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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 51 - 9 - 6 §51-9-6. Eligibility for and payment of benefits.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in sections five, six-d, twelve and thirteen of this article, and subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section, any person who is now serving, or who shall hereafter serve, as a judge of any court of record of this state and shall have served as such judge for a period of not less than sixteen full years and shall have reached the age of sixty-five years, or who has served as judge of such court or of that court and other courts of record of the state for a period of sixteen full years or more (whether continuously or not and whether said service be entirely before or after this article became effective, or partly before and partly after said date, and whether or not said judge shall be in office on the date he or she shall become eligible to benefits hereunder) and shall have reached the age of sixty-five years, or who is now serving, or who shall hereafter serve, as a judge of any court of record of this state and shall have served as such judge for a period of not less than twenty-four full years, regardless of age, shall, upon a determination and certification of his or her eligibility as provided in section nine hereof, be paid from the fund annual retirement benefits, so long as he or she shall live, in an amount equal to seventy-five percent of the annual salary of the office from which he or she has retired based upon such salary of such office and as such salary may be changed from time to time during the period of his or her retirement and the amount of his or her retirement benefits shall be based upon and be equal to seventy-five percent of the highest annual salary of such office for any one calendar year during the period of his or her retirement and shall be payable in monthly installments: Provided, That such retirement benefits shall be paid only after such judge has resigned as such or, for any reason other than his or her impeachment, his or her service as such has ended: Provided, however, That every such person seeking to retire and to receive the annual retirement benefits provided by this subsection must have served a minimum of twelve years as a sitting judge of any such court of record: Provided further, That every individual who is appointed or elected for the first time as judge of a court of record of this state after the first day of July, two thousand five, who subsequently seeks to retire and to receive the annual retirement benefits provided by this subsection must have served a minimum of fourteen years as a sitting judge of any court of record.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article with the exception of sections twelve-a and twelve-b, any person who is now serving or who shall hereafter serve as a judge of any court of record of this state and who shall have accumulated sixteen years or more of credited service, at least twelve years of which is as a sitting judge of a court of record, and who has attained the age of sixty-two years or more but less than the age of sixty-five years, may elect to retire from his or her office and to receive the pension to which he or she would otherwise be entitled to receive at age sixty-five, but with an actuarial reduction of pension benefit to be established as a reduced annuity receivable throughout retirement: Provided, That every individual who is appointed or elected for the first time as judge of a court of record of this state after the first day of July, two thousand five, who subsequently seeks to retire and to receive the annual retirement benefits provided by this subsection must have served a minimum of fourteen years as a sitting judge of any court of record. The reduced percentage (less than seventy-five percent) actuarially computed, determined and established at time of retirement in respect of this reduced pension benefit shall also continue and be applicable to any subsequent new annual salary set for the office from which such judge has retired and as such salary may be changed from time to time during the period of his or her retirement.

(c) In determining eligibility for the benefits provided by this section, active full-time duty (including leaves and furloughs) in the armed forces of the United States shall be eligible for qualification as credited military service for the purposes of this article by any judge with twelve or more years actual service as a sitting judge of a court of record, such awardable military service to not exceed five years: Provided, That in determining eligibility for the benefits provided by this section for every individual who is appointed or elected for the first time as judge of a court of record of this state after the first day of July, two thousand five, active full-time duty (including leaves and furloughs) in the armed forces of the United States qualifies as credited service for the purposes of this article for any judge with fourteen or more years actual service as a sitting judge of a court of record of this state, the awardable military service not to exceed five years.

(d) If a judge of a court of record who is presently sitting as such on the effective date of the amendments to this section enacted by the Legislature at its regular session held in the year one thousand nine hundred eighty-seven and who has served for a period of not less than twelve full years and has made payments into the judges' retirement fund as provided in this article for each month during which he or she served as judge, following the effective date of this section, any portion of time which he or she had served as prosecuting attorney in any county in this state shall qualify as years of service, if such judge shall pay those sums required to be paid pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article: Provided, That any term of office as prosecuting attorney, or part thereof, commencing after the thirty-first day of December, one thousand nine hundred eighty-eight, shall not hereafter in any way qualify as eligible years of service under this retirement system. For purposes of this article, eligible service as a "prosecuting attorney" or as a "prosecutor" does not include any service as an assistant prosecuting attorney. The amendment to this subsection during the third extraordinary session in the year two thousand five is not for the purpose of changing existing law but is intended to clarify the intent of the Legislature as to existing law regarding eligibility for benefits for service as a prosecuting attorney since its initial enactment and this clarification shall be applied retrospectively to the effective date of this section and any predecessor acts in which service as a prosecuting attorney was initially determined by statute to qualify as eligible years of service under the retirement system provided by this article.

(e) Any retirement benefit accruing under the provisions of this section shall not be paid if otherwise barred under the provisions of article ten-a, chapter five of this code.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, forfeitures under the system shall not be applied to increase the benefits any member would otherwise receive under the system.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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