Nebraska Revised Statute 16-1027
Retiring firefighter; annuity options; how determined; lump-sum payment.
(1) At any time before the retirement date, the retiring firefighter may elect to receive his or her pension benefit at retirement either in the form of a straight life annuity or any optional form of annuity benefit established by the retirement committee and provided under a purchased annuity contract. Such optional annuity benefit shall be specified in the funding medium for the retirement system and shall include a straight life annuity with a guarantee of at least sixty monthly payments or an annuity payable for the life of the retiring firefighter and, after the death of the retiree, monthly payments, as elected by the retiring firefighter, of one hundred percent, seventy-five percent, or fifty percent of the amount of annuity payable to the retiring firefighter during his or her life, to the beneficiary selected by the retiring firefighter at the time of the original application for an annuity. For any firefighter whose retirement date is on or after January 1, 1997, the optional benefit forms for the retirement system shall include a single lump-sum payment of the firefighter's retirement value. For firefighters whose retirement date is prior to January 1, 1997, a single lump-sum payment shall be available only if the city has adopted such distribution option in the funding medium established for the retirement system. The retiring firefighter may further elect to defer the date of the first payment or lump-sum distribution to the first day of any specified month prior to age seventy. In the event the retiring firefighter elects to receive his or her pension benefit in the form of an annuity, the amount of such annuity benefit shall be the amount provided by the annuity contract purchased or otherwise provided by the firefighter's retirement value as of the date of the first payment. Any such annuity contract purchased by the retirement system may be distributed to the retiring firefighter. Upon the payment of a lump sum or the distribution of a paid-up annuity contract, all obligations of the retirement system to pay retirement benefits to the firefighter and his or her beneficiaries shall terminate, without exception.
(2) For all firefighters employed on January 1, 1984, the amount of the pension benefit at the retirement date shall not be less than the following amounts:
(a) If retirement from the city occurs following age fifty-five with twenty-one years of service with the city, fifty percent of regular pay;
(b) If retirement from the city occurs following age fifty but before age fifty-five with at least twenty-one years of service with the city, such firefighter shall receive the actuarial equivalent of the benefit which would otherwise be provided at age fifty-five;
(c) If retirement from the city occurs on or after age fifty-five with less than twenty-one years of service with the city, such firefighter shall receive a pension of at least fifty percent of the salary he or she was receiving at the time of retirement multiplied by the ratio of the years of service to twenty-one;
(d) For terminations of employment from the city on or after September 9, 1993, if such termination of employment as a firefighter occurs before age fifty-five but after completion of twenty-one years of service with the city, such firefighter shall receive upon the attainment of age fifty-five a pension benefit of fifty percent of regular pay;
(e) Unless an optional annuity benefit is selected by the retired firefighter, at the death of any such retired firefighter the same rate of pension as is provided for in this section shall be paid to the surviving spouse of such deceased firefighter during such time as the surviving spouse remains unmarried and, in case there is no surviving spouse, then the minor children, if any, of such deceased firefighter shall equally share such pension benefit during their minority, except that as soon as a child of such deceased firefighter ceases to be a minor, such pension as to such child shall cease; or
(f) In the event a retired firefighter or his or her surviving beneficiaries die before the aggregate amount of pension payments received by the firefighter and his or her survivor beneficiaries, if any, equals the total amount in the firefighter's employee account, at the time of the first benefit payment the difference between the total amount in the employee's account and the aggregate amount of pension payments received by the retired firefighter and his or her surviving beneficiaries, if any, shall be paid in a single sum to the firefighter's estate.
A firefighter entitled to a minimum pension benefit under this subsection may elect to receive such pension benefit in any form permitted by subsection (1) of this section, including a single lump-sum payment, if the firefighter retires on or after January 1, 1997, or if the city has adopted a lump-sum distribution option for firefighters retiring before January 1, 1997, in the funding medium for the retirement system. If the minimum pension benefit is paid in the form of an optional annuity benefit or a single lump-sum payment, such benefit or payment shall be the actuarial equivalent of the annuity that would otherwise be paid to the firefighter pursuant to this subsection.
If the firefighter chooses the single lump-sum payment option, the firefighter may request that the actuarial equivalent be equal to the average of the cost of two annuity contracts based on products available for purchase in Nebraska, if the difference between the cost of the two annuity contracts does not exceed five percent. Of the two annuity contracts used for comparison, one shall be chosen by the firefighter and one shall be chosen by the city. If the difference between the two annuity contracts exceeds five percent, the retirement committee shall review the costs of the two annuity contracts and make a recommendation to the city council as to the amount of the lump-sum payment to be made to the firefighter. The city council shall, after a hearing, determine the amount of the single lump-sum payment due the firefighter. The annuity contracts used for comparison shall all use the same type of sex-neutral basis benefit calculation.
(3) If the retirement value of a firefighter entitled to a minimum pension benefit under subsection (2) of this section is not sufficient at the time of the first payment to purchase or provide the required pension benefit, the city shall utilize such funds as may be necessary from the unallocated employer account of the retirement system to purchase or provide for the required pension benefit.
(4) Any retiring firefighter whose pension benefit is less than twenty-five dollars per month on the straight life annuity option shall be paid a lump-sum settlement equal to the retirement value in lieu of annuity and shall not be entitled to elect to receive annuity benefits.
- Laws 1983, LB 531, § 8;
- Laws 1992, LB 672, § 22;
- Laws 1993, LB 724, § 5;
- Laws 1994, LB 1068, § 1;
- Laws 2014, LB759, § 12.