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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 5 - 10 - 27 §5-10-27. Preretirement death annuities.

     (a) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, in the event any member who has ten or more years of credited service or any former member with ten or more years of credited service and who is entitled to a deferred annuity, pursuant to section twenty- one of this article, may at any time prior to the effective date of his or her retirement, by written declaration duly executed and filed with the board of trustees, in the same manner as if he or she were then retiring from the employ of a participating public employer, elect option A provided in section twenty-four of this article and nominate a beneficiary whom the board finds to have had an insurable interest in the life of the member. Prior to the effective date of his or her retirement, a member may revoke his or her election of option A and nomination of beneficiary and he or she may again prior to his or her retirement elect option A and nominate a beneficiary as provided in this subsection. Upon the death of a member who has an option A election in force, his or her beneficiary, if living, shall immediately receive an annuity computed in the same manner in all respects as if the same member had retired the day preceding the date of his or her death, notwithstanding that he or she might not have attained age sixty years, and elected the said option A. If at the time of his or her retirement a member has an option A election in force, his or her election of option A and nomination of beneficiary shall thereafter continue in force. As an alternative to annuity option A, a member or former member may elect to have the preretirement death benefit paid as a return of accumulated contributions in a lump sum amount to any beneficiary or beneficiaries he or she chooses.

     (2) In the event any member or former member, who first became a member of the Public Employees Retirement System after the effective date of amendments made to this section during the 2006 regular legislative session and who has ten or more years of credited service and who is entitled to a deferred annuity, pursuant to section twenty-one of this article: Dies without leaving a surviving spouse; but leaves surviving him or her a child who is financially dependent on the member by virtue of a permanent mental or physical disability upon evidence satisfactory to the board; and has named the disabled child as sole beneficiary, the disabled child shall immediately receive an annuity computed in the same manner in all respects as if the member had: (A) Retired the day preceding the date of his or her death, notwithstanding that he or she might not have attained age sixty or sixty-two years, as the case may be; (B) elected option A provided in section twenty-four of this article; and (C) nominated his or her disabled child as beneficiary. A member or former member with ten or more years of credited service, who does not leave surviving him or her a spouse or a disabled child, may elect to have the preretirement death benefit paid as a return of accumulated contributions in a lump sum amount to any beneficiary or beneficiaries he or she chooses.

     (b)(1) In the event any member who has ten or more years of credited service, or any former member with ten or more years of credited service and who is entitled to a deferred annuity, pursuant to section twenty-one of this article: Dies; and leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse shall immediately receive an annuity computed in the same manner in all respects as if the member had: (A) Retired the day preceding the date of his or her death, notwithstanding that he or she might not have attained age sixty or sixty-two years, as the case may be; (B) elected option A provided in section twenty-four of this article; and (C) nominated his or her surviving spouse as beneficiary. However, the surviving spouse shall have the right to waive the annuity provided in this section: Provided, That he or she executes a valid and notarized waiver on a form provided by the board and that the member or former member attests to the waiver. If the waiver is presented to and accepted by the board, the member or former member, may nominate a beneficiary who has an insurable interest in the member's or former member's life. As an alternative to annuity option A, the member or former member may elect to have the preretirement death benefit paid as a return of accumulated contributions in a lump sum amount to any beneficiary or beneficiaries he or she chooses in the event a waiver, as provided in this section, has been presented to and accepted by the board.

     (2) Whenever any member or former member who first became a member of the retirement system after the effective date of the amendments to this section made during the 2006 regular legislative session and who has ten or more years of credited service and who is entitled to a deferred annuity, pursuant to section twenty-one of this article, dies and leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse shall immediately receive an annuity computed in the same manner in all respects as if the member had: (A) Retired the day preceding the date of his or her death, notwithstanding that he or she might not have attained age sixty or sixty-two years, as the case may be; (B) elected option A provided in section twenty-four of this article; and (C) nominated his or her surviving spouse as beneficiary. However, the surviving spouse shall have the right to waive the annuity provided in this section: Provided, That he or she executes a valid and notarized waiver on a form provided by the board and that the member or former member attests to the waiver. If the waiver is presented to and accepted by the board, the member or former member may: (1) Elect to have the preretirement death benefit paid in a lump sum amount, rather than annuity option A provided in section twenty-four of this article, as a return of accumulated contributions to any beneficiary or beneficiaries he or she chooses; or (2) may name his or her surviving child, who is financially dependent on the member by virtue of a permanent mental or physical disability, as his or her sole beneficiary to receive an annuity computed in the same manner in all respects as if the member had: (A) Retired the day preceding the date of his or her death, notwithstanding that he or she might not have attained the age of sixty or sixty-two as the case may be; (B) elected option A provided in section twenty-four of this article; and (C) nominated his or her disabled child as beneficiary.

     (c) In the event any member who has ten or more years of credited service or any former member with ten or more years of credited service and who is entitled to a deferred annuity, pursuant to section twenty-one of this article: (1) Dies without leaving surviving him or her a spouse; but (2) leaves surviving him or her an infant child or children; and (3) does not have a beneficiary nominated as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the infant child or children are entitled to an annuity to be calculated as follows: The annuity reserve shall be calculated as though the member had retired as of the date of his or her decease and elected a straight life annuity and the amount of the annuity reserve shall be paid in equal monthly installments to the member's infant child or children until the child or children attain age twenty-one or sooner marry or become emancipated; however, in no event shall any child or children receive more than $250 per month each. The annuity payments shall be computed as of the date of the death of the member and the amount of the annuity shall remain constant during the period of payment. The annual amount of the annuities payable by this section shall not exceed sixty percent of the deceased member's final average salary.

     (d) In the event any member or former member does not have ten or more years of credited service, no preretirement death annuity may be authorized, owed or awarded under this section, except as provided in subdivision (4), subsection (a), section fifteen of this article as amended during the 2005 regular session of the Legislature.

     (e) Any person qualified as a surviving dependent child under this section, who is the surviving dependent child of a law- enforcement officer who loses his or her life in the performance of duty, in addition to any other benefits due under this or other sections of this article is entitled to receive a scholarship to be applied to the career development education of that person. This sum, up to but not exceeding $7,500 per year, shall be paid from the fund to any higher education institution in this state, career- technical education provider in this state or other entity in this state approved by the board, to offset the expenses of tuition, room and board, books, fees or other costs incurred in a course of study at any of those institutions so long as the recipient makes application to the board on an approved form and under rules as provided by the board and maintains scholastic eligibility as defined by the institution or the board. The board may by appropriate rules define age requirements, physical and mental requirements, scholastic eligibility, disbursement methods, institutional qualifications and other requirements as necessary and not inconsistent with this section. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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