Options available — Retirement allowance adjustment — Court-approved property settlement.
(1) Upon an application for retirement for service under RCW 41.32.480 or retirement for disability under RCW 41.32.550, approved by the department, every member shall receive the maximum retirement allowance available to him or her throughout life unless prior to the time the first installment thereof becomes due he or she has elected, by executing the proper application therefor, to receive the actuarial equivalent of his or her retirement allowance in reduced payments throughout his or her life with the following options:
(a) Standard allowance. If he or she dies before he or she has received the present value of his or her accumulated contributions at the time of his or her retirement in annuity payments, the unpaid balance shall be paid to his or her estate or to such person, trust, or organization as he or she shall have nominated by written designation executed and filed with the department.
(b) The department shall adopt rules that allow a member to select a retirement option that pays the member a reduced retirement allowance and upon death, such portion of the member's reduced retirement allowance as the department by rule designates shall be continued throughout the life of and paid to a person who has an insurable interest in the member's life. Such person shall be nominated by the member by written designation duly executed and filed with the department at the time of retirement. The options adopted by the department shall include, but are not limited to, a joint and one hundred percent survivor option and a joint and fifty percent survivor option.
(c) Such other benefits shall be paid to a member receiving a retirement allowance under RCW 41.32.497 as the member may designate for himself, herself, or others equal to the actuarial value of his or her retirement annuity at the time of his retirement: PROVIDED, That the board of trustees shall limit withdrawals of accumulated contributions to such sums as will not reduce the member's retirement allowance below one hundred and twenty dollars per month.
(d) A member whose retirement allowance is calculated under RCW 41.32.498 may also elect to receive a retirement allowance based on options available under this subsection that includes the benefit provided under RCW 41.32.770. This retirement allowance option shall also be calculated so as to be actuarially equivalent to the maximum retirement allowance and to the options available under this subsection.
(2)(a) A member, if married, must provide the written consent of his or her spouse to the option selected under this section, except as provided in (b) of this subsection. If a member is married and both the member and the member's spouse do not give written consent to an option under this section, the department will pay the member a joint and fifty percent survivor benefit and record the member's spouse as the beneficiary. Such benefit shall be calculated to be actuarially equivalent to the benefit options available under subsection (1) of this section unless spousal consent is not required as provided in (b) of this subsection.
(b) If a copy of a dissolution order designating a survivor beneficiary under RCW 41.50.790 has been filed with the department at least thirty days prior to a member's retirement:
(i) The department shall honor the designation as if made by the member under subsection (1) of this section; and
(ii) The spousal consent provisions of (a) of this subsection do not apply.
(3)(a) Any member who retired before January 1, 1996, and who elected to receive a reduced retirement allowance under subsection (1)(b) or (2) of this section is entitled to receive a retirement allowance adjusted in accordance with (b) of this subsection, if they meet the following conditions:
(i) The retiree's designated beneficiary predeceases or has predeceased the retiree; and
(ii) The retiree provides to the department proper proof of the designated beneficiary's death.
(b) The retirement allowance payable to the retiree, as of July 1, 1998, or the date of the designated beneficiary's death, whichever comes last, shall be increased by the percentage derived in (c) of this subsection.
(c) The percentage increase shall be derived by the following:
(i) One hundred percent multiplied by the result of (c)(ii) of this subsection converted to a percent;
(ii) Subtract one from the reciprocal of the appropriate joint and survivor option factor;
(iii) The joint and survivor option factor shall be from the table in effect as of July 1, 1998.
(d) The adjustment under (b) of this subsection shall accrue from the beginning of the month following the date of the designated beneficiary's death or from July 1, 1998, whichever comes last.
(4) No later than July 1, 2001, the department shall adopt rules that allow a member additional actuarially equivalent survivor benefit options, and shall include, but are not limited to:
(a)(i) A retired member who retired without designating a survivor beneficiary shall have the opportunity to designate their spouse from a postretirement marriage as a survivor during a one-year period beginning one year after the date of the postretirement marriage provided the retirement allowance payable to the retiree is not subject to periodic payments pursuant to a property division obligation as provided for in RCW 41.50.670.
(ii) A member who entered into a postretirement marriage prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to this subsection and satisfies the conditions of (a)(i) of this subsection shall have one year to designate their spouse as a survivor beneficiary following the adoption of the rules.
(b) A retired member who elected to receive a reduced retirement allowance under this section and designated a nonspouse as survivor beneficiary shall have the opportunity to remove the survivor designation and have their future benefit adjusted.
(c) The department may make an additional charge, if necessary, to ensure that the benefits provided under this subsection remain actuarially equivalent.
(5) No later than July 1, 2003, the department shall adopt rules to permit:
(a) A court-approved property settlement incident to a court decree of dissolution made before retirement to provide that benefits payable to a member who meets the length of service requirements of RCW 41.32.470 and the member's divorcing spouse be divided into two separate benefits payable over the life of each spouse.
The member shall have available the benefit options of subsection (1) of this section upon retirement, and if remarried at the time of retirement remains subject to the spousal consent requirements of subsection (2) of this section. Any reductions of the member's benefit subsequent to the division into two separate benefits shall be made solely to the separate benefit of the member.
The nonmember ex spouse shall be eligible to commence receiving their separate benefit upon reaching the age provided in RCW 41.32.480(2) and after filing a written application with the department.
(b) A court-approved property settlement incident to a court decree of dissolution made after retirement may only divide the benefit into two separate benefits payable over the life of each spouse if the nonmember ex spouse was selected as a survivor beneficiary at retirement.
The retired member may later choose the survivor benefit options available in subsection (4) of this section. Any actuarial reductions subsequent to the division into two separate benefits shall be made solely to the separate benefit of the member.
Both the retired member and the nonmember divorced spouse shall be eligible to commence receiving their separate benefits upon filing a copy of the dissolution order with the department in accordance with RCW 41.50.670.
(c) The separate single life benefits of the member and the nonmember ex spouse are not (i) subject to the minimum benefit provisions of RCW 41.32.4851, or (ii) the minimum benefit annual increase amount eligibility provisions of RCW 41.32.489 (2)(b) and (3)(a).
(d) The department may make an additional charge or adjustment if necessary to ensure that the separate benefits provided under this subsection are actuarially equivalent to the benefits payable prior to the decree of dissolution.
[2002 c 158 § 8; 2000 c 186 § 2; 1998 c 340 § 6; 1996 c 175 § 4; 1995 c 144 § 12; 1990 c 249 § 5; 1955 c 274 § 26; 1947 c 80 § 53; Rem. Supp. 1947 § 4995-72. Prior: 1941 c 97 § 7, part; 1939 c 86 § 7, part; 1937 c 221 § 8, part; Rem. Supp. 1941 § 4995-8, part.]
| Effective date -- 1998 c 340: See note following RCW 2.10.146.|
Findings -- 1990 c 249: See note following RCW 2.10.146.