- Report Published -
|House Document No. 15|
PUBLICATION YEAR 2005
|Report on the Virginia Retirement System and Related Benefits for Public Safety Officers Injured in the Line of Duty|
|HJR 34 (Regular Session, 2004)|
|The 2004 Session of the General Assembly, through HJR 34, created a joint subcommittee to study the Virginia Retirement System and benefits of public safety officers injured in the line of duty.|
The reasons for the study included: (a) the last study of the benefit structure of the Virginia Retirement System was conducted during the late 1970s and early 1980s; (b) the retirement industry, tax laws, and Social Security benefits have changed significantly since that study; (c) the Virginia Retirement System and its member employers must ensure that employees who are members are provided a comprehensive benefits package that is competitive with other public and private sector entities, and help member employees prepare for retirement by facilitating a thorough understanding of member benefits for retirement planning purposes; and (d) although limited benefits are available to public safety officers who suffer disabling catastrophic personal injuries in the line of duty and to surviving family members, these benefits may be inadequate to cover medical and other living expenses.
The committee was instructed to i) examine the current benefit structure of the Virginia Retirement System; (ii) review matters relating to funding, including amortization schedules, level and adequacy of funded ratios, and blending of contribution rates between and among retirement systems; (iii) make recommendations to improve the Virginia Retirement System; (iv) examine existing Virginia benefits and those provided by other states and the federal government to public safety officers who suffer severe and permanent disabilities as a result of catastrophic personal injuries incurred in the line of duty; and (v) consider such other related matters as the joint subcommittee deems appropriate.
The Joint Subcommittee was chaired by Delegate Lacey E. Putney. Other members on the subcommittee were Delegates Thelma Drake, R. Steven Landes, John A. Cosgrove, Watkins M. Abbitt, Jr., and Johnny S. Joannou; and Senators William C. Wampler, Walther A. Stosch, Kenneth W. Stolle, and Wm. Roscoe Reynolds.
The Joint Subcommittee met four times during 2004, and heard presentations by the staff; the Virginia Retirement System, its actuary and legal counsel; and other interested parties regarding the Virginia Retirement System's various retirement programs and benefits. In November the Joint Subcommittee held a lengthy public hearing.
The Joint Subcommittee began by looking broadly at the benefit structures and funding for all of the programs administered by the Virginia Retirement System. Later meetings focused primarily on the Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System (VaLORS) and the Line of Duty Act. In particular, the Joint Subcommittee examined the issue of membership criteria for VaLORS, though no consensus was reached on the criteria.
Regarding the Line of Duty Act, the Joint Subcommittee examined the issue of membership, the issue concerning whether certain recent benefits should be applied retroactively, and the general administration of the program. The Joint Subcommittee did not reach consensus on making any particular recommendations.