Senate Bill No. 312
(By Senators Kessler (Acting President and Klempa)
[Introduced January 27, 2011; referred to the Committee on Pensions; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §5-10-25 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the Public Employees Retirement System; and preventing reduction of disability pensions at age sixty-five.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §5-10-25 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 10. WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT ACT.
§5-10-25. Disability retirement.
(a) Upon the application of a member or former member of the retirement system, or his or her present or past employing authority, any member or former member who is in the employ of a participating public employer or was in the employ of a participating public employer on a date which is twelve months or less from the date upon which the former member became incapacitated, who has ten or more years of credited service of which three years is contributing service, and who becomes totally and permanently incapacitated for employment, by reason of a personal injury or disease, may be retired by the board if after a medical examination of the said member or former member made by or under the direction of a medical committee consisting of two physicians, one of whom shall be is named by the board, and one by the said member or former member, the said medical committee reports, in writing, to the board that the said member or former member is physically or mentally totally incapacitated for employment, that such the incapacity will probably be permanent, and that the said member or former member should be retired. In the event the two above-mentioned examining physicians do not agree in their findings, then the board may, at its discretion, appoint a third physician to examine said the member or former member and, based upon the third physician’s report in writing, the board may retire said the member or former member. A former member who has not been employed by a participating public employer may receive disability retirement under the provisions of this subsection if, in the opinion of the medical committee, the incapacity occurred during the time that the former member was employed by a participating public employer and the incapacity otherwise qualifies the former member for retirement under this subsection.
(b) A member with less than ten years of credited service shall have the service requirement provided for in subsection (a) above, (including the requirement of three years contributing service) waived in the event: (1) The board finds his or her total and permanent disability to be the natural and proximate result of a personal injury or disease arising out of and in the course of his or her actual performance of duty in the employ of a participating public employer, and (2) he or she is receiving or has received workers’ compensation benefits on account of such the physical or mental disability.
(c) For any member or former member retiring and any member retired, as of March 1, 1970, he or she shall receive a straight life annuity computed according to section twenty-two hereof of this article and he or she shall have has the right to elect an option provided for in section twenty-four hereof of this article: Provided, That his or her straight life annuity payable to his or her attainment of age sixty-five years may not be less than fifty percent of his or her final average salary: and his or her said straight life annuity payable from and after his or her attainment of age sixty-five years may not be less than twenty percent of his or her final average salary Provided, however, That his or her said annuity shall be is subject to section twenty-six hereof of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prevent a reduction in the annuity of a person who retires with disability retirement at age sixty-five.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.