2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Stringer
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-11-117, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM TO PROVIDE A TEMPORARY BENEFIT TO MEMBERS WHO HAVE APPLIED FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS, TO BE PAID FROM THE MEMBER'S ACCUMULATED CONTRIBUTIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-11-117, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-11-117. (1) A member may be paid a refund of the amount of accumulated contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account, provided that the member has withdrawn from state service and * * * has not returned to state service on the date the refund of the accumulated contributions would be paid. That refund of the contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account shall be paid within ninety (90) days from receipt in the office of the retirement system of the properly completed form requesting the payment. In the event of death before retirement of any member whose spouse and/or children are not entitled to a retirement allowance, the accumulated contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be paid to the designated beneficiary on file in writing in the office of the executive director of the board of trustees within ninety (90) days from receipt of a properly completed form requesting the payment. If there is no such designated beneficiary on file for the deceased member in the office of the system, upon the filing of a proper request with the board, the contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be refunded pursuant to Section 25-11-117.1(1). The payment of the refund shall discharge all obligations of the retirement system to the member on account of any creditable service rendered by the member prior to the receipt of the refund. By the acceptance of the refund, the member shall waive and relinquish all accrued rights in the system.
(2) Under the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 102-318 (UCA)), a member or the spouse of a member who is an eligible beneficiary entitled to a refund under this section may elect, on a form prescribed by the board under rules and regulations established by the board, to have an eligible rollover distribution of accumulated contributions payable under this section paid directly to an eligible retirement plan, as defined under applicable federal law, or an individual retirement account. If the member or the spouse of a member who is an eligible beneficiary makes that election and specifies the eligible retirement plan or individual retirement account to which the distribution is to be paid, the distribution will be made in the form of a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to the specified eligible retirement plan. Flexible rollovers under this subsection shall not be considered assignments under Section 25-11-129.
(3) If any person who has received a refund reenters the state service and again becomes a member of the system, the member may repay all or part of the amounts previously received as a refund, together with regular interest covering the period from the date of refund to the date of repayment; * * * however, * * * the amounts that are repaid by the member and the creditable service related thereto shall not be used in any benefit calculation or determination until the member has remained a contributor to the system for a period of at least four (4) years after the member's reentry into state service. Repayment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service for which refund has been made. Upon the repayment of all or part of that refund and interest, the member shall again receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full repayment has been made to the system.
(4) (a) In order to provide a source of income to members who have applied for disability benefits under Sections 25-11-113 or 25-11-114, the board may provide, at the employee's election, a temporary benefit to be paid from the member's accumulated contributions, if any, without forfeiting the right to pursue disability benefits, provided that the member has exhausted all personal and medical leave and has terminated his or her employment. The board may prescribe rules and regulations for carrying out the provisions of this subsection (4).
(b) If a member who has elected to receive temporary benefits under this subsection later applies for a refund of his or her accumulated contributions, all amounts paid under this subsection shall be deducted from the accumulated contributions and the balance will be paid to the member. If a member who has elected to receive temporary benefits under this subsection is later approved for a disability retirement allowance, and a service retirement allowance or survivor benefits are paid on the account, the board shall adjust the benefits in such a manner that no more than the actuarial equivalent of the benefits to which the member or beneficiary was or is entitled shall be paid.
(c) The board may study, develop and propose a disability benefit structure, including short and long term disability benefits, provided that it is the actuarial equivalent of the benefits currently provided in Sections 25-11-113 or 25-11-114.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.