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Indiana Public Retirement System

Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) > My Fund > Judges > 1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System Handbook 1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System Handbook

Membership

Eligibility

To qualify for membership in the 1977 or 1985 Judges' Retirement System (JRS), you must have served or be serving, as a regular judge or magistrate for any of the following courts:

  • Supreme Court of the State of Indiana
  • Court of Appeals of the State of Indiana
  • Circuit Court of a Judicial Circuit
  • Superior Court of a county
  • Criminal Court of a county having a separate criminal court
  • Probate Court of a county having a separate probate court
  • Juvenile Court of a county having a separate juvenile court
  • Municipal Court of a county
  • County Court of a county
  • Indiana Tax Court

Participation

You are a member of the 1977 JRS if you are a judge who joined before Sept. 1, 1985. You were allowed 20 days after your term as judge began to make this election. If you did not elect to join, you are not a member of the 1977 JRS.

If you ended your employment as judge and returned to your position after Aug. 31, 1985, you are still a member of the 1977 JRS.

If you became a judge after Aug. 31, 1985, you are a member of the 1985 JRS.

If you were serving as a full-time magistrate on July 1, 2010, you had until Oct. 1, 2010 to elect the 1985 JRS. All full-time magistrates who began service after July 1, 2010, are members of the 1985 JRS.

Service Purchase

If you qualify, you may purchase service under conditions described in the Indiana Pension Laws and the Indiana Administrative Code.

If you are a judge in the 1977 JRS with PERF service credit before becoming a judge or after leaving the bench, you may be given credit for that service in the JRS under certain conditions. You must have service credit in one of the following positions:

  • full-time referee,
  • full-time commissioner, or
  • full-time magistrate

Purchase of prior service under a public employees' retirement fund

If you are a judge or magistrate who is not vested, have at least eight years of service credit in the JRS, and have prior service in another Indiana pension, you may purchase part or all of that service at actuarial cost. This applies to:

  • a judge or after Dec. 31, 2010,
  • a judge or full-time magistrate,
  • before becoming a judge, or
  • after Dec. 31, 2010, a judge or full-time magistrate who was a member of a public employees' retirement fund.

You may purchase the prior service that credited under a public employees' retirement fund. You will receive credit if the state contributes the necessary amount and the judge or full-time magistrate pays in a lump sum or in a series of payments determined by the board. No more than five annual payments may be made for the total cost of the service. The total cost of the service is determined by the actuary.

You will be granted credit in the 1977 JRS if the state contributes the necessary amount. The actuary determines the amount necessary to pay off the service liability. You will have to pay the amount that you would have contributed if you had been a member of the JRS during that service.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, if you are a judge in the 1985 JRS with PERF service credit before becoming a judge or after leaving the bench, you may be given credit for that service in the 1985 JRS under certain conditions. You must be a judge who:

  • was appointed to serve:
    • as a full-time referee or full-time commissioner, or
    • before Jan. 1, 2011, a full-time magistrate,
  • was a PERF member during that employment, and
  • received service credit under PERF for that employment.

You will be granted credit in the 1985 JRS if the state contributes the necessary amount. The actuary determines the amount necessary to pay off the service liability. You will have to pay the amount that you would have contributed if you had been a member of the JRS during that service.

If you are a magistrate in the 1985 JRS after Dec. 31, 2010, with PERF service credit, you may be given credit for that service in the JRS under certain conditions. You must be a magistrate who:

  • is a full-time magistrate,
  • was appointed to serve:
    • as a full-time referee or full-time commissioner, or
    • before Jan. 1, 2011, a full-time magistrate,
  • was a PERF member during that employment, and
  • received service credit under PERF for that employment.

You will be granted credit in the 1985 JRS if the state contributes the necessary amount. The actuary determines the amount necessary to pay off the service liability. You will have to pay a lump sum to pay off the service liability. The actuary determines the total cost of that service.

Contributions

If you are a member of the 1977 or 1985 JRS, you must contribute 6 percent of the state paid portion of your pay. This 6 percent contribution is required for all years of service up to 22.

You must contribute to the plan unless you:

  • are not employed as a judge, or magistrate
  • are currently serving as a senior judge.

As of Jan. 1, 1989, you are deemed to have made a one-time binding pay reduction agreement if you began service before Sept. 1, 1985. The reduction equals 6 percent of each pay. The state auditor will pay and credit the 6 percent contributions to the fund.

As of Oct. 1, 1989, in accordance with Section 414(h) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, the state of Indiana began to pay the 6 percent contributions for judges who started service after Aug. 31, 1985. Judges’ salaries were reduced by 6 percent to fund the state contributions. The contributions are not taxed until paid as a distribution or monthly benefit.

The interest rate for employees will be set at least annually when crediting interest on employee contribution accounts. If you are an active member, your interest will be credited, at least annually, based on the prior fiscal year end balance.

The amount credited to your account must equal the value of your contributions plus interest valued the day before you apply for a distribution or the date of your death plus contributions received after that date. You must have:

  • separated from service before vesting,
  • died before vesting, or
  • be the survivor of a deceased member with no survivor pension available.

If you have less than 20 years of service and no activity on your account after 10 years, you will not receive interest credit.

You may receive pay from the county and the state paid portion of your pay. You are not required to make contributions on any salary from the county. The county paid portion of your pay is not used in the benefit calculation.

Retirement Benefits

Entitlement

You are entitled to receive a normal retirement with full benefits if you:

  • are age 65 and have at least eight years of service credit as a plan member, or
  • are at least age 55 and your age plus years of service total at least 85 (Rule of 85).

You will qualify for early retirement with reduced benefits if you:

  • are between the ages of 62 - 65, and
  • have at least eight years of service credit as a plan member.

Your benefit begins the day after you end employment as a plan member or some other date you choose after you end employment. You are entitled to a monthly benefit for life. The amount you receive will be calculated according to Indiana statutes. (See Table A).

If you are currently receiving or are entitled to receive any pay from the state for services performed as a judge or a magistrate under IC 33-23-5 (as defined in IC 33-38-6-7), you do not qualify for a retirement benefit.

Amount

If you apply for a retirement benefit and you are age 65 (or age 55 and meet the Rule of 85), you are entitled to a retirement benefit that equals the salary being paid for the office you held at the time you ended service,* multiplied by the percentage shown below:

Table A

Years of Service Percentage
8 24%
9 27%
10 30%
11 33%
12 50%
13 51%
14 52%
15 53%
16 54%
17 55%
18 56%
19 57%
20 58%
21 59%
22 or more 60%

*Your 1977 JRS benefit is based on the salary being paid for the office on the effective date of your retirement benefit, even if the salary is higher than when you separated from service.  Your 1985 JRS benefit is based on the current salary in effect for the position you held at separation from service.

Early retirement benefits, ages 62 to 65, are reduced by 0.1 percent for each month that your retirement precedes your 65th birthday. If you qualify for a disability benefit from JRS, this reduction does not apply.

You may continue to receive retirement benefits if you re-employ with the state of Indiana, as long as you are not re-employed as a judge or magistrate.

Benefit Overpayment or Underpayment

INPRS is required by federal and state law to correct any errors in benefit calculations. If you receive an overpayment as a result of an error, INPRS is required to recover the overpayment. If you are underpaid, you will receive an additional payment from INPRS.

Disability Benefits

Determination

You are deemed permanently disabled if the INPRS board receives written certification of your disability by a licensed and practicing physician (your treating physician) and the INPRS Medical Authority.

This certification must state that your:

  • physical or mental disability prevents you from earning a living, and
  • the condition is likely to be permanent.

You must be re-examined by at least two licensed physicians (your treating physician and an INPRS physician) within a year. The INPRS physician will be chosen by the INPRS board. The board will decide the intervals for the re-examinations. If, in the judgment of these physicians, you have improved from your disability, your benefits will stop unless you:

  • are age 65, or
  • meet the Rule of 85.

Amount

Your annual benefit, if you become permanently disabled, will equal the salary you were receiving at the time you ended service*, multiplied by the percentage shown below:

Table B

Years of Service Percentage
0-12 50
13 51%
14 52%
15 53%
16 54%
17 55%
18 56%
19 57%
20 58%
21 59%
22 or more 60%

*Your disability benefit for the 1977 JRS is based on the salary being paid for the office on the effective date of your disability benefit, even if the salary is higher than when you separated from service. Your disability benefit for the 1985 JRS is based on your pay at the time you ended service.

Survivor Benefits

Under the 1977 and 1985 JRS, your spouse or elected child or children qualify for survivor benefits if you:

  • died while receiving benefits,
  • completed at least eight years of service and you were in service as a judge at your time of death,
  • completed at least eight years of service, was not in service as a judge, but you were entitled to a future benefit, or
  • were permanently disabled at the time of your death.

Under JRS, the surviving spouse is usually entitled to the greater of an amount set by statute or 50 percent of your retirement benefits that you were drawing (or would have been entitled to draw) at the time of your death.

If a child is entitled to benefits, he or she will receive his or her share until age 18. If a child has a physical or mental disability, the child will receive benefits the entire period of the disability, or until he or she turns 18, whichever period is longer. Acceptable proof of disability must be submitted to INPRS. When benefits end for a child with a disability, the remaining benefits will be shared equally among the remaining children. If the surviving spouse is living when benefits end for all selected children, the surviving spouse will receive the benefit for the remainder of his or her life.

If no benefits are payable to a surviving spouse or elected child or children, any dependent(s) may withdraw contributions plus interest at a rate set by the board. If there are no surviving dependents, the benefits are payable to your estate.

If you are not survived by a spouse, child or children, or other dependents, your contributions, plus interest at a rate set by the board and minus any payments made to you, will be paid to the executor or manager of your estate. This will happen within 60 days of a request for the funds being properly filed with INPRS.

You can log in to your online member account to manage your personal and pension benefit information. You will need your Social Security number (SSN) and passcode to get started. If you do not have your SSN or passcode, call our office at (888) 286-3544.

Withdrawal from the System

If you end service in the JRS and return to a covered position for at least one year, you may purchase all or part of your previous service.

1977 JRS

You may withdraw all of your contributions to the fund, if you:

  • end service as a judge, and
  • have less than 12 years of creditable service.

You may choose to receive:

  • a lump sum payment, or
  • monthly installments.

1985 JRS

If you end service as a plan member under the 1985 JRS (other than by death or disability) and if you do not qualify for a retirement benefit, you may withdraw all of your contributions to the fund.

You may choose to receive:

  • a lump sum payment, or
  • monthly installments.

Income Tax Consequences

If you end service before you qualify for monthly benefits, you may elect to receive a distribution of your member contributions.

The 6 percent pre-tax basis contribution will be taxed (as ordinary income) for the year the distribution is received.

If you are under age 59 ½ at the time your distribution is paid, you may be subject to an additional 10 percent federal tax penalty on the above taxable amount.

An explanation of your four annuity payment choices and the tax consequences of those choices follow:

  • Choice A: You may have the total amount of your contributions (less the mandatory withholding for federal income tax) PAID DIRECTLY TO YOU.
  • Choice B: You may have the entire taxable portion of your contributions paid in the form of a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The taxable portion can also be paid to a Qualified Retirement Plan with provisions to accept the rollover on your behalf. The remaining non-taxable portion of your account is paid directly to you.
  • Choice C: (May be selected only if you want a partial rollover amount of at least $500) You may have a part of the taxable portion of your contribution paid in the form of a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an IRA or a Qualified Retirement Plan with provisions to accept the rollover on your behalf. The remaining balance will be paid directly to you.
  • Choice D: You may have the total amount of your contributions paid to you in monthly installments.

NOTE: If you elect to have your contributions paid directly to you and not a direct rollover to an IRA or a Qualified Retirement Plan, INPRS is required to withhold 20 percent of all taxable portions. The 20 percent withholding is for federal income taxes.

If you select Choice B or C, INPRS will send you a check payable to the trustee of the IRA or Qualified Retirement Plan. You will receive a separate check payable to you for your non-taxable portion and any taxable portion not directly rolled over. It is your responsibility to deliver the check to the trustee of the IRA or Qualified Retirement Plan that you specified on your distribution form.

NOTE: Federal income tax will not be withheld if you choose a direct rollover. The taxable portion of your direct rollover will not be taxed until you choose a distribution from that plan.

CAUTION: You should consult the trustee of your qualified plan or IRA or your professional tax advisor if you need more information about the taxes on your distribution.

The Administrative Review Process

Appeals of the JRS plan initial determination will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge in compliance with the Indiana Administrative Orders and Procedures Act IC 4-21.5.

To request administrative review, you must have rights as a party or a right to intervene. The steps of administrative review are here.

All parties will have the chance to present additional evidence during the appeal process. The Administrative Law Judge will submit findings to INPRS. INPRS will review the findings of the Administrative Law Judge and issue a final determination.

All parties will be informed of the final determination.


Every attempt has been made to verify that the information in this handbook is correct and up-to-date. Published content does not constitute legal advice. If a conflict arises between information contained in this publication and the law, the applicable law shall apply.