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Pensions and Benefits
Optional Retirement Benefit

August 26, 2002

TO: Judicial Retirement System Members

FROM: Janice C. Curtin, Assistant Director, Pension Operations

SUBJECT: New Optional Retirement Benefit

Governor McGreevey signed Chapter 54, P.L. 2002 into law which provides an optional survivor benefit to both active and retired members of the Judicial Retirement System (JRS). This letter briefly outlines this new optional benefit that will be available to you upon your retirement.

Chapter 54 provides a JRS member the option of selecting a reduced retirement allowance in order to provide a survivor benefit to a named beneficiary. This benefit is in addition to and separate from the statutory monthly benefit already in place for a surviving spouse and dependent children.

The new optional benefit payments permitted by this law are identical to those offered to members of the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund. These include monthly survivor benefits of 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the retiree's retirement allowance, which are reduced to pay for the survivor's benefit. Should you elect one of these optional methods of payment when you retire, the reduction in your retirement benefit is based on your age and the age of your beneficiary at the time of your retirement. The various options, as well as the statutory survivor benefit, are described in the enclosed Fact Sheet #61, Planning for Your Survivors - Pension Options Adobe PDF (47K).

JRS members who retire on or after October 1, 2002, will have to make a selection from the payment options at the time of their retirement. Current JRS retirees are currently being given a one-time opportunity to change to one of these optional payment methods.

Due to the increased retirement payment options now available, we recommend that you request a written estimate of your retirement benefits when you are within two years of retirement. This will assist you in planning for your retirement.

If you have any questions about this optional benefit, please contact your AOC human resource representative, Lisa Fisk at (609) 292-4687, or call Shirlene Scott from the Division of Pensions and Benefits at (609) 292-0909 or e-mail the Division of Pensions and Benefits.


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