23-2301. Terms, defined.

For purposes of the County Employees Retirement Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)(a) Actuarial equivalent means the equality in value of the aggregate amounts expected to be received under different forms of an annuity payment.

(b) For a member hired prior to January 1, 2018, the mortality assumption used for purposes of converting the member cash balance account shall be the 1994 Group Annuity Mortality Table using a unisex rate that is fifty percent male and fifty percent female. For purposes of converting the member cash balance account attributable to contributions made prior to January 1, 1984, that were transferred pursuant to the act, the 1994 Group Annuity Mortality Table for males shall be used.

(c) For a member hired on or after January 1, 2018, or rehired on or after January 1, 2018, after termination of employment and being paid a retirement benefit or taking a refund of contributions, the mortality assumption used for purposes of converting the member cash balance account shall be a unisex mortality table that is recommended by the actuary and approved by the board following an actuarial experience study, a benefit adequacy study, or a plan valuation. The mortality table and actuarial factors in effect on the member's retirement date will be used to calculate the actuarial equivalency of any retirement benefit;

(2) Annuity means equal monthly payments provided by the retirement system to a member or beneficiary under forms determined by the board beginning the first day of the month after an annuity election is received in the office of the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems or the first day of the month after the employee's termination of employment, whichever is later. The last payment shall be at the end of the calendar month in which the member dies or in accordance with the payment option chosen by the member;

(3) Annuity start date means the date upon which a member's annuity is first effective and shall be the first day of the month following the member's termination or following the date the application is received by the board, whichever is later;

(4) Cash balance benefit means a member's retirement benefit that is equal to an amount based on annual employee contribution credits plus interest credits and, if vested, employer contribution credits plus interest credits and dividend amounts credited in accordance with subdivision (4)(c) of section 23-2317;

(5)(a) Compensation means gross wages or salaries payable to the member for personal services performed during the plan year. Compensation does not include insurance premiums converted into cash payments, reimbursement for expenses incurred, fringe benefits, per diems, or bonuses for services not actually rendered, including, but not limited to, early retirement inducements, cash awards, and severance pay, except for retroactive salary payments paid pursuant to court order, arbitration, or litigation and grievance settlements. Compensation includes overtime pay, member retirement contributions, and amounts contributed by the member to plans under sections 125, 403(b), and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code or any other section of the code which defers or excludes such amounts from income.

(b) Compensation in excess of the limitations set forth in section 401(a)(17) of the Internal Revenue Code shall be disregarded. For an employee who was a member of the retirement system before the first plan year beginning after December 31, 1995, the limitation on compensation shall not be less than the amount which was allowed to be taken into account under the retirement system as in effect on July 1, 1993;

(6) Date of adoption of the retirement system by each county means the first day of the month next following the date of approval of the retirement system by the county board or January 1, 1987, whichever is earlier;

(7) Date of disability means the date on which a member is determined by the board to be disabled;

(8) Defined contribution benefit means a member's retirement benefit from a money purchase plan in which member benefits equal annual contributions and earnings pursuant to section 23-2309 and, if vested, employer contributions and earnings pursuant to section 23-2310;

(9) Disability means an inability to engage in any substantially gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which was initially diagnosed or became disabling while the member was an active participant in the plan and which can be expected to result in death or be of a long-continued and indefinite duration;

(10) Employee means all persons or officers who are employed by a county of the State of Nebraska on a permanent basis, persons or officers employed by or serving in a municipal county formed by at least one county participating in the retirement system, persons employed as provided in section 2-1608, all elected officers of a county, and such other persons or officers as are classified from time to time as permanent employees by the county board of the county by which they are employed, except that employee does not include judges, employees or officers of any county having a population in excess of two hundred fifty thousand inhabitants as determined by the most recent federal decennial census, or, except as provided in section 23-2306, persons making contributions to the School Employees Retirement System of the State of Nebraska;

(11) Employee contribution credit means an amount equal to the member contribution amount required by section 23-2307;

(12) Employer contribution credit means an amount equal to the employer contribution amount required by section 23-2308;

(13) Final account value means the value of a member's account on the date the account is either distributed to the member or used to purchase an annuity from the plan, which date shall occur as soon as administratively practicable after receipt of a valid application for benefits, but no sooner than forty-five days after the member's termination;

(14) Five-year break in service means a period of five consecutive one-year breaks in service;

(15) Full-time employee means an employee who is employed to work one-half or more of the regularly scheduled hours during each pay period;

(16) Future service means service following the date of adoption of the retirement system;

(17) Guaranteed investment contract means an investment contract or account offering a return of principal invested plus interest at a specified rate. For investments made after July 19, 1996, guaranteed investment contract does not include direct obligations of the United States or its instrumentalities, bonds, participation certificates or other obligations of the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or the Government National Mortgage Association, or collateralized mortgage obligations and other derivative securities. This subdivision shall not be construed to require the liquidation of investment contracts or accounts entered into prior to July 19, 1996;

(18) Hire date or date of hire means the first day of compensated service subject to retirement contributions;

(19) Interest credit rate means the greater of (a) five percent or (b) the applicable federal mid-term rate, as published by the Internal Revenue Service as of the first day of the calendar quarter for which interest credits are credited, plus one and one-half percent, such rate to be compounded annually;

(20) Interest credits means the amounts credited to the employee cash balance account and the employer cash balance account at the end of each day. Such interest credit for each account shall be determined by applying the daily portion of the interest credit rate to the account balance at the end of the previous day. Such interest credits shall continue to be credited to the employee cash balance account and the employer cash balance account after a member ceases to be an employee, except that no such credit shall be made with respect to the employee cash balance account and the employer cash balance account for any day beginning on or after the member's date of final account value. If benefits payable to the member's surviving spouse or beneficiary are delayed after the member's death, interest credits shall continue to be credited to the employee cash balance account and the employer cash balance account until such surviving spouse or beneficiary commences receipt of a distribution from the plan;

(21) Member cash balance account means an account equal to the sum of the employee cash balance account and, if vested, the employer cash balance account and dividend amounts credited in accordance with subdivision (4)(c) of section 23-2317;

(22) One-year break in service means a plan year during which the member has not completed more than five hundred hours of service;

(23) Participation means qualifying for and making the required deposits to the retirement system during the course of a plan year;

(24) Part-time employee means an employee who is employed to work less than one-half of the regularly scheduled hours during each pay period;

(25) Plan year means the twelve-month period beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31;

(26) Prior service means service prior to the date of adoption of the retirement system;

(27) Regular interest means the rate of interest earned each calendar year as determined by the retirement board in conformity with actual and expected earnings on the investments through December 31, 1985;

(28) Required contribution means the deduction to be made from the compensation of employees as provided in the act;

(29) Retirement means qualifying for and accepting the retirement benefit granted under the act after terminating employment;

(30) Retirement application means the form approved and provided by the retirement system for acceptance of a member's request for either regular or disability retirement;

(31) Retirement board or board means the Public Employees Retirement Board;

(32) Retirement date means (a) the first day of the month following the date upon which a member's request for retirement is received on a retirement application if the member is eligible for retirement and has terminated employment or (b) the first day of the month following termination of employment if the member is eligible for retirement and has filed an application but has not yet terminated employment;

(33) Retirement system means the Retirement System for Nebraska Counties;

(34) Service means the actual total length of employment as an employee and is not deemed to be interrupted by (a) temporary or seasonal suspension of service that does not terminate the employee's employment, (b) leave of absence authorized by the employer for a period not exceeding twelve months, (c) leave of absence because of disability, or (d) military service, when properly authorized by the retirement board. Service does not include any period of disability for which disability retirement benefits are received under section 23-2315;

(35) Surviving spouse means (a) the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death or (b) the spouse or former spouse of the member if survivorship rights are provided under a qualified domestic relations order filed with the board pursuant to the Spousal Pension Rights Act. The spouse or former spouse shall supersede the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death as provided under a qualified domestic relations order. If the benefits payable to the spouse or former spouse under a qualified domestic relations order are less than the value of benefits entitled to the surviving spouse, the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death shall be the surviving spouse for the balance of the benefits;

(36) Termination of employment occurs on the date on which a county which is a member of the retirement system determines that its employer-employee relationship with an employee is dissolved. The county shall notify the board of the date on which such a termination has occurred. Termination of employment does not occur if an employee whose employer-employee relationship with a county is dissolved enters into an employer-employee relationship with the same or another county which participates in the Retirement System for Nebraska Counties and there are less than one hundred twenty days between the date when the employee's employer-employee relationship ceased with the county and the date when the employer-employee relationship commenced with the same or another county which qualifies the employee for participation in the plan. It is the responsibility of the employer that is involved in the termination of employment to notify the board of such change in employment and provide the board with such information as the board deems necessary. If the board determines that termination of employment has not occurred and a retirement benefit has been paid to a member of the retirement system pursuant to section 23-2319, the board shall require the member who has received such benefit to repay the benefit to the retirement system; and

(37) Vesting credit means credit for years, or a fraction of a year, of participation in another Nebraska governmental plan for purposes of determining vesting of the employer account.

Source:Laws 1965, c. 94, § 1, p. 402; Laws 1969, c. 172, § 1, p. 750; Laws 1973, LB 216, § 1; Laws 1974, LB 905, § 1; Laws 1975, LB 47, § 1; Laws 1975, LB 45, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 216, § 2; Laws 1985, LB 347, § 1; Laws 1985, LB 432, § 1; Laws 1986, LB 311, § 2; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 1; Laws 1993, LB 417, § 1; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 1; Laws 1995, LB 369, § 2; Laws 1996, LB 847, § 2; Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 14; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 1; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 23; Laws 1999, LB 703, § 1; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 1; Laws 2001, LB 142, § 32; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 1; Laws 2002, LB 687, § 3; Laws 2003, LB 451, § 2; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 2; Laws 2006, LB 366, § 2; Laws 2006, LB 1019, § 1; Laws 2011, LB509, § 2; Laws 2012, LB916, § 4; Laws 2013, LB263, § 2; Laws 2015, LB41, § 2; Laws 2017, LB415, § 11.
Effective Date: May 24, 2017

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