Chapter 5 - World Trade Center (WTC) Death Benefits – Technical Fix
This law amends Chapter 445 of the Laws of 2006, which provided line-of-duty death benefits to the statutory beneficiaries of eligible members/retirees who die from illnesses or diseases contracted as a result of participation in WTC rescue, recovery or cleanup operations. The enactment of Chapter 5 eliminates the gaps in coverage and other ambiguities found in Chapter 445. The following is a brief description of the law’s provisions:
- Includes retirees in the special accidental death benefit provisions of Section 208-f of the General Municipal Law.
- Includes active members in the accidental death benefit provisions of the Retirement & Social Security Law and Administrative Code of the City of New York.
- Clarifies that ALL members/retirees must have met the underlying criteria of the WTC Presumptive Disability Law (pre-employment physical examination, participated in rescue, recovery or cleanup operations for a minimum of forty hours, filed a timely Notice of Participation) OR, for retirees only, would have met the criteria if not already retired on an accidental disability.
- Clarifies eligible beneficiaries who successfully apply and are awarded death benefits under this law shall relinquish their rights to prospective benefits payable under a service or disability retirement benefit, including any post-retirement death benefits, since the retiree’s death.
Chapter 39 - Increase in Special Accidental Death Amounts
Chapter 39 of the Laws of 2007 increases the special accidental death benefit, by 3% or more for deaths that occurred in 2007 or earlier for Correction Officers, Housing and Transit Police, certain EMTs and TBTA members. The benefit is payable to the widow or widower or the children of the deceased under 18 years of age or under 23 if the child is a student, if the widow or widower is deceased. This law was signed on May 29, 2007 and takes effect on July 1, 2007.
Chapter 182 - Parks Dept. Climbers & Pruners to Buy-Back Layoff Time
This law allows employees of the NYC Parks Department in the titles of Climber and Pruner, who were laid off on or after July 1, 1991 and who returned to service prior to July 1, 1995 to buy-back the period of time they were laid off. Eligible members shall be deemed to have been in continuous service for the layoff period provided it did not exceed 25 months in duration. To effectuate the buy-back, members are required to pay the Basic Member Contributions required of them had they been in service and if they are in a Chapter 96 plan, the Additional Member Contributions required under such plan.
Chapter 214 - Expansion of Covered Sites in WTC Presumptive Disability Law
This law expands the covered sites defined in the WTC Presumptive Disability Law to include members who repaired, cleaned or rehabilitated vehicles contaminated by debris at the WTC site, regardless of whether the vehicles were tended to at the WTC site. Such members, now deemed eligible, would still have to meet the underlying criteria established in the WTC Presumptive Disability Law, i.e. passed a physical examination upon entry into service, etc.
Chapter 349 - Re-opener for certain Automotive Members
This law allows members in the following titles to elect to participate in the Automotive Workers twenty-five year/age 50 retirement plan (AUT 25):
Senior Stationary Engineer, Stationary Engineer, Auto Mechanic (Diesel), Auto Electrician, Auto Machinist, Machinist or Machinist Helper.
Members in the aforementioned titles may file a duly executed application with NYCERS within 270 days after the enactment of this law in order to become a participant in this retirement plan. Employees in the aforementioned titles were first given the opportunity to elect the Automotive Workers twenty-five year/age 50 retirement plan pursuant to Chapter 681 of the Laws of 2003.This law affords them another opportunity to join the plan.
Chapter 379 - TWU Refund Law
This law allows current and former members of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100 who had an accumulated balance of additional member contributions made in accordance with the Transit 25-Year/Age 55 Retirement Plan on December 16, 2005 to apply for a refund of such contributions. Former members include retirees (if retired after 12/16/05) and those who were promoted to supervisory titles represented by another public employee union.
Chapter 495 - Extension of WTC Notice of Participation Deadline
This law extends the deadline for eligible members to file the Notice of Participation required by the World Trade Center Presumptive Disability Law. Eligible members, except Tier 3 Correction Officers, may now file the Notice of Participation no later than June 14, 2009. Eligible Tier 3 Correction Officers may file no later than June 13, 2009. This law is retroactive to June 14, 2007, therefore, members who may have filed after the original deadline are now considered to have filed a timely Notice of Participation.
Chapter 496 - Document Reproduction and Preservation through a “Durable Medium”
This law authorizes public retirement systems to reproduce all or any part of paper records by any computerized process which accurately produces a digital image of such paper records. Once the paper records have been reproduced, examined and placed in easily accessible files, the retirement systems are further authorized to dispose of or destroy the originals. The law also authorizes representatives of public retirement systems to certify the authenticity of the records reproduced and authorizes the systems to charge for copies of such records as provided by law.
Chapter 625 - Raising the Maximum Benefit Cap for Tier 2 Investigators
This law raises the maximum benefit cap for Tier 2 members of the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System and Tier 2 NYCERS Investigators to 32 years from 30 years. The law takes effect immediately.
Chapter 627 - IRS 414h Treatment for Buy-back Payroll Deductions (including Military)
This law allows the favorable tax treatment, as authorized by Section 414h of the Internal Revenue Code, of payroll deductions towards the purchase of previous service or military service. Such payroll deductions would be eligible for employer pick-up, or Federal tax-deferred status, like payroll deductions toward required Basic or Additional Member Contributions, etc. The law takes effect at the beginning of the first payroll period following sixty (60) days after at least one of the retirement systems covered by this act shall receive an IRS ruling stating the authorization of the favorable tax treatment of such payroll deductions.
Chapter 637 - Prior Service to Count as Uniformed FDNY Service
This law allows the following types of service to count as service in the uniformed force of the NYC Fire Department for retirement eligibility and benefit purposes (such prior service must immediately precede service in the uniformed force of the NYC Fire Department):
- Allowable EMT Service.
- Allowable Peace Officer Service (as defined in Section 2.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law).
- Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Marshal, D.A. Investigator.
- Any position specified in Appendix A of the agreement dated October 27, 2005 among the City of New York, the Uniformed Firefighters’ Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers’ Association.
This law takes effect immediately.