For purposes of the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement Act:
(1)(a) Actuarial equivalent means the equality in value of the aggregate amounts expected to be received under different forms of payment or to be received at an earlier retirement age than the normal retirement age.
(b) For an officer hired before July 1, 2017, the determinations shall 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 the determinations until such percent is amended by the Legislature.
(c) For an officer 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 or taking a refund of contributions, 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 officer'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) Board means the Public Employees Retirement Board;
(3)(a)(i) Compensation means gross wages or salaries payable to the member for personal services performed during the plan year. Compensation does not include insurance premiums converted into cash payments, reimbursement for expenses incurred, fringe benefits, per diems, or bonuses for services not actually rendered, including, but not limited to, early retirement inducements, cash awards, and severance pay, except for retroactive salary payments paid pursuant to court order, arbitration, or litigation and grievance settlements. Compensation includes overtime pay, member retirement contributions, and amounts contributed by the member to plans under sections 125 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.
(ii) For any officer employed on or prior to January 4, 1979, compensation includes compensation for unused sick leave or unused vacation leave converted to cash payments.
(iii) For any officer employed after January 4, 1979, and prior to July 1, 2016, compensation does not include compensation for unused sick leave or unused vacation leave converted to cash payments and includes compensation for unused holiday compensatory time and unused compensatory time converted to cash payments.
(iv) For any officer employed on or after July 1, 2016, compensation does not include compensation for unused sick leave, unused vacation leave, unused holiday compensatory time, unused compensatory time, or any other type of unused leave, compensatory time, or similar benefits, converted to cash payments.
(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;
(4) Creditable service means service granted pursuant to section 81-2034 and all service rendered while a contributing member of the retirement system. Creditable service includes working days, sick days, vacation days, holidays, and any other leave days for which the officer is paid regular wages except as specifically provided in the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement Act. Creditable service does not include eligibility and vesting credit nor service years for which member contributions are withdrawn and not repaid;
(5) Current benefit means the initial benefit increased by all adjustments made pursuant to the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement Act;
(6) DROP means the deferred retirement option plan as provided in section 81-2041;
(7) DROP account means an individual DROP participant's defined contribution account under section 414(k) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(8) DROP period means the amount of time the member elects to participate in DROP which shall be for a period not to exceed five years from and after the date of the member's DROP election;
(9) Eligibility and vesting credit means credit for years, or a fraction of a year, of participation in a Nebraska government plan for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits under the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement Act. Such credit shall be used toward the vesting percentage pursuant to subsection (2) of section 81-2031 but shall not be included as years of service in the benefit calculation;
(10) Hire date or date of hire means the first day of compensated service subject to retirement contributions;
(11) Initial benefit means the retirement benefit calculated at the time of retirement;
(12) Officer means law enforcement officer as defined in section 81-1401 and as provided for in sections 81-2001 to 81-2009, but does not include a law enforcement officer who has been granted an appointment conditioned on satisfactory completion of a training program approved by the Nebraska Police Standards Advisory Council;
(13) Plan year means the twelve-month period beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30 of the following year;
(14) 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;
(15) 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;
(16) 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;
(17) Retirement system or system means the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement System as provided in the act;
(18) Service means employment as a member of the Nebraska State Patrol and shall not be deemed to be interrupted by (a) temporary or seasonal suspension of service that does not terminate the employee's employment, (b) leave of absence authorized by the employer for a period not exceeding twelve months, (c) leave of absence because of disability, or (d) military service, when properly authorized by the board. Service does not include any period of disability for which disability retirement benefits are received under subsection (1) of section 81-2025;
(19) Surviving spouse means (a) the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death if married for at least one year prior to death or if married on the date of the member's retirement or (b) the spouse or former spouse of the member if survivorship rights are provided under a qualified domestic relations order filed with the board pursuant to the Spousal Pension Rights Act. The spouse or former spouse shall supersede the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death as provided under a qualified domestic relations order. If the benefits payable to the spouse or former spouse under a qualified domestic relations order are less than the value of benefits entitled to the surviving spouse, the spouse married to the member on the date of the member's death shall be the surviving spouse for the balance of the benefits; and
(20) Termination of employment occurs on the date on which the Nebraska State Patrol determines that the officer's employer-employee relationship with the patrol is dissolved. The Nebraska State Patrol shall notify the board of the date on which such a termination has occurred. Termination of employment does not include ceasing employment with the Nebraska State Patrol if the officer returns to regular employment with the Nebraska State Patrol or another agency of the State of Nebraska and there are less than one hundred twenty days between the date when the employee's employer-employee relationship ceased and the date when the employer-employee relationship commenced with the Nebraska State Patrol or another state agency. Termination of employment does not occur upon an officer's participation in DROP pursuant to section 81-2041. 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 81-2026, the board shall require the member who has received such benefit to repay the benefit to the retirement system.