24-701. Terms, defined.

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

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

(b) For a judge hired prior to July 1, 2017, the determinations are to be based on the 1994 Group Annuity Mortality Table reflecting sex-distinct factors blended using seventy-five percent of the male table and twenty-five percent of the female table. An interest rate of eight percent per annum shall be reflected in making these determinations.

(c) For a judge hired on or after July 1, 2017, or rehired on or after July 1, 2017, after termination of employment and being paid a retirement benefit, the determinations shall be based on a unisex mortality table and an interest rate specified by the board. Both the mortality table and the interest rate shall be 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, interest rate, and actuarial factors in effect on the judge's retirement date will be used to calculate actuarial equivalency of any retirement benefit. Such interest rate may be, but is not required to be, equal to the assumed rate of return;

(2) Beneficiary means a person so designated by a judge in the last designation of beneficiary on file with the board or, if no designated person survives or if no designation is on file, the estate of such judge;

(3) Board means the Public Employees Retirement Board;

(4)(a) Compensation means the statutory salary of a judge or the salary being received by such judge pursuant to law. Compensation does not include compensation for unused sick leave or unused vacation leave converted to cash payments, 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 and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code as defined in section 49-801.01 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 as defined in section 49-801.01 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;

(5) Creditable service means the total number of years served as a judge, including prior service, military service, and current service, computed to the nearest one-twelfth year. For current service prior to the time that the member has contributed the required percentage of salary until the maximum benefit as limited by section 24-710 has been earned, creditable service does not include current service for which member contributions are not made or are withdrawn and not repaid;

(6) Current benefit means the initial benefit increased by all adjustments made pursuant to the Judges Retirement Act;

(7)(a) Current service means the period of service (i) any judge of the Supreme Court or judge of the district court serves in such capacity from and after January 3, 1957, (ii)(A) any judge of the Nebraska Workmen's Compensation Court served in such capacity from and after September 20, 1957, and prior to July 17, 1986, and (B) any judge of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court serves in such capacity on and after July 17, 1986, (iii) any county judge serves in such capacity from and after January 5, 1961, (iv) any judge of a separate juvenile court serves in such capacity, (v) any judge of the municipal court served in such capacity subsequent to October 23, 1967, and prior to July 1, 1985, (vi) any judge of the county court or associate county judge serves in such capacity subsequent to January 4, 1973, (vii) any clerk magistrate, who was an associate county judge and a member of the fund at the time of appointment as a clerk magistrate, serves in such capacity from and after July 1, 1986, and (viii) any judge of the Court of Appeals serves in such capacity on or after September 6, 1991.

(b) Current service shall not be deemed to be interrupted by (i) temporary or seasonal suspension of service that does not terminate the employee's employment, (ii) leave of absence authorized by the employer for a period not exceeding twelve months, (iii) leave of absence because of disability, or (iv) military service, when properly authorized by the board. Current service does not include any period of disability for which disability retirement benefits are received under section 24-709;

(8) Final average compensation for a judge who becomes a member prior to July 1, 2015, means the average monthly compensation for the three twelve-month periods of service as a judge in which compensation was the greatest or, in the event of a judge serving less than three twelve-month periods, the average monthly compensation for such judge's period of service. Final average compensation for a judge who becomes a member on and after July 1, 2015, means the average monthly compensation for the five twelve-month periods of service as a judge in which compensation was the greatest or, in the event of a judge serving less than five twelve-month periods, the average monthly compensation for such judge's period of service;

(9) Fund means the Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges;

(10) Future member means a judge who first served as a judge on or after December 25, 1969, or means a judge who first served as a judge prior to December 25, 1969, who elects to become a future member on or before June 30, 1970, as provided in subsection (8) of section 24-703 or section 24-710.01;

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

(12) Initial benefit means the retirement benefit calculated at the time of retirement;

(13) Judge means and includes (a) all duly elected or appointed Chief Justices or judges of the Supreme Court and judges of the district courts of Nebraska who serve in such capacity on and after January 3, 1957, (b)(i) all duly appointed judges of the Nebraska Workmen's Compensation Court who served in such capacity on and after September 20, 1957, and prior to July 17, 1986, and (ii) judges of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court who serve in such capacity on and after July 17, 1986, (c) judges of separate juvenile courts, (d) judges of the county courts of the respective counties who serve in such capacity on and after January 5, 1961, (e) judges of the county court and clerk magistrates who were associate county judges and members of the fund at the time of their appointment as clerk magistrates, (f) judges of municipal courts established by Chapter 26, article 1, who served in such capacity on and after October 23, 1967, and prior to July 1, 1985, and (g) judges of the Court of Appeals;

(14) Member means a judge eligible to participate in the retirement system established under the Judges Retirement Act;

(15) Military service means active service of (a) any judge of the Supreme Court or judge of the district court in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency prior or subsequent to September 18, 1955, if such service commenced while such judge was holding the office of judge, (b) any judge of the Nebraska Workmen's Compensation Court or the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency prior or subsequent to September 20, 1957, if such service commenced while such judge was holding the office of judge, (c) any judge of the municipal court in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency prior or subsequent to October 23, 1967, and prior to July 1, 1985, if such service commenced while such judge was holding the office of judge, (d) any judge of the county court or associate county judge in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency prior or subsequent to January 4, 1973, if such service commenced while such judge was holding the office of judge, (e) any clerk magistrate, who was an associate county judge and a member of the fund at the time of appointment as a clerk magistrate, in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency on or after July 1, 1986, if such service commenced while such clerk magistrate was holding the office of clerk magistrate, and (f) any judge of the Court of Appeals in any of the armed forces of the United States during a war or national emergency on or after September 6, 1991, if such service commenced while such judge was holding the office of judge. The board shall have the power to determine when a national emergency exists or has existed for the purpose of applying this definition and provision;

(16) Normal form annuity means a series of equal monthly payments payable at the end of each calendar month during the life of a retired judge as provided in sections 24-707 and 24-710, except as provided in section 42-1107. The first payment shall include all amounts accrued since the effective date of the award of the annuity. The last payment shall be at the end of the calendar month in which such judge dies. If at the time of death the amount of annuity payments such judge has received is less than contributions to the fund made by such judge, plus regular interest, the difference shall be paid to the beneficiary or estate;

(17) Normal retirement date means the first day of the month following attainment of age sixty-five;

(18) Original member means a judge who first served as a judge prior to December 25, 1969, who does not elect to become a future member pursuant to subsection (8) of section 24-703 or section 24-710.01, and who was retired on or before December 31, 1992;

(19) Plan year means the twelve-month period beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30 of the following year;

(20) Prior service means all the periods of time any person has served as a (a) judge of the Supreme Court or judge of the district court prior to January 3, 1957, (b) judge of the county court prior to January 5, 1961, (c) judge of the Nebraska Workmen's Compensation Court prior to September 20, 1957, (d) judge of the separate juvenile court, or (e) judge of the municipal court prior to October 23, 1967;

(21) Regular interest means interest fixed at a rate equal to the daily treasury yield curve for one-year treasury securities, as published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, that applies on July 1 of each year, which may be credited monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually as the board may direct;

(22) 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;

(23) 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;

(24) Retirement system or system means the Nebraska Judges Retirement System as provided in the Judges Retirement Act;

(25) 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 the 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; and

(26) Termination of employment occurs on the date on which the State Court Administrator's office determines that the judge's employer-employee relationship with the State of Nebraska is dissolved. The State Court Administrator's office shall notify the board of the date on which such a termination has occurred. Termination of employment does not include ceasing employment as a judge if the judge returns to regular employment as a judge or is employed on a regular basis by another agency of the State of Nebraska and there are less than one hundred twenty days between the date when the judge's employer-employee relationship ceased and the date when the employer-employee relationship recommences. 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 24-710, the board shall require the member who has received such benefit to repay the benefit to the retirement system.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 1, p. 244; Laws 1957, c. 78, § 1, p. 315; Laws 1957, c. 79, § 1, p. 318; Laws 1959, c. 95, § 1, p. 409; Laws 1959, c. 189, § 13, p. 687; Laws 1965, c. 115, § 1, p. 440; Laws 1969, c. 178, § 1, p. 759; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 4; Laws 1972, LB 1032, § 120; Laws 1973, LB 226, § 10; Laws 1974, LB 905, § 3; Laws 1983, LB 223, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 13, § 32; Laws 1984, LB 750, § 1; Laws 1986, LB 92, § 1;Laws 1986, LB 311, § 9; Laws 1986, LB 351, § 1; Laws 1986, LB 529, § 17; Laws 1986, LB 811, § 12; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 2; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 15; Laws 1991, LB 732, § 36; Laws 1992, LB 682, § 1; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 12; Laws 1996, LB 700, § 1; Laws 1996, LB 847, § 11; Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 8; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 19; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 9; Laws 1999, LB 674, § 1; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 4; Laws 2001, LB 408, § 6; Laws 2003, LB 451, § 14; Laws 2011, LB6, § 1; Laws 2012, LB916, § 14; Laws 2013, LB263, § 10; Laws 2015, LB468, § 1; Laws 2016, LB790, § 2; Laws 2017, LB415, § 18.

Cross References

Annotations

24-701.01. Act, how cited.

Sections 24-701 to 24-714 shall be known and may be cited as the Judges Retirement Act.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 847, § 12; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 10; Laws 1998, LB 532, § 1; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 36; Laws 2001, LB 408, § 7; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 11; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 10; Laws 2010, LB950, § 8; Laws 2011, LB509, § 9; Laws 2015, LB468, § 2.
24-701.02. Changes to act; operative; when.

Any changes made to the Judges Retirement Act affecting retirement benefits shall be so interpreted as to effectuate their general purpose to provide, in the public interest, adequate retirement benefits for judges and to permit a change in such retirement benefits as soon as the same may become operative under the Constitution of Nebraska.

Source:Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 9.
24-702. Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges; Nebraska Judges Retirement Act Expense Fund; created; use.

(1) There is hereby created in the state treasury a fund to be known as the Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges which shall be administered by the board and to which shall be credited all money appropriated or transferred by law thereto. The fund is hereby appropriated and made available to the board for the uses and purposes prescribed by the provisions of the Judges Retirement Act.

(2) The employer contribution to the fund shall consist of the amounts remitted pursuant to subsection (3) of section 24-703.

(3) The Nebraska Judges Retirement Act Expense Fund is created. The fund shall be credited with money from the retirement system assets and income sufficient to pay the pro rata share of administrative expenses incurred as directed by the board for the proper administration of the Judges Retirement Act and necessary in connection with the administration and operation of the retirement system.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 2, p. 245; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 13; Laws 2001, LB 408, § 8; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 12; Laws 2005, LB 364, § 6.
24-703. Judges; contributions; payment; funding of system; late fees.

(1) Each original member shall contribute monthly four percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund until the maximum benefit as limited in subsection (1) of section 24-710 has been earned. It shall be the duty of the Director of Administrative Services in accordance with subsection (10) of this section to make a deduction of four percent on the monthly payroll of each original member who is a judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeals, a judge of the district court, a judge of a separate juvenile court, a judge of the county court, a clerk magistrate of the county court who was an associate county judge and a member of the fund at the time of his or her appointment as a clerk magistrate, or a judge of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court showing the amount to be deducted and its credit to the fund. The Director of Administrative Services and the State Treasurer shall credit the four percent as shown on the payroll and the amounts received from the various counties to the fund and remit the same to the director in charge of the judges retirement system who shall keep an accurate record of the contributions of each judge.

(2)(a) In addition to the contribution required under subdivision (c) of this subsection, beginning on July 1, 2004, each future member who became a member prior to July 1, 2015, and who has not elected to make contributions and receive benefits as provided in section 24-703.03 shall contribute monthly six percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund until the maximum benefit as limited in subsection (2) of section 24-710 has been earned. After the maximum benefit as limited in subsection (2) of section 24-710 has been earned, such future member shall make no further contributions to the fund, except that (i) any time the maximum benefit is changed, a future member who has previously earned the maximum benefit as it existed prior to the change shall contribute monthly six percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund until the maximum benefit as changed and as limited in subsection (2) of section 24-710 has been earned and (ii) such future member shall continue to make the contribution required under subdivision (c) of this subsection.

(b) In addition to the contribution required under subdivision (c) of this subsection, beginning on July 1, 2004, a judge who became a member prior to July 1, 2015, and who first serves as a judge on or after July 1, 2004, or a future member who became a member prior to July 1, 2015, and who elects to make contributions and receive benefits as provided in section 24-703.03 shall contribute monthly eight percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund until the maximum benefit as limited by subsection (2) of section 24-710 has been earned. In addition to the contribution required under subdivision (c) of this subsection, after the maximum benefit as limited in subsection (2) of section 24-710 has been earned, such judge or future member shall contribute monthly four percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund for the remainder of his or her active service.

(c) Beginning on July 1, 2009, a member or judge described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of this subsection shall contribute monthly an additional one percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund.

(d) Beginning on July 1, 2015, a judge who first serves as a judge on or after such date shall contribute monthly ten percent of his or her monthly compensation to the fund.

(e) It shall be the duty of the Director of Administrative Services to make a deduction on the monthly payroll of each such future member who is a judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeals, a judge of the district court, a judge of a separate juvenile court, a judge of the county court, a clerk magistrate of the county court who was an associate county judge and a member of the fund at the time of his or her appointment as a clerk magistrate, or a judge of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court showing the amount to be deducted and its credit to the fund. This shall be done each month. The Director of Administrative Services and the State Treasurer shall credit the amount as shown on the payroll and the amounts received from the various counties to the fund and remit the same to the director in charge of the judges retirement system who shall keep an accurate record of the contributions of each judge.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges fee of six dollars shall be taxed as costs in each (a) civil cause of action, criminal cause of action, traffic misdemeanor or infraction, and city or village ordinance violation filed in the district courts, the county courts, and the separate juvenile courts, (b) filing in the district court of an order, award, or judgment of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court or any judge thereof pursuant to section 48-188, (c) appeal or other proceeding filed in the Court of Appeals, and (d) original action, appeal, or other proceeding filed in the Supreme Court. In county courts a sum shall be charged which is equal to ten percent of each fee provided by sections 33-125, 33-126.02, 33-126.03, and 33-126.06, rounded to the nearest even dollar. No judges retirement fee shall be charged for filing a report pursuant to sections 33-126.02 and 33-126.06. When collected by the clerk of the district or county court, such fees shall be paid and information submitted to the director in charge of the judges retirement system on forms prescribed by the board by the clerk within ten days after the close of each calendar quarter. The board may charge a late administrative processing fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars if the information is not timely received or the money is delinquent. In addition, the board may charge a late fee of thirty-eight thousandths of one percent of the amount required to be submitted pursuant to this section for each day such amount has not been received. Such director shall promptly thereafter remit the same to the State Treasurer for credit to the fund. No Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges fee which is uncollectible for any reason shall be waived by a county judge as provided in section 29-2709.

(4) All expenditures from the fund shall be authorized by voucher in the manner prescribed in section 24-713. The fund shall be used for the payment of all annuities and other benefits and for the expenses of administration.

(5) The fund shall consist of the total fund as of December 25, 1969, the contributions of members as provided in this section, all supplementary court fees as provided in subsection (3) of this section, and any required contributions of the state.

(6) Not later than January 1 of each year, the State Treasurer shall transfer to the fund the amount certified by the board as being necessary to pay the cost of any benefits accrued during the fiscal year ending the previous June 30 in excess of member contributions for that fiscal year and court fees as provided in subsection (3) of this section and fees pursuant to sections 25-2804, 33-103, 33-103.01, 33-106, 33-106.02, 33-123, 33-125, 33-126.02, 33-126.03, and 33-126.06 and directed to be remitted to the fund, if any, for that fiscal year plus any required contributions of the state as provided in subsection (9) of this section.

(7) Benefits under the retirement system to members or to their beneficiaries shall be paid from the fund.

(8) Any member who is making contributions to the fund on December 25, 1969, may, on or before June 30, 1970, elect to become a future member by delivering written notice of such election to the board.

(9) Not later than January 1 of each year, the State Treasurer shall transfer to the fund an amount, determined on the basis of an actuarial valuation as of the previous June 30 and certified by the board, to fully fund the unfunded accrued liabilities of the retirement system as of June 30, 1988, by level payments up to January 1, 2000. Such valuation shall be on the basis of actuarial assumptions recommended by the actuary, approved by the board, and kept on file with the board. For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, and each fiscal year thereafter, the actuary for the board shall perform an actuarial valuation of the system using the entry age actuarial cost method. Under this method, the actuarially required funding rate is equal to the normal cost rate, plus the contribution rate necessary to amortize the unfunded actuarial accrued liability on a level percentage of salary basis. The normal cost under this method shall be determined for each individual member on a level percentage of salary basis. The normal cost amount is then summed for all members. Beginning July 1, 2006, any existing unfunded liabilities shall be reinitialized and amortized over a thirty-year period, and during each subsequent actuarial valuation, changes in the funded actuarial accrued liability due to changes in benefits, actuarial assumptions, the asset valuation method, or actuarial gains or losses shall be measured and amortized over a thirty-year period beginning on the valuation date of such change. If the unfunded actuarial accrued liability under the entry age actuarial cost method is zero or less than zero on an actuarial valuation date, then all prior unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities shall be considered fully funded and the unfunded actuarial accrued liability shall be reinitialized and amortized over a thirty-year period as of the actuarial valuation date. If the actuarially required contribution rate exceeds the rate of all contributions required pursuant to the Judges Retirement Act, there shall be a supplemental appropriation sufficient to pay for the differences between the actuarially required contribution rate and the rate of all contributions required pursuant to the Judges Retirement Act.

(10) The state or county shall pick up the member contributions required by this section for all compensation paid on or after January 1, 1985, and the contributions so picked up shall be treated as employer contributions pursuant to section 414(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code in determining federal tax treatment under the code and shall not be included as gross income of the member until such time as they are distributed or made available. The contributions, although designated as member contributions, shall be paid by the state or county in lieu of member contributions. The state or county shall pay these member contributions from the same source of funds which is used in paying earnings to the member. The state or county shall pick up these contributions by a compensation deduction through a reduction in the compensation of the member. Member contributions picked up shall be treated for all purposes of the Judges Retirement Act in the same manner and to the extent as member contributions made prior to the date picked up.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 3, p. 246; Laws 1957, c. 79, § 2, p. 321; Laws 1959, c. 95, § 2, p. 411; Laws 1959, c. 189, § 14, p. 689; Laws 1963, c. 137, § 1, p. 513; Laws 1965, c. 115, § 2, p. 442; Laws 1965, c. 116, § 2, p. 446; Laws 1967, c. 140, § 1, p. 428; Laws 1969, c. 178, § 2, p. 957; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 5; Laws 1972, LB 1032, § 121; Laws 1972, LB 1471, § 1; Laws 1973, LB 226, § 11; Laws 1974, LB 228, § 1; Laws 1977, LB 344, § 2; Laws 1977, LB 467, § 1; Laws 1981, LB 459, § 3; Laws 1984, LB 13, § 33; Laws 1984, LB 218, § 2; Laws 1986, LB 92, § 2; Laws 1986, LB 529, § 18; Laws 1989, LB 233, § 1; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 3; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 16; Laws 1991, LB 732, § 37; Laws 1992, LB 672, § 31; Laws 1992, LB 682, § 2; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 14; Laws 1995, LB 574, § 34; Laws 2001, LB 408, § 9; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 13; Laws 2003, LB 320, § 1; Laws 2003, LB 760, § 4; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 11; Laws 2005, LB 348, § 2; Laws 2005, LB 364, § 7; Laws 2006, LB 1019, § 5; Laws 2009, LB414, § 2; Laws 2013, LB263, § 11; Laws 2013, LB306, § 2; Laws 2013, LB553, § 1; Laws 2015, LB468, § 3.

Annotations

24-703.01. Participation in retirement system; requirements.

On and after July 1, 2010, no judge shall be authorized to participate in the retirement system provided for in the Judges Retirement Act unless the judge (a) is a United States citizen or (b) is a qualified alien under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., as such act existed on January 1, 2009, and is lawfully present in the United States.

Source:Laws 2010, LB950, § 9.
24-703.02. Repealed. Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 85.
24-703.03. Elections authorized.

Any future member who has not previously retired prior to July 1, 2004, may elect to make contributions as provided in subdivision (2)(b) of section 24-703 and receive benefits as described in sections 24-707.01 and 24-708. Such election shall be made by written notice delivered to the board not later than ninety days after July 1, 2004.

Source:Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 8.
24-704. Administration of system; Public Employees Retirement Board, Auditor of Public Accounts, and Nebraska Investment Council; duties; employer education program.

(1) The general administration of the retirement system for judges provided for in the Judges Retirement Act, except the investment of funds, is hereby vested in the board. The Auditor of Public Accounts shall make an annual audit of the retirement system and electronically file an annual report of its condition with the Clerk of the Legislature. Each member of the Legislature shall receive an electronic copy of the annual report by making a request for such report to the Auditor of Public Accounts. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the Judges Retirement Act.

(2)(a) The board shall employ a director and such assistants and employees as may be necessary to efficiently discharge the duties imposed by the act. The director shall keep a record of all acts and proceedings taken by the board.

(b) The director shall keep a complete record of all members with respect to name, current address, age, contributions, length of service, compensation, and any other facts as may be necessary in the administration of the act. The information in the records shall be provided by the State Court Administrator in an accurate and verifiable form, as specified by the director. The director shall, from time to time, carry out testing procedures pursuant to section 84-1512 to verify the accuracy of such information. For the purpose of obtaining such facts and information, the director shall have access to the records of the various state departments and agencies and the holder of the records shall comply with a request by the director for access by providing such facts and information to the director in a timely manner. A certified copy of a birth certificate or delayed birth certificate shall be prima facie evidence of the age of the person named in the certificate.

(c) The director shall develop and implement an employer education program using principles generally accepted by public employee retirement systems so that all employers have the knowledge and information necessary to prepare and file reports as the board requires.

(3) Information necessary to determine membership in the retirement system shall be provided by the State Court Administrator.

(4) Any funds of the retirement system available for investment shall be invested by the Nebraska Investment Council pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act. Payment for investment services by the council shall be charged directly against the gross investment returns of the funds. Charges so incurred shall not be a part of the board's annual budget request. The amounts of payment for such services, as of December 31 of each year, shall be reported not later than March 31 of the following year to the council, the board, and the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee of the Legislature. The report submitted to the committee shall be submitted electronically. The state investment officer shall sell any such securities upon request from the director so as to provide money for the payment of benefits or annuities.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 4, p. 246; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 6; Laws 1979, LB 322, § 6; Laws 1986, LB 311, § 10; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 17; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 15; Laws 1994, LB 1066, § 18; Laws 1995, LB 369, § 4; Laws 1996, LB 847, § 13; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 5; Laws 2005, LB 503, § 4; Laws 2012, LB782, § 24; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 13.

Cross References

24-704.01. Board; power to adjust contributions and benefits; overpayment of benefits; investigatory powers; subpoenas.

(1)(a) If the board determines that the retirement system has previously received contributions or distributed benefits which for any reason are not in accordance with the Judges Retirement Act, the board shall refund contributions, require additional contributions, adjust benefits, or require repayment of benefits paid. In the event of an overpayment of a benefit, the board may, in addition to other remedies, offset future benefit payments by the amount of the prior overpayment, together with regular interest thereon. In the event of an underpayment of a benefit, the board shall immediately make payment equal to the deficit amount plus regular interest.

(b) The board shall have the power, through the director of the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems or the director's designee, to make a thorough investigation of any overpayment of a benefit, when in the judgment of the retirement system such investigation is necessary, including, but not limited to, circumstances in which benefit payments are made after the death of a member or beneficiary and the retirement system is not made aware of such member's or beneficiary's death. In connection with any such investigation, the board, through the director or the director's designee, shall have the power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, records, and documents, whether in hardcopy, electronic form, or otherwise, and issue subpoenas for such purposes. Such subpoenas shall be served in the same manner and have the same effect as subpoenas from district courts.

(2) The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations implementing this section, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (a) The procedures for refunding contributions, adjusting future contributions or benefit payments, and requiring additional contributions or repayment of benefits; (b) the process for a member, member's beneficiary, employee, or employer to dispute an adjustment of contributions or benefits; and (c) notice provided to all affected persons. All notices shall be sent prior to an adjustment and shall describe the process for disputing an adjustment of contributions or benefits.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 10; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 12; Laws 2015, LB40, § 6; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 14.
24-705. Technical and administrative employees; actuary; report; expenses.

The board shall have the power to secure and employ the services of such technical and administrative employees as are necessary to carry out the Judges Retirement Act. Pursuant to subdivision (2)(e) of section 84-1503, the board shall have an annual report prepared by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries showing a complete valuation of the present and prospective assets and liabilities of the fund created by the act. Such valuation shall be on the basis of actuarial assumptions recommended by the actuary, approved by the board, and kept on file with the board. The report shall further include a prospectus of the amount of the appropriation that will be required from the Legislature for the succeeding year. This report shall be furnished electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature at each regular session. Each member of the Legislature shall receive an electronic copy of such report by making a request for it to the director. The employees of the board shall be paid at such rates as the board shall approve. All administrative expenses shall be paid from the retirement fund.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 5, p. 247; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 7; Laws 1979, LB 322, § 7; Laws 1981, LB 462, § 3; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 18; Laws 1995, LB 502, § 1; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 37; Laws 2012, LB782, § 25.
24-706. Termination of employment; return of contributions, when; rejoining system.

(1) Upon termination of employment, any member whose service is terminated prior to age sixty-five for any cause other than death or disability may, upon request to the board:

(a) Have returned to him or her the total amount of contributions which he or she has made to the fund, plus regular interest, and the return of such contributions to such judge shall preclude such judge from any benefits under the Judges Retirement Act unless and until such judge again serves in such capacity and repays his or her withdrawals pursuant to section 24-706.01. If the member chooses not to repay such withdrawals with interest, the member shall enter the retirement system as a new member with no prior rights; or

(b) Leave his or her contributions in the fund and receive a retirement annuity as provided in sections 24-708 and 24-710.

(2) Any member whose service is terminated at or subsequent to age sixty-five shall be considered as beginning normal retirement and annuity payments shall begin as provided in section 24-710.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 6, p. 247; Laws 1959, c. 95, § 3, p. 412; Laws 1969, c. 178, § 3, p. 765; Laws 1974, LB 905, § 4; Laws 1975, LB 42, § 1; Laws 1986, LB 92, § 3; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 4; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 19; Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 9; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 11; Laws 1999, LB 703, § 5; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 6; Laws 2001, LB 408, § 10.
24-706.01. Termination of employment prior to eligibility to retire; rejoining system; effect.

A member who terminates employment prior to becoming eligible to retire and again serves as a judge may elect to repay part or all of the amount he or she had withdrawn as a refund pursuant to section 24-706 plus the interest that would have accrued on such amount. Payment shall commence prior to termination of employment, shall not be extended more than five years after the date the member elects to repay his or her refund, and shall be completed prior to termination of employment. Prior service and rights shall be restored in proportion to the amounts repaid, and the prior service and rights of the member shall be fully restored only if he or she repays all accumulated withdrawals plus interest which would have accrued on that amount.

Source:Laws 2001, LB 408, § 11.
24-707. Death of judge; benefits spouse entitled to receive; contributions paid to beneficiary; when; direct transfer to retirement plan; death while performing qualified military service; additional death benefit.

(1) In the event of the death of a judge prior to retirement, if such judge shall have had five or more years of creditable service, the surviving spouse of such judge shall at his or her option, exercised within twelve months after the date of death, be immediately entitled to receive an annuity which shall be equal to the amount that would have accrued to the member had he or she elected to have the retirement annuity paid as a one-hundred-percent joint and survivor annuity payable as long as either the member or the member's spouse should survive and had the member retired (a) on the date of death if his or her age at death is sixty-five years or more or (b) at age sixty-five years if his or her age at death is less than sixty-five years. If such option is not exercised by such surviving spouse within twelve months after the judge's death, if there is no surviving spouse, or if the judge has not served for five years, then the beneficiary, or the estate if the judge has not filed a statement with the board naming a beneficiary, shall be paid a lump sum equal to all contributions to the fund made by such judge plus regular interest.

(2) In the event of the death of a judge subsequent to retirement, if such judge has not filed a statement of intent with the board to elect to receive any other form of annuity which may be provided for by section 24-710 or elected to make contributions and receive benefits as provided in section 24-703.03, the amount of annuities such judge has received under the provisions of the Judges Retirement Act shall be computed and, if such amount shall be less than the contributions to the fund made by such judge, plus regular interest, the difference shall be paid to the beneficiary or estate.

(3) Benefits to which the surviving spouse, beneficiary, or estate of a judge shall be entitled shall commence immediately upon the death of such judge.

(4) A lump-sum death benefit paid to the member's beneficiary, other than the member's estate, that is an eligible distribution may be distributed in the form of a direct transfer to a retirement plan eligible to receive such transfer under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

(5) For any member whose death occurs on or after January 1, 2007, while performing qualified military service as defined in section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code, the member's beneficiary shall be entitled to any additional death benefit that would have been provided, other than the accrual of any benefit relating to the period of qualified military service. The additional death benefit shall be determined as if the member had returned to employment with the State of Nebraska and such employment had terminated on the date of the member's death.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 7, p. 248; Laws 1973, LB 478, § 1; Laws 1974, LB 905, § 5; Laws 1975, LB 298, § 1; Laws 1977, LB 344, § 4; Laws 1983, LB 223, § 2; Laws 1986, LB 92, 4; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 5; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 20; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 20; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 12; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 7; Laws 2003, LB 451, § 15; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 13; Laws 2007, LB508, § 1; Laws 2012, LB916, § 15.
24-707.01. Surviving spouse; benefits; applicable, when.

(1) This section only applies to a judge who first served as a judge on or after July 1, 2004, and to a future member who elects to make contributions and receive benefits as provided in section 24-703.03.

(2) In the event of the death of a judge subsequent to retirement, his or her surviving spouse, if any, shall be entitled to receive, if the surviving spouse was born not more than five years subsequent to the birth of the deceased judge, a monthly benefit payable for life equal to fifty percent of the monthly benefit the retired judge was entitled to receive under the normal form of payment. Such benefit to the surviving spouse shall be provided without actuarial reduction or other assessment to the retired judge in determining his or her benefits. The entire cost of such a benefit shall be assumed by the fund. This benefit value may be applied on an actuarially equivalent basis to any joint and survivor benefit elected by a retiring judge with the surviving spouse as named beneficiary.

(3) In the event that the spouse of a retiring judge was born more than five years subsequent to the birth of the judge, such benefit to the judge described under subsection (2) of this section shall be reduced by the actuarial cost of providing a benefit to the surviving spouse equal to fifty percent of the benefit the retired judge was entitled to receive. The reduction to the retired judge's benefit shall be limited to that portion of the actuarial cost that exceeds the actuarial cost if the spouse was born five years subsequent to the judge. In the event of the death of a retired judge as described by this subsection, his or her surviving spouse shall receive a monthly benefit payable for life equal to fifty percent of the monthly benefit received by the deceased judge.

(4) This section shall not prevent a retiring judge from contracting to provide a larger percentage of benefit for a surviving spouse under other applicable statutes.

Source:Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 7.
24-708. Retirement of judge; when; deferment of payment; board; duties.

(1) Except as provided in section 24-721, a judge may retire upon reaching the age of sixty-five years and upon making application to the board. Upon retiring each such judge shall receive retirement annuities as provided in section 24-710.

(2) Except as provided in section 24-721, a judge may retire upon reaching the age of fifty-five years and elect to receive a reduced monthly retirement income in lieu of a deferred vested annuity. The judge may request that the reduced monthly retirement income commence at any date, beginning on the first day of the month following the actual retirement date and ending on the normal retirement date. The amount of the reduced monthly retirement income shall be calculated based on the length of creditable service and average compensation at the actual retirement date. When a judge has elected to receive a reduced monthly retirement income to commence at the age of sixty-four years, the monthly payments shall be reduced by three percent. When a judge has elected to receive a reduced monthly retirement income to commence at the age of sixty-three years, the monthly payments shall be reduced by six percent. When a judge has elected to receive a reduced monthly retirement income to commence at the age of sixty-two years, the monthly payments shall be reduced by nine percent. When a judge has elected to receive a reduced monthly retirement income to commence prior to the age of sixty-two years, the monthly payments shall be further reduced to an amount that is actuarially equivalent to the amount payable at the age of sixty-two years.

(3) Payment of any benefit provided under the Judges Retirement Act may not be deferred later than April 1 of the year following the year in which the judge has both attained at least age seventy and one-half years and terminated his or her employment as a judge.

(4) The effective date of retirement payments shall be the first day of the month following (a) the date a member qualifies for retirement as provided in this section or (b) the date upon which a member's request for retirement is received on an application form provided by the retirement system, whichever is later. An application may be filed no more than one hundred twenty days in advance of qualifying for retirement.

(5) The board shall make reasonable efforts to locate the member or the member's beneficiary and distribute benefits by the required beginning date as specified by section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations issued thereunder. If the board is unable to make such a distribution, the benefit shall be distributed pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act and no amounts may be applied to increase the benefits any member would otherwise receive under the Judges Retirement Act.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 8, p. 248; Laws 1957, c. 78, § 2, p. 317; Laws 1957, c. 79, § 3, p. 322; Laws 1965, c. 115, § 3, p. 444; Laws 1972, LB 1032, § 123; Laws 1973, LB 353, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 750, § 2; Laws 1986, LB 311, § 11; Laws 1987, LB 296, § 2; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 6; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 21; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 13; Laws 2003, LB 320, § 2; Laws 2003, LB 451, § 16; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 14; Laws 2008, LB1147, § 5; Laws 2017, LB415, § 19.

Cross References

24-708.01. Retired member; reemployment; how treated.

For a member who retired under section 24-708 and becomes employed full-time or part-time as a judge in the state after his or her retirement date, the retired member shall continue receiving retirement benefits, shall be treated as a new judge for all purposes of the Judges Retirement Act, and shall receive service credit only for service commencing from the date of reemployment. Retired judges who are assigned to temporary duty as provided in sections 24-729 to 24-733 shall not become contributing active members in the retirement system and shall not receive any service credits.

Source:Laws 1997, LB 624, § 14.
24-709. Judge; physically or mentally disabled; retirement; Commission on Judicial Qualifications; application; examination; benefits.

Any judge, except a clerk magistrate, who has become physically or mentally disabled, which disability seriously interferes with the performance of his or her duties and which disability is determined to be permanent or reasonably likely to become permanent, may, upon being found so disabled by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, retire or be retired, and upon such retirement he or she shall be entitled to receive the retirement annuity as provided in section 24-710. Any judge, or the guardian of any judge, so permanently disabled desiring to so retire, shall file an application for such retirement with the commission, which application shall be in such form and contain such information as such commission shall require. Such commission may require such judge to be examined by a physician appointed by the commission and may require such other evidence and proof of disability as it deems necessary to reach a determination as to whether such judge is so permanently disabled. If the commission determines that any such judge is so permanently disabled, it shall promptly notify the judge and the Public Employees Retirement Board and thereupon such judge shall be placed on retirement by the board and receive the retirement annuity each month as is provided in section 24-710.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 9, p. 248; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 8; Laws 1983, LB 223, § 3; Laws 1986, LB 529, § 19.
24-709.01. Judicial retirement proceedings before Commission on Judicial Qualifications; confidential.

All documents filed with and proceedings before the Commission on Judicial Qualifications pursuant to sections 24-709 and 24-712 shall be confidential.

Source:Laws 1981, LB 475, § 12; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 8.
24-709.02. Certain clerk magistrates; disabled; retirement; Public Employees Retirement Board; application; examination; benefits.

(1) Clerk magistrates who were associate county judges and members of the fund at the time of their appointment as clerk magistrates shall have questions of disability decided by the Public Employees Retirement Board. Any such clerk magistrate may be retired as a result of disability either upon his or her own application or upon the application of an employer or any person acting in his or her behalf. Upon such retirement he or she shall be entitled to receive the retirement annuity as provided in section 24-710. Before any such clerk magistrate may be retired, a medical examination shall be made at the expense of the Nebraska Retirement Fund for Judges, which examination shall be conducted by a disinterested physician legally authorized to practice medicine under the laws of the state in which he or she practices, such physician to be selected by the board, and the physician shall certify to the board that the clerk magistrate is physically or mentally incapable of further performing his or her duties and should be retired. The application for disability retirement shall be made within one year of termination of employment.

(2) The board may require any such disability beneficiary who has not attained the age of sixty-five to undergo a medical examination at the expense of the board once each year. Should any disability beneficiary refuse to undergo such an examination, his or her disability retirement benefit may be discontinued by the board.

Source:Laws 1983, LB 223, § 5; Laws 1986, LB 529, § 20; Laws 1997, LB 623, § 9.
24-710. Judges; retirement annuity; amount; how computed; cost-of-living adjustment.

(1) The retirement annuity of a judge who is an original member, who has not made the election provided for in subsection (8) of section 24-703 or section 24-710.01, and who retires under section 24-708 or 24-709 shall be computed as follows: Each such judge shall be entitled to receive an annuity, each monthly payment of which shall be in an amount equal to three and one-third percent of his or her final average compensation as such judge, multiplied by the number of his or her years of creditable service. The amount stated in this section shall be supplemental to any benefits received by such judge under the Nebraska and federal old age and survivors' insurance acts at the date of retirement, but the monthly combined benefits received thereunder and by the Judges Retirement Act shall not exceed sixty-five percent of the final average compensation such judge was receiving when he or she last served as such judge. The amount of retirement annuity of a judge who retires under section 24-708 or 24-709 shall not be less than twenty-five dollars per month if he or she has four years or more of service credit.

(2) The retirement annuity of a judge who is a future member and who retires after July 1, 1986, under section 24-708 or 24-709 shall be computed as follows: Each such judge shall be entitled to receive an annuity, each monthly payment of which shall be in an amount equal to three and one-half percent of his or her final average compensation as such judge, multiplied by the number of his or her years of creditable service, except that prior to an actuarial factor adjustment for purposes of calculating an optional form of annuity benefits under subsection (3) of this section, the monthly benefits received under this subsection shall not exceed seventy percent of the final average compensation such judge was receiving when he or she last served as such judge.

(3) Except as provided in section 42-1107, any member may, when filing an application as provided by the retirement system, elect to receive, in lieu of the normal form annuity benefits to which the member or his or her beneficiary may otherwise be entitled under the Judges Retirement Act, an optional form of annuity benefits which the board may by rules and regulations provide, the value of which, determined by accepted actuarial methods and on the basis of actuarial assumptions recommended by the actuary, approved by the board, and kept on file in the office of the director, is equal to the value of the benefit replaced. The board may (a) adopt and promulgate appropriate rules and regulations to establish joint and survivorship annuities, with and without reduction on the death of the first annuitant, and such other forms of annuities as may in its judgment be appropriate and establishing benefits as provided in sections 24-707 and 24-707.01, (b) prescribe appropriate forms for making the election by the members, and (c) provide for the necessary actuarial services to make the required valuations.

(4) A one-time cost-of-living adjustment shall be made for each retired judge and each surviving beneficiary who is receiving a retirement annuity as provided for in this section. The annuity shall be adjusted by the increase in the cost of living or wage levels between the effective date of retirement and June 30, 1992, except that such increases shall not exceed three percent per year of retirement and the total increase shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars per month.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 10, p. 249; Laws 1957, c. 79, § 4, p. 323; Laws 1959, c. 95, § 4, p. 413; Laws 1965, c. 116, § 3, p. 448; Laws 1965, c. 117, § 1, p. 489; Laws 1969, c. 178, § 4, p. 766; Laws 1973, LB 478, § 2; Laws 1974, LB 740, § 1; Laws 1975, LB 49, § 1; Laws 1977, LB 467, § 2; Laws 1977, LB 344, § 5; Laws 1981, LB 459, § 4; Laws 1981, LB 462, § 4; Laws 1986, LB 92, § 5; Laws 1986, LB 311, § 13; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 7; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 18; Laws 1992, LB 672, § 32; Laws 1992, LB 682, § 3; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 22; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 21; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 15; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 15; Laws 2011, LB509, § 11; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 15.
24-710.01. Judges; alternative contribution rate and retirement benefit; election; notice.

Any original member, as defined in subdivision (18) of section 24-701, who has not previously retired, may elect to make contributions and receive benefits pursuant to subsection (2) of section 24-703 and subsection (2) of section 24-710, instead of those provided by subsection (1) of section 24-703 and subsection (1) of section 24-710. Such election shall be by written notice delivered to the board not later than November 1, 1981. Such member shall thereafter be considered a future member.

Source:Laws 1977, LB 344, § 1; Laws 1981, LB 459, § 5; Laws 1986, LB 92, § 6; Laws 2016, LB790, § 3; Laws 2017, LB415, § 20.
24-710.02. Retirement benefits; exemption from legal process; exception.

All annuities or benefits which any person shall be entitled to receive under the Judges Retirement Act shall not be subject to garnishment, attachment, levy, the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency laws, or any other process of law whatsoever and shall not be assignable except to the extent that such annuities or benefits are subject to a qualified domestic relations order under the Spousal Pension Rights Act.

Source:Laws 1986, LB 311, § 12; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 8; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 23; Laws 1995, LB 574, § 37; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 22; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 16; Laws 2012, LB916, § 16; Laws 2015, LB40, § 7.

Cross References

24-710.03. Judges; purchase of service credit; application of section.

Any future member who has served as a judge for eighteen years but less than twenty years prior to July 15, 1992, and who has, prior to such date, contributed and earned the maximum benefit pursuant to subsection (2) of section 24-710 may purchase up to two years of service credit in order to qualify for the maximum benefit in effect after July 15, 1992. Service credit may only be purchased for actual time served as a judge. The amount to be paid shall not exceed the amount the member would have paid into the system based on the compensation and two years of service immediately following the year in which the member reached the maximum benefit in effect prior to July 15, 1992, plus the interest on that amount which would have accrued under the retirement system provided by the Judges Retirement Act. Any payment made pursuant to this section by a member to qualify for the maximum benefit in effect after July 15, 1992, shall be received by the retirement system office by December 31, 1993. Any such payment shall be made in a single lump sum.

This section shall not apply to any member who retires prior to July 15, 1992.

Source:Laws 1992, LB 682, § 4; Laws 1993, LB 363, § 1; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 24; Laws 1996, LB 847, § 17.
24-710.04. Reemployment; military service; credit; effect.

(1) Any judge who returns to service as a judge for the State of Nebraska pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq., shall be treated as not having incurred a break in service by reason of the judge's period of military service. Such military service shall be credited for purposes of determining the nonforfeitability of the member's accrued benefits and the accrual of benefits under the plan.

(2) The state shall be liable for funding any obligation of the plan to provide benefits based upon such period of military service. To satisfy the liability, the State Court Administrator shall pay to the retirement system an amount equal to:

(a) The sum of the judge's contributions that would have been paid during such period of military service; and

(b) Any actuarial costs necessary to fund the obligation of the plan to provide benefits based upon such period of military service. For the purposes of determining the amount of such liability and obligation of the plan, earnings and forfeitures, gains and losses, regular interest, or interest credits that would have accrued on the judge's contributions that are paid by the State Court Administrator pursuant to this section shall not be included.

(3) The amount required in subsection (2) of this section shall be paid to the retirement system as soon as reasonably practicable following the date the judge returns to service as a judge for the State of Nebraska, but must be paid within eighteen months of the date the board notifies the State Court Administrator of the amount due. If the State Court Administrator fails to pay the required amount within such eighteen-month period, then the State Court Administrator is also responsible for any actuarial costs and interest on actuarial costs that accrue from eighteen months after the date the State Court Administrator is notified by the board until the date the amount is paid.

(4) The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this section, including, but not limited to, rules and regulations on:

(a) How and when the judge and State Court Administrator must notify the retirement system of a period of military service;

(b) The acceptable methods of payment;

(c) Determining the service and compensation upon which the contributions must be made;

(d) Accelerating the payment from the State Court Administrator due to unforeseen circumstances that occur before payment is made pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to, the judge's termination or retirement or the court's reorganization, consolidation, or merger; and

(e) The documentation required to substantiate that the judge returned to service as a judge for the State of Nebraska pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.

(5) This section only applies to military service that falls within the definition of uniformed service under 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. Military service does not include service provided pursuant to sections 55-101 to 55-181.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 847, § 14; Laws 2017, LB415, § 21.
24-710.05. Direct rollover; terms, defined; distributee; powers; board; powers.

(1) For purposes of this section and section 24-710.06:

(a) Direct rollover means a payment by the retirement system to the eligible retirement plan or plans specified by the distributee;

(b) Distributee means the member, the member's surviving spouse, or the member's former spouse who is an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order as defined in section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code;

(c) Eligible retirement plan means (i) an individual retirement account described in section 408(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, (ii) an individual retirement annuity described in section 408(b) of the code, except for an endowment contract, (iii) a qualified plan described in section 401(a) of the code, (iv) an annuity plan described in section 403(a) or 403(b) of the code, (v) except for purposes of section 24-710.06, an individual retirement plan described in section 408A of the code, and (vi) a plan described in section 457(b) of the code and maintained by a governmental employer. For eligible rollover distributions to a surviving spouse, an eligible retirement plan means subdivisions (1)(c)(i) through (vi) of this section; and

(d) Eligible rollover distribution means any distribution to a distributee of all or any portion of the balance to the credit of the distributee in the plan, except such term shall not include any distribution which is one of a series of substantially equal periodic payments, not less frequently than annually, made for the life of the distributee or joint lives of the distributee and the distributee's beneficiary or for the specified period of ten years or more and shall not include any distribution to the extent such distribution is required under section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(2) For distributions made to a distributee on or after January 1, 1993, a distributee may elect to have any portion of an eligible rollover distribution paid directly to an eligible retirement plan specified by the distributee.

(3) A member's surviving spouse or former spouse who is an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order and, on or after July 1, 2010, any designated beneficiary of a member who is not a surviving spouse or former spouse who is entitled to receive an eligible rollover distribution from the retirement system may, in accordance with such rules, regulations, and limitations as may be established by the board, elect to have such distribution made in the form of a direct transfer to a retirement plan eligible to receive such transfer under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

(4) An eligible rollover distribution on behalf of a designated beneficiary of a member who is not a surviving spouse or former spouse of the member may be transferred to an individual retirement account or annuity described in section 408(a) or section 408(b) of the Internal Revenue Code that is established for the purpose of receiving the distribution on behalf of the designated beneficiary and that will be treated as an inherited individual retirement account or individual retirement annuity described in section 408(d)(3)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(5) The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for direct rollover procedures which are consistent with section 401(a)(31) of the Internal Revenue Code and which include, but are not limited to, the form and time of direct rollover distributions.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 847, § 15; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 14; Laws 2012, LB916, § 17; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 16.
24-710.06. Retirement system; accept payments and rollovers; limitations; board; powers.

(1) The retirement system may accept cash rollover contributions from a member who is making payment pursuant to section 24-706 if the contributions do not exceed the amount of payment required for the service credits purchased by the member pursuant to such section and the contributions represent (a) all or any portion of the balance of the member's interest in a qualified plan under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code or (b) the interest of the member from an individual retirement account or an individual retirement annuity, the entire amount of which is attributable to a qualified total distribution, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code, from a qualified plan under section 401(a) of the code and qualified as a tax-free rollover amount. The member's interest under subdivision (a) or (b) of this subsection must be transferred to the retirement system within sixty days from the date of the distribution from the qualified plan, individual retirement account, or individual retirement annuity.

(2) Cash transferred to the retirement system as a rollover contribution shall be deposited as other payments for service credits.

(3) Under the same conditions as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the retirement system may accept eligible rollover distributions from (a) an annuity contract described in section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, (b) a plan described in section 457(b) of the code which is maintained by a state, a political subdivision of a state, or any agency or instrumentality of a state or political subdivision of a state, or (c) the portion of a distribution from an individual retirement account or annuity described in section 408(a) or 408(b) of the code that is eligible to be rolled over and would otherwise be includable in gross income. Amounts accepted pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited as all other payments under this section.

(4) The retirement system may accept direct rollover distributions made from a qualified plan pursuant to section 401(a)(31) of the Internal Revenue Code. The direct rollover distribution shall be deposited as all other payments under this section.

(5) The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations defining procedures for acceptance of rollovers which are consistent with sections 401(a)(31) and 402 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 847, § 16; Laws 2002, LB 407, § 15; Laws 2018, LB1005, § 17.
24-710.07. Repealed. Laws 2011, LB 509, § 55.
24-710.08. Repealed. Laws 1999, LB 674, § 12.
24-710.09. Repealed. Laws 2011, LB 509, § 55.
24-710.10. Repealed. Laws 2011, LB 509, § 55.
24-710.11. Repealed. Laws 2011, LB 509, § 55.
24-710.12. Retirement system; accept transfers; limitations; how treated.

The retirement system may accept as payment for withdrawn amounts made pursuant to the Judges Retirement Act a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer from (1) an eligible tax-sheltered annuity plan as described in section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code or (2) an eligible deferred compensation plan as described in section 457(b) of the code on behalf of a member who is making payments for such amounts. The amount transferred shall not exceed the amount withdrawn and such transferred amount shall qualify as a purchase of permissive service credit by the member as defined in section 415 of the code.

Source:Laws 2002, LB 407, § 16.
24-710.13. Judges who became members prior to July 1, 2015; annual benefit adjustment; cost-of-living adjustment calculation method.

On July 1 of each year, for judges who became members prior to July 1, 2015:

(1) The board shall determine the number of retired members or beneficiaries in the retirement system who became members prior to July 1, 2015, and an annual benefit adjustment shall be made by the board for each retired member or beneficiary under one of the cost-of-living adjustment calculation methods found in subdivision (2), (3), or (4) of this section. Each retired member or beneficiary, if eligible, shall receive an annual benefit adjustment under the cost-of-living adjustment calculation method that provides the retired member or beneficiary the greatest annual benefit adjustment increase. No retired member or beneficiary shall receive an annual benefit adjustment under more than one of the cost-of-living adjustment calculation methods provided in this section;

(2) The current benefit paid to a retired member or beneficiary under this subdivision shall be adjusted so that the purchasing power of the benefit being paid is not less than seventy-five percent of the purchasing power of the initial benefit. The purchasing power of the initial benefit in any year following the year in which the initial benefit commenced shall be calculated by dividing the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers factor on June 30 of the current year by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers factor on June 30 of the year in which the benefit commenced. The result shall be multiplied by the product that results when the amount of the initial benefit is multiplied by seventy-five percent. In any year in which applying the adjustment provided in subdivision (3) of this section results in a benefit which would be less than seventy-five percent of the purchasing power of the initial benefit as calculated in this subdivision, the adjustment shall instead be equal to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers factor from the prior year to the current year;

(3) The current benefit paid to a retired member or beneficiary under this subdivision shall be increased annually by the lesser of (a) the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the period between June 30 of the prior year to June 30 of the present year or (b) two and one-half percent;

(4)(a) The current benefit paid to a retired member or beneficiary under this subdivision shall be calculated by multiplying the retired member's or beneficiary's total monthly benefit by the lesser of (i) the cumulative change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from the last adjustment of the total monthly benefit of each retired member or beneficiary through June 30 of the year for which the annual benefit adjustment is being calculated or (ii) an amount equal to three percent per annum compounded for the period from the last adjustment of the total monthly benefit of each retired member or beneficiary through June 30 of the year for which the annual benefit adjustment is being calculated.

(b) In order for a retired member or beneficiary to receive the cost-of-living adjustment calculation method provided in this subdivision, the retired member or beneficiary shall be (i) a retired member or beneficiary who has been receiving a retirement benefit for at least five years if the member had at least twenty-five years of creditable service, (ii) a member who has been receiving a disability retirement benefit for at least five years pursuant to section 24-709, or (iii) a beneficiary who has been receiving a death benefit pursuant to section 24-707 or 24-707.01 for at least five years, if the member's or beneficiary's monthly accrual rate is less than or equal to the minimum accrual rate as determined by this subdivision.

(c) The monthly accrual rate under this subdivision is the retired member's or beneficiary's total monthly benefit divided by the number of years of creditable service earned by the retired or deceased member.

(d) The total monthly benefit under this subdivision is the total benefit received by a retired member or beneficiary pursuant to the Judges Retirement Act and previous adjustments made pursuant to this section or any other provision of the act that grants a benefit or cost-of-living increase, but the total monthly benefit shall not include sums received by an eligible retired member or eligible beneficiary from federal sources.

(e) The board shall annually adjust the minimum accrual rate to reflect the cumulative percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from the last adjustment of the minimum accrual rate;

(5) On July 1 of each year, each retired member or beneficiary shall receive the sum of the annual benefit adjustment and such retiree's total monthly benefit less withholding, which sum shall be the retired member's or beneficiary's adjusted total monthly benefit. Each retired member or beneficiary shall receive the adjusted total monthly benefit until the expiration of the annuity option selected by the member or until the retired member or beneficiary again qualifies for the annual benefit adjustment, whichever occurs first;

(6) The annual benefit adjustment pursuant to this section shall not cause a current benefit to be reduced, and a retired member or beneficiary shall never receive less than the adjusted total monthly benefit until the annuity option selected by the member expires; and

(7) The board shall adjust the annual benefit adjustment provided in this section so that the cost-of-living adjustment provided to the retired member or beneficiary at the time of the annual benefit adjustment does not exceed the change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the period between June 30 of the prior year to June 30 of the present year. If the consumer price index used in this section is discontinued or replaced, a substitute index published by the United States Department of Labor shall be selected by the board which shall be a reasonable representative measurement of the cost-of-living for retired employees.

Source:Laws 2011, LB509, § 10; Laws 2013, LB263, § 12; Laws 2013, LB306, § 3; Laws 2015, LB468, § 4.
24-710.14. Judges who became members on or after July 1, 2015; annual benefit adjustment.

On July 1 of each year, for judges who became members on or after July 1, 2015:

(1) The board shall determine the number of retired members or beneficiaries in the retirement system who became members on or after July 1, 2015, and an annual benefit adjustment shall be made by the board for each retired member or beneficiary. The benefit paid to a retired member or beneficiary under this section shall be increased annually by the lesser of (a) the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the period between June 30 of the prior year to June 30 of the present year or (b) one percent. If the consumer price index used in this section is discontinued or replaced, a substitute index published by the United States Department of Labor shall be selected by the board which shall be a reasonable representative measurement of the cost-of-living for retired employees;

(2) Each retired member or beneficiary shall receive the sum of the annual benefit adjustment and such retiree's total monthly benefit less withholding, which sum shall be the retired member's or beneficiary's adjusted total monthly benefit. Each retired member or beneficiary shall receive the adjusted total monthly benefit until the expiration of the annuity option selected by the member or until the retired member or beneficiary again qualifies for the annual benefit adjustment, whichever occurs first; and

(3) The annual benefit adjustment pursuant to this section shall not cause a current benefit to be reduced, and a retired member or beneficiary shall never receive less than the adjusted total monthly benefit until the annuity option selected by the member expires.

Source:Laws 2015, LB468, § 5.
24-710.15. Judges who became members on and after July 1, 2015; cost-of-living payment.

(1) Beginning July 1, 2015, for judges who become members on and after July 1, 2015, if the annual valuation made by the actuary, as approved by the board, indicates that the system is fully funded and has sufficient actuarial surplus to provide for a supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living payment, the board may, in its discretion, elect to pay a maximum one and one-half percent supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living payment to each retired member or beneficiary based on the retired member's or beneficiary's total monthly benefit through June 30 of the year for which the supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living payment is being calculated. The supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living payment shall be paid within sixty days after the board's decision. In no event shall the board declare a supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living payment if such payment would cause the plan to be less than fully funded.

(2) For purposes of this section, fully funded means the unfunded actuarial accrued liability, based on the lesser of the actuarial value and the market value, under the entry age actuarial cost method is less than zero on the most recent actuarial valuation date.

(3) Any decision or determination by the board to declare or not declare a cost-of-living payment or as to whether the annual valuation indicates a sufficient actuarial surplus to provide for a cost-of-living payment shall be made in the sole, absolute, and final discretion of the board and shall not be subject to challenge by any member or beneficiary. In no event shall the Legislature be constrained or limited in amending the system notwithstanding the effect of any such change upon the actuarial surplus of the system and the ability of the board to declare future cost-of-living payments.

Source:Laws 2015, LB468, § 6; Laws 2017, LB415, § 22.
24-711. Retired judge; statement of facts; contents; false or fraudulent actions; prohibited acts; penalty; denial of benefits.

(1) Any judge who retires under the provisions of section 24-708 or 24-709, or his or her guardian, shall give to the board a statement of facts which shall include an accurate record of all service claimed by such judge, his or her compensation when he or she last served as a judge, the amount of contributions he or she has made to the fund, the amount of benefits he or she is receiving or shall be entitled to receive under the Nebraska and federal old-age and survivors insurance acts, designation of beneficiary, and any other information the board may request. The board shall determine the accuracy of all pertinent facts claimed and may call a hearing to determine any or all matters necessary in order to determine the amount of the annuity to which such judge is entitled. After obtaining all facts it deems necessary, the board shall render its decision as to the amount of the annuity, if any, to which such judge shall be entitled.

(2) Any person who, knowing it to be false or fraudulent, presents or causes to be presented a false or fraudulent claim or benefit application, any false or fraudulent proof in support of such a claim or benefit, or false or fraudulent information which would affect a future claim or benefit application to be paid under the retirement system for the purpose of defrauding or attempting to defraud the retirement system shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor. The retirement board shall deny any benefits that it determines are based on false or fraudulent information and shall have a cause of action against the member to recover any benefits already paid on the basis of such information.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 11, p. 249; Laws 1991, LB 549, § 19; Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 38.
24-712. Annuity payments; continuation; physical examinations, when; cost.

Annuity payments to a judge, who has retired under the provisions of section 24-708, shall continue until the end of the month in which such judge shall die. The last annuity payment and any other payments to which such judge shall be entitled and which have not been paid at the time of his or her death shall be paid to his or her beneficiary. A judge who is receiving annuity payments, under the provisions of section 24-709, shall continue to receive such annuities as long as he or she is permanently disabled, and if such judge shall die while so disabled, payment of annuities shall be terminated in the same manner as provided for a judge who dies subsequent to his or her retirement. Any judge, who is receiving annuities under the provisions of section 24-709, may be required by the commission to submit to a reexamination at any time. Any such judge shall have the right to a reexamination, upon an application to the commission, but not more often than once every six months. A physician appointed by the commission shall make such examinations and report his or her findings to the commission which shall make a determination. If the commission shall find that the permanent disability no longer exists, it shall so notify the judge and the board shall discontinue annuity payments to such judge unless the judge has in the meantime qualified for retirement by reason of his or her age. If any judge refuses to submit to such reexamination, the commission shall immediately terminate all annuity payments to such judge. Costs incurred by the commission for the services of a physician, as authorized by the provisions of section 24-709 and this section, shall be paid by the commission out of money from the fund.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 12, p. 250; Laws 1971, LB 987, § 9; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 25.

Cross References

24-713. State Treasurer; duties; warrants.

The State Treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds and securities of the retirement system and may deposit the funds and securities in any financial institution approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. The Director of Administrative Services is directed to draw warrants on the State Treasurer against the fund for authorized expenditures upon duly itemized vouchers signed by a person authorized by the retirement board. The State Treasurer shall transmit monthly to the board a detailed statement showing all credits to and disbursements from the funds in his or her custody belonging to the retirement system.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 13, p. 250; Laws 1969, c. 178, § 5, p. 767; Laws 1997, LB 623, § 10.
24-713.01. Limitation of actions.

Every claim and demand under the Judges Retirement Act and against the retirement system or the board shall be forever barred unless the action is brought within two years of the time at which the claim accrued.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 1076, § 11; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 19.
24-713.02. Retirement system contributions, property, and rights; how treated.

All contributions to the retirement system, all property and rights purchased with the contributions, and all investment income attributable to the contributions, property, or rights shall be held in trust by the State of Nebraska for the exclusive benefit of members and their beneficiaries and shall only be used to pay benefits to such persons and to pay administrative expenses according to the provisions of the Judges Retirement Act.

Source:Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 39.
24-713.03. Termination of system or contributions; effect.

Upon termination or partial termination of the retirement system or upon complete discontinuance of contributions under the retirement system, the rights of all affected members to benefits accrued to the date of such termination, partial termination, or discontinuance, to the extent funded as of such date, shall be nonforfeitable.

Source:Laws 1998, LB 1191, § 40.
24-714. Retirement of judge; effect; filling of vacancy.

When the Chief Justice or a judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeals, a judge of the district court, or a judge of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court becomes retired under the Judges Retirement Act, he or she shall be relieved of further active duties on the court. The Governor may fill the vacancy caused by such retirement the same as when a vacancy exists on that court for any other reason. When a judge of the county court or judge of a separate juvenile court becomes retired under the provisions of such sections, he or she shall also be relieved of further active duties and a vacancy shall be deemed to exist, which vacancy shall be filled as provided by law.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 14, p. 251; Laws 1957, c. 78, § 3, p. 317; Laws 1957, c. 79, § 5, p. 323; Laws 1959, c. 189, § 15, p. 691; Laws 1965, c. 115, § 4, p. 444; Laws 1984, LB 13, § 34; Laws 1991, LB 732, § 38; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 26; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 20.