100 et seq.) of this title, Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of this title, or this chapter shall not be subject to the vesting requirements of this section, and §§ 51.1-138 and 51.1-205.

D. Effective date of retirement. -- The effective date of retirement shall be after the last day of service, but shall not be more than 90 days prior to the filing of the notice of retirement.

E. Notification on behalf of member. -- If the member is physically or mentally unable to submit written notification of his intention to retire, the member's appointing authority may submit notification on his behalf.

1999, c. 585; 2000, cc. 66, 657, 911; 2001, c. 804; 2002, c. 466; 2004, c. 83; 2011, c. 483.

§ 51.1-217. Service retirement allowance.

A. A member shall receive an annual retirement allowance, payable for life, as follows:

1. Normal retirement.

a. Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 51.1-155, 51.1-155.1 and 51.1-155.2, for any employee commencing employment or reemployment on or after July 1, 2001, and for any employee who makes the election provided in § 51.1-221, the allowance shall equal (i) two percent of his average final compensation multiplied by the amount of creditable service earned (a) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (b) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of Title 51.1, or (c) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138; and (ii) 1.70 percent of his average final compensation multiplied by all other creditable service, if any; and

b. For any other employee, the allowance shall equal 1.70 percent of his average final compensation multiplied by the amount of creditable service.

2. Early retirement. -- The allowance shall be determined in the same manner as for normal retirement with creditable service and average final compensation being determined as of the date of actual retirement.

a. For an individual retiring pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 51.1-216, who is not retiring directly from service as an employee as defined in § 51.1-212, and who has less than thirty years of service shall retire under the provisions of the retirement system for which he is a member as of his retirement date; and

b. For all other individuals retiring pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 51.1-216, and for an individual retiring pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 51.1-216 who has less than twenty-five years of service at retirement, the amount of the retirement allowance shall be reduced on an actuarial equivalent basis for the period by which the actual retirement date precedes the earlier of (i) his normal retirement date or (ii) the first date on or after his fiftieth birthday on which he would have completed a total of twenty-five years of creditable service.

B. Any person who is an employee on June 30, 2001, and on July 1, 2001, who does not make the election provided in § 51.1-221, shall receive, in addition to the allowance payable under subsection A, from the date of his retirement until his sixty-fifth birthday, an annual allowance equal to $9,264. Beginning July 1, 2001, and biennially thereafter, such allowance shall be reviewed and adjusted by the Board to an amount recommended by the actuary of the Virginia Retirement System based upon increases in Social Security benefits in the interim. This subsection shall not apply to the following: (i) any member who qualifies for retirement under subsection C of § 51.1-216 and is credited with less than twenty years' service rendered in a hazardous position or (ii) any member employed initially on or after July 1, 1974, who is credited with less than twenty years' service rendered in a hazardous position.

C. If a beneficiary of a service retirement allowance under this chapter is at any time in service as an employee in a position covered for retirement purposes under the provisions of this or any chapter other than Chapter 7 (§ 51.1-700 et seq.) of this title, his retirement allowance shall cease while so employed.

D. No person shall be eligible to receive any of the allowances provided in this section if he receives retirement benefits under Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of Title 51.1 or under § 51.1-138. No person shall receive any allowance pursuant to subdivision A 1 (i) if he has received an allowance pursuant to subsection B of § 51.1-206 or subsection B of § 51.1-217, unless, after receiving the allowance pursuant to subsection B of § 51.1-206 or subsection B of § 51.1-217, he becomes employed or reemployed as an employee defined in § 51.1-212, and thereafter earns five or more years of creditable service (a) as a member in the retirement system established by this chapter, (b) as a member in the retirement system established by Chapter 2 (§ 51.1-200 et seq.) of Title 51.1, or (c) while earning the benefits permitted by § 51.1-138.

1999, c. 585; 2000, c. 911; 2001, c. 804; 2002, c. 466.

§ 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.

§ 51.1-219. Post-retirement supplements.

In computing the amount of any post-retirement supplements, any additional allowances being paid under the provisions of subsection B of § 51.1-217 shall be disregarded.

1999, c. 585.

§ 51.1-220. Disability benefit.

Any member in service who (i) is credited with at least twenty years of service in a hazardous duty position and (ii) meets the (a) requirements for a disability retirement allowance under § 51.1-156 and (b) minimum age requirements of § 51.1-216 may elect to receive the higher of the disability retirement allowance payable under Article 9 (§ 51.1-152 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of this title or the service retirement allowance payable under § 51.1-217 less any reduction in allowance required by subsection C of § 51.1-157 or by § 51.1-158.

1999, c. 585.

§ 51.1-221. Election of benefits.

All persons who are employees on June 30, 2001, and on July 1, 2001, shall have until October 31, 2001, to make an irrevocable election to be covered by the benefits provided in subdivision A 1 a of § 51.1-217.

2001, c. 804.