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Minnesota Legislature

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490.124 Maturity of benefits; retirement and survivors' annuities.

Subdivision 1. Basic retirement annuity. Except as qualified hereinafter from and after mandatory retirement date, normal retirement date, early retirement date, or one year from the disability retirement date, as the case may be, a retirement annuity shall be payable to a retiring judge from the judges' retirement fund in an amount equal to: (1) the percent specified in section 356.19, subdivision 7, multiplied by the judge's final average compensation multiplied by the number of years and fractions of years of allowable service rendered prior to July 1, 1980; plus (2) the percent specified in section 356.19, subdivision 8, multiplied by the judge's final average compensation multiplied by the number of years and fractions of years of allowable service rendered after June 30, 1980; provided that the annuity must not exceed 70 percent of the judge's annual salary for the 12 months immediately preceding retirement.

Subd. 2. Minimum service requirement; extension of term. No judge shall be eligible for an annuity at normal or early retirement date if the judge has less than five years of allowable service. A judge who shall retire on or, as permitted under sections 490.121 to 490.132, after mandatory retirement date, shall be entitled to a proportionate annuity based upon the allowable service of the judge at date of retirement.

A judge who was in office on December 31, 1973, and thereafter and who, by the date on which the current term expires, would not be eligible to retire with full benefits under statutes in effect on December 31, 1973, may apply to the governor for an extension to serve up to three additional years, stating the intention of the judge to retire upon attaining eligibility to receive a retirement allowance. Notwithstanding section 490.125, the governor shall forthwith make a written order accepting the retirement application, and extending the term of office of the judge for the period of time, not to exceed three years, as may be necessary to make the judge eligible for retirement, solely for purposes of computing benefits hereunder.

Subd. 3. Early retirement. The retirement annuity provided by subdivision 1 of any judge electing to retire at an early retirement date shall be reduced by one-half of one percent per month from the retirement date to normal retirement date.

Subd. 4. Disability retirement. From and after disability retirement date, a disabled judge shall be entitled to continuation of the judge's full salary payable by the judge's employer, as if the judge's office were not vacated by retirement, for a period of up to one full year, but in no event beyond the judge's mandatory retirement date. During this year the judge will earn additional service credit. The salary earned will be subject to retirement deductions and will be included in computing final average compensation. Thereafter a disability retirement annuity computed as provided in subdivision 1 shall be paid, provided that the judge shall receive a minimum annuity of 25 percent of the judge's final average compensation.

Subd. 5. Deferred benefits. (a) Any benefit to which a judge is entitled under this section may be deferred until early or normal retirement date, notwithstanding termination of such judge's service prior thereto.

(b) The retirement annuity of, or the survivor benefit payable on behalf of, a former judge, who terminated service before July 1, 1997, which is not first payable until after June 30, 1997, must be increased on an actuarial equivalent basis to reflect the change in the postretirement interest rate actuarial assumption under section 356.215, subdivision 4d, from five percent to six percent under a calculation procedure and tables adopted by the board of directors of the Minnesota state retirement system and approved by the actuary retained by the legislative commission on pensions and retirement.

Subd. 6. Part-time judges. Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, except as provided herein, service by a judge who was not paid an annual salary or who served in a jurisdiction in which the judge was entitled to practice law while serving as a judge shall be credited only at one-half of the regular rate. Any period of part time uncredited judicial service may be credited service for the purposes of sections 490.121 to 490.132 only if:

(a) The judge or the judge's employer pays to the judges' retirement fund a sum equal to the rate of employee tax specified in the Federal Insurance Contributions Act during the period of part time service applied to one-half of the average salary earned during the period of part-time service, plus accrued interest thereon at the rate of five percent per year compounded annually from the period of service so credited to the date payment is made;

(b) The payment is made in not more than 36 monthly installments; and

(c) The judge shall elect to make the payment and shall commence doing so within 90 days after the commencement of the judge's first term in office.

Subd. 7. Repealed, 1977 c 432 s 49

Subd. 8. Exclusive normal retirement benefits. Any judge who retires after December 31, 1973, shall be entitled to a retirement pension, retirement compensation or other retirement payment under statutes applicable solely to judges pursuant to this section only, except that any such judge in office prior to January 1, 1974, who retires at or after normal retirement age may then elect to receive during the judge's lifetime a normal retirement annuity computed on the basis of retirement compensation provided for such judge under statutes in effect on December 31, 1973, in lieu of the amount of normal retirement annuity otherwise computed under sections 490.121 to 490.132. For purposes of this subdivision, the conciliation court of the city of Duluth shall be deemed to have been a court of record by the statutes in effect on December 31, 1973.

Subd. 9. Survivors' annuity. Upon the death of a judge prior to retirement, or upon the death of a person who has qualified for an annuity but who ceases to be a judge prior to retirement and has not received a refund of contributions pursuant to subdivision 12, a surviving spouse or, if there be no surviving spouse, dependent children, shall receive an annuity, payable monthly, equal to 60 percent of the normal retirement annuity which would have been payable to the judge or former judge had the date of death been the normal retirement date, provided that the surviving spouse or dependent children shall receive an annuity of not less than 25 percent of the judge's or former judge's final average compensation.

If a judge, whose surviving spouse was not entitled to survivors benefits provided solely for judges under statutes in effect prior to January 1, 1974, shall have died prior to retirement on or after May 23, 1973 and before January 1, 1974, a surviving spouse and dependent children, if any, shall be entitled to survivors benefits as provided hereunder as if such judge had died on January 1, 1974.

Subd. 10. Prior survivors' benefits; limitation. Benefits provided pursuant to section 490.102, subdivision 6, or 490.1091, for a surviving spouse of a retired judge, payable after the death of the judge, shall be limited to:

(a) Spouses of judges who have retired prior to January 1, 1974; and

(b) Spouses of judges in office on December 31, 1973 and thereafter who elect to continue contributions pursuant to section 490.102, subdivision 6 or 490.109. The contributions shall be in addition to contributions pursuant to section 490.123, and upon retirement the judge may not elect to receive any optional annuity pursuant to subdivision 11 unless the judge and the spouse shall waive any benefits pursuant to section 490.102, subdivision 6 or 490.1091.

No other judge in office on or after January 1, 1974, shall be required to contribute pursuant to section 490.102, subdivision 6 or 490.109.

Subd. 11. Optional annuities. No survivor or death benefits may be paid in connection with the death of a judge who retires after December 31, 1973, except as otherwise provided in sections 490.121 to 490.132. Except as provided in subdivision 10, a judge may elect to receive, instead of the normal retirement annuity, an optional retirement annuity in the form of an annuity payable for a period certain and for life after that period, a joint and survivor annuity without reinstatement in the event of the designated beneficiary predeceasing the retired judge, or a joint and survivor annuity with reinstatement in the event of the designated beneficiary predeceasing the retired judge. An optional retirement annuity must be actuarially equivalent to a single-life annuity with no term certain and must be established by the board of directors of the Minnesota state retirement system. In establishing these optional retirement annuity forms, the board shall obtain the written recommendation of the actuary retained by the legislative commission on pensions and retirement. The recommendations must be a part of the permanent records of the board.

Subd. 12. Refund. (a) Any person who ceases to be a judge but who does not qualify for a retirement annuity or other benefit under section 490.121 shall be entitled to a refund in an amount equal to all the person's contributions to the judges' retirement fund plus interest computed to the first day of the month in which the refund is processed based on fiscal year balances at an annual rate of five percent compounded annually.

(b) A refund of contributions under paragraph (a) terminates all service credits and all rights and benefits of the judge and the judge's survivors. A person who becomes a judge again after taking a refund under paragraph (a) may reinstate previously terminated service credits, rights, and benefits by repaying all refunds. A repayment must include interest at an annual rate of 8.5 percent compounded annually.

Subd. 13. Death refund. If a judge who has not received other benefits under this chapter dies and there are no survivor benefits payable under this chapter, a refund plus interest as provided in subdivision 12 is payable to the last designated beneficiary named on a form filed with the director before the death of the judge, or if no designation is on file, the refund is payable to the estate of the deceased judge.

HIST: 1973 c 744 s 4; 1974 c 406 s 92; 1975 c 418 s 3,4; 1978 c 626 s 2,3; 1979 c 296 s 3; 1980 c 607 art 15 s 17; 1981 c 224 s 229-232; 1981 c 319 s 1,2; 1983 c 128 s 35; 1983 c 286 s 22; 1984 c 574 s 16; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 259 s 80; 1988 c 709 art 9 s 4; art 10 s 2; 1989 c 319 art 5 s 7; 1991 c 345 art 1 s 104; 1992 c 432 art 1 s 10; 1992 c 598 art 1 s 13; 1993 c 307 art 1 s 41,42; 1996 c 438 art 1 s 4; 1997 c 233 art 1 s 66,67