|You may be eligible for additional retirement benefits, and
members who previously belonged to Tier One or Tier Two keep the
contributions made to those accounts prior to judge membership. However, once
becoming a judge member, contributions are made to your judge-member account.
At retirement, you will receive benefits under each program.
Note: If you are
a judge member and a Tier One/Tier
Two member, you may see service credit for these two membership types combined
on your statement. The technology PERS uses for generating annual statements
cannot separate these. However, when you request a benefit estimate or apply
for retirement, PERS will separate your service credits while calculating the
monthly pension benefits you will receive from each membership type.
Judges who previously belonged to the Oregon Public
Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP) can similarly receive benefits from OPSRP
and their judge membership. These members will see OPSRP pension retirement
credit and vesting details on their annual statements. However, please note
that 2019 annual statements do not accurately reflect information regarding
Senate Bill 1546 (2018), which allows for judge service to count toward vesting
requirements for OPSRP.
Some judge members also may see account information about
the Individual Account Program (IAP). IAP accounts only apply if you were a
PERS member (Tier One/Two or OPRSP) before
you became a judge, and only if your PERS membership started after 2004.
The method used to calculate your judge-member pension
benefit is determined by you and which of the judge-member plans you choose to
retire under: Plan A or Plan B.
Note that your choice of plan will become irrevocable once
you reach age 60, and if you fail to choose a plan, you will be automatically retired
under Plan A and its calculation. For details about Plans A and B, see Oregon
Revised Statutes 238.535(1).
Under Plan A, the maximum benefit you can receive is 65% of
your final average salary. Meanwhile, Plan B’s benefit is capped at 75% of your
final average salary. To get the maximum
benefits, you must serve as a judge in a qualifying position for 28 years
for Plan A and 23.54 years under Plan B. If you serve for fewer years, your benefit
will be lower. Plan B also requires you to serve as a pro tem judge, without compensation, for a certain period in your
retirement. See ORS
238.535(1)(c) for details about the pro
Each of the Plan A and B calculations uses at least your
final average salary, applicable service time, and percentage defined by
statute to determine your monthly benefit payment in retirement. To see more
specifics about these calculations, including examples, go to pages 7 and 8 of
Other PERS memberships
If you have another pension from Tier One, Tier Two, or
OPSRP, other calculation methods will be used to determine your monthly
retirement benefit from these plans. To see the equations used for these and
sample calculations, go to the Tier
One/Tier Two and OPSRP
annual statement FAQs.
“Vested status” on your statement indicates whether you have
reached vesting in your judge-member pension and lists the years of service
credit you have accrued. Once vested, you cannot lose your right to your judge-member
pension benefit even if you stop working as a judge in a qualifying position.
Being vested also means you’ll be entitled to other
provisions of the program, such as having death benefits paid to a beneficiary
and a disability retirement allowance should you become unable to work, as
described in ORS 238.555.
To become vested in the Judge Member Program, you must make
contributions to the Judge Member Fund for five years before reaching age 75 and not withdraw your judge account.
Other PERS pension programs have their own rules regarding
vesting. See discussions of vesting on Tier
One/Tier Two’s and OPRSP’s
“Eligibility to Retire” webpages.
You have a couple of options for getting pension benefit estimates:
1. At any time, you can generate your own estimate through Online
Member Services (OMS) for all your accounts: Tier One, Tier Two, OPSRP, and
judge member. When you are viewing your “Account Summary” page, click on the
“Benefit Estimate” link in the list on the left. Click on “Create New Benefit
Estimate” and follow the steps from there.
You will be able to run estimates for: Just your judicial
time, just your Tier One or Tier Two account, or these plans combined. Any
unused sick time you may have accrued prior to serving on the bench will be
brought in by the tool. You will need to run a separate estimate for your OPSRP
The online benefit estimator will use the most recent data
supplied by your employer(s) to create an estimate for any future retirement
date. You can generate multiple benefit estimates with different retirement
dates to help you determine if you are on track to meet your retirement goals.
2. When you are within 24 months of the earliest date on
which you’re eligible to retire, you can request a PERS benefit estimate by
submitting a Judge
Member Benefit Estimate Request form. This estimate also may indicate
whether you have the option to purchase service time, which could increase your
monthly pension benefit or provide extra service time to allow you to retire
sooner. We encourage you to get at least one benefit estimate from PERS before
your retirement date.
If you are a judge member with an Individual Account Program (IAP), you can use the IAP Disbursement Forecaster
to estimate your IAP distribution at retirement.
Complete and submit a new Pre-Retirement
Designation of Beneficiary form to make updates to your judge membership
beneficiary elections before retirement. New beneficiary
designations supersede all past selections.
If you also have Tier One, Tier Two, and/or an IAP
membership, you will need to submit separate beneficiary forms for each
account. Find the forms by clicking the following: Tier
One/Tier Two and IAP.
If you have an OPSRP membership, beneficiary options are
limited by law. See the OPSRP
member annual statement FAQ’s section “Do I have a beneficiary for my OPSRP
pension benefit?” for more details. Do ensure you fill out your IAP
beneficiary if you have an IAP.
If you participated in the Variable Annuity Program, you can
request a one-time, irrevocable transfer
of variable account funds into your regular account. You can do so within
“Section C: To make a one-time transfer” on the PERS:
Judge Member Variable Annuity Program Participation form, and submit that
form via fax or mail to PERS. You must meet age and eligibility requirements as
shown in the Section C instructions.
One-time transfer requests received on or before December 31
of a given year will go into effect on January 1 of the following year.
You can take the transfer at any time or wait to do it at
retirement. Remember: If and when you take the transfer, you will no longer be
eligible to receive a variable annuity in retirement.
Yes, if you already are a participant in the Variable
Annuity Program as a judge member.
Program participants can choose to place 25%, 50%, or 75% of
employee contributions into their variable accounts or cancel all future
contributions using “Section B: To change variable contribution rate” of the PERS:
Judge Member Variable Annuity Program Participation form. All changes
become effective January 1 following the year in which PERS receives the form.
Remember: The Variable Annuity Program is only applicable to
judge members who were sitting judges
and participating in the Variable Annuity Program on or before June 30, 2003. PERS ended the Variable Annuity
Program as an investment option for anyone joining PERS on or after January 1,
For those judges who are variable annuity
participants after retirement, PERS will adjust the variable portion of your retirement
benefit every February 1, based on earnings or losses for the 12-month period
ending October 31 of the prior year.
Talk to PERS
Contact PERS’ judge member coordinator from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday through Friday at 503-603-7507 or PERS.Judge.COUNSELOR@pers.state.or.us.
Member’s Handbook includes helpful information on all aspects of PERS
benefits for judges, including contribution rates, benefit calculations, and
participation in the Variable Annuity Program.
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