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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 5 - 10 - 15 §5-10-15. Military service credit; qualified military service.

     (a) (1) The Legislature recognizes the men and women of this state who have served in the armed forces of the United States during times of war, conflict and danger. It is the intent of this subsection to confer military service credit upon persons who are eligible at any time for public employees retirement benefits for any time served in active duty in the armed forces of the United States, regardless of whether the person was a public employee at the time of entering the military service.

     (2) In addition to any benefit provided by federal law, any member of the retirement system who has previously served in or enters the active service of the armed forces of the United States, including active duty in the National Guard performed pursuant to Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code, shall receive credited service for the time spent in the armed forces of the United States, not to exceed five years, if the member:

     (A) Has been honorably discharged from the armed forces; and

     (B) Substantiates by appropriate documentation or evidence his or her active military service.

     If a member of the retirement system enters the active service of the armed forces of the United States, the member's contributions to the retirement system are suspended during the period of the active service and until the member's return to the employ of a participating public employer, and any credit balance remaining in the member's deposit fund shall accumulate regular interest: Provided, That notwithstanding any provision in this article to the contrary, if an employee of a participating political subdivision serving on active duty in the military has accumulated credited service prior to the last entry into military service, in an amount that, added to the time in active military service while an employee equals nine or more years, and the member is unable to resume employment with a participating employer upon completion of duty due to death during or as a result of active service, all time spent in active military service, up to and including a total of five years, is considered to be credited service and death benefits are vested in the member: Provided, however, That the active service during the time the member is an employee must be as a result of an order or call to duty, and not as a result of volunteering for assignment or volunteering to extend the time in service beyond the time required by order or call.

     (b) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to any member who first becomes an employee of a participating public employer on or after July 1, 2015. This subsection does not apply to any member who first became an employee of a participating public employer before July 1, 2015.

     (1) A member who first becomes an employee of a participating public employer on or after July 1, 2015, may purchase up to sixty months of military service credit for time served in active military duty prior to first becoming an employee of a participating public employer if all of the following conditions are met:

     (A) The member has completed at least twelve consecutive months of contributory service upon first becoming an employee of a participating public employer;

     (B) The active military duty occurs prior to the date on which the member first becomes an employee of a participating public employer; and

     (C) The employee pays to the retirement system the actuarial reserve purchase amount within forty-eight months after the date on which employer and employee contributions are first received by the retirement system for the member and while he or she continues to be in the employ of a participating public employer and contributing to the retirement system: Provided, That any employee who ceases employment with a participating public employer before completing the required actuarial reserve purchase amount in full shall not be eligible to purchase the military service.

     (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), subdivision (1) of this subsection, a member who first becomes an employee of a participating public employer on or after July 1, 2015, but who does not remain employed and contributing to the retirement system for at least twelve consecutive months after his or her initial employment, shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (A), subdivision (1) of this subsection the first time he or she becomes an employee of a participating public employer and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributing service. Such a member shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (C), subdivision (1) of this subsection if he or she pays to the retirement system the actuarial reserve purchase amount within forty-eight months after the date on which employer and employee contributions are first received by the retirement system for the member the first time he or she becomes an employee of a participating public employer and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributing service, and while he or she continues to be in the employ of a participating public employer and contributing to the retirement system.

     (3) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), subdivision (1) of this subsection, a member who first becomes an employee of a participating public employer on or after July 1, 2015, as an elected official, shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (A), subdivision (1) of this subsection after remaining employed for the first twelve consecutive months of his or her term and first becoming an employee, regardless of whether a salary is paid to the employee for each such month. An elected official who does not elect to begin participating in the retirement system upon first becoming an employee of a participating public employer as an elected official is not eligible to purchase military service credit pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection.

     (4) A member who first becomes an employee of a participating public employer on or after July 1, 2015, may purchase military service credit for active military duty performed on or after the date he or she first becomes an employee of a participating public employer only if all of the following conditions are met: Provided, That the maximum military service credit such member may purchase shall take into account any military service credit purchased for active military duty pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection in addition to any military service credit purchased pursuant to this subdivision:

     (A) The member was an employee of a participating public employer, terminated employment and experienced a break in contributing service in the retirement system of one or more months, performed active military service while not an employee of the participating public employer and not contributing to the retirement system, then again becomes an employee of a participating public employer and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributory service;

     (B) The member does not qualify for military service credit for such active military duty pursuant to subsection (d) of this section; and

     (C) The member pays to the retirement system the actuarial reserve lump sum purchase amount within forty-eight months after the date on which employer and employee contributions are first received by the retirement system for the member after he or she again becomes an employee of a participating public employer immediately following the period of active military duty and break in service and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributory service and while he or she continues to be in the employ of a participating public employer and contributing to the retirement system.

     (5) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), subdivision (4) of this subsection, a member who otherwise meets the requirements of said paragraph, but who does not remain employed and contributing to the retirement system for at least twelve consecutive months when he or she first becomes an employee of a participating public employer after the period of active military duty and break in service, shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (A), subdivision (4) of this subsection the first time he or she again becomes an employee of a participating public employer and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributing service. Such a member shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (C), subdivision (4) of this subsection if he or she pays to the retirement system the actuarial reserve lump sum purchase amount within forty-eight months after the date on which employer and employee contributions are first received by the retirement system for the member for the first time he or she again becomes an employee of a participating public employer and completes at least twelve consecutive months of contributing service, and while he or she continues to be in the employ of a participating public employer and contributing to the retirement system.

     (6) Notwithstanding paragraph (A), subdivision (4) of this subsection, a member who becomes an employee of a participating public employer after such a period of active military duty and break in service as an elected official shall be considered to have met the requirement of paragraph (A), subdivision (4) of this subsection after remaining employed for the first twelve consecutive months of his or her term after again becoming an employee, regardless of whether a salary is paid to the employee for each such month. Such an individual must elect to begin participating in the retirement system immediately upon again becoming an employee of a participating public employer after the period of active military duty and break in service.

     (7) For purposes of this subsection, the following definitions apply:

     (A) "Active military duty" means full-time active duty in the armed forces of the United States for a period of thirty or more consecutive calendar days. Active military duty does not include inactive duty of any kind.

     (B) "Actuarial reserve purchase amount" means the purchase annuity rate multiplied by the purchase accrued benefit, calculated as of the calculation month, plus annual interest accruing at seven and one-half percent from the calculation month through the purchase month, compounded monthly: Provided, That if the employee elects to pay the full purchase amount on an installment or partial payment basis, the actuarial reserve purchase amount will include the lump sum payment plus additional interest accruing at seven and one-half percent until the purchase amount is paid in full.

     (C) "Armed forces of the United States" means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the reserve components thereof, and the National Guard of the United States or the National Guard of a state or territory when members of the same are on full-time active duty pursuant to Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code.

     (D) "Calculation month" means the month immediately following the month in which the member completes the twelve consecutive months of contributory service with a participating public employer required by this subsection, as applicable.

     (E) "Purchase accrued benefit" means two percent times the purchase military service times the purchase average monthly salary.

     (F) "Purchase age" means the age of the employee in years and completed months as of the first day of the calculation month.

     (G) "Purchase annuity rate" means the actuarial lump sum annuity factor calculated as of the calculation month based on the following actuarial assumptions: Interest rate of seven and one-half percent; mortality of the 1971 group annuity mortality table, fifty percent blended male and female rates, applied on a unisex basis to all members; if purchase age is under age sixty- two, a deferred annuity factor with payments commencing at age sixty-two; and if purchase age is sixty-two or over, an immediate annuity factor with payments starting at the purchase age.

     (H) "Purchase average monthly salary" means the average monthly salary of the member during the months two through twelve of the twelve consecutive month period required by this subsection of this section, as applicable.

     (I) "Purchase military service" means the amount of military service being purchased by the employee in months up to the sixty- month maximum, calculated in accordance with subdivision (9) of this subsection.

     (J) "Purchase month" means the month in which the employee deposits the actuarial reserve lump sum purchase amount in full payment of the service credit being purchased or makes the final payment of the actuarial reserve purchase amount into the plan trust fund in full payment of the service credit being purchased.

     (8) A member may purchase military service credit for a period of active military duty pursuant to this subsection only if the member received an honorable discharge for such period. Anything other than an honorable discharge, including, but not limited to, a general or under honorable conditions discharge, an entry-level separation discharge, an other than honorable conditions discharge or a dishonorable discharge, shall disqualify the member from receiving military service credit for the period of service.

     (9) To calculate the amount of military service credit a member may purchase, the board shall add the total number of days in each period of a member's active military duty eligible to be purchased, divide the total by thirty, and round up or down to the nearest integer (fractions of 0.5 shall be rounded up), in order to yield the total number of months of military service credit a member may purchase, subject to the sixty-month maximum. A member may purchase all or part of the maximum amount of military service credit he or she is eligible for in one-month increments.

     (10) To receive credit, a member must submit a request to purchase military service credit to the board, on such form or in such other manner as shall be required by the board, within the twelve consecutive month period required by this subsection, as applicable. The board shall then calculate the actuarial reserve lump sum purchase amount, which amount must be paid by the member within the 48-month period required by this subsection, as applicable. A member purchasing military service credit pursuant to this subsection must do so in a single, lump sum payment: Provided, That the board may accept partial, installment or other similar payments if the employee executes a contract with the board specifying the amount of military service to be purchased and the payments required: Provided, however, That any failure to pay the contract amount in accordance with this section shall be treated as an overpayment or excess contribution subject to section forty-four of this article and no military service shall be credited.

     (11) The board shall require a member requesting military service credit to provide official documentation establishing that the requirements set forth in this subsection have been met.

     (12) Military service credit purchased pursuant to this subsection may not be considered contributing service credit or contributory service for purposes of this article.

     (13) If a member who has purchased military service credit pursuant to this subsection is eligible for and requests a withdrawal of accumulated contributions pursuant to the provisions of this article, he or she shall also receive a refund of the actuarial reserve purchase amount he or she paid to the retirement system to purchase military service credit, together with regular interest on such amount.

     (c) No period of military service may be used to obtain credit in more than one retirement system administered by the board and once used in any system, a period of military service may not be used again in any other system.

     (d) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, contributions, benefits and service credit with respect to qualified military service shall be provided in accordance with Section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code and the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and regulations promulgated thereunder, as the same may be amended from time to time. For purposes of this section, "qualified military service" has the same meaning as in Section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code.

     (e) In any case of doubt as to the period of service to be credited a member under the provisions of this section, the board has final power to determine the period. Notwithstanding the provisions of section three-a of this article, the provisions of this section are not subject to liberal construction. The board is authorized to determine all questions and make all decisions relating to this section and, pursuant to the authority granted to the board in section one, article ten-d of this chapter, may propose rules to administer this section for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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