Chapter 161 – Increase in Special Accidental Death Benefit
This law increases the salary used in the computation of the special accidental death benefit provided under Section 208-f of the NYS General Municipal Law by 3%. The beneficiaries of the following NYCERS members are covered: members of the Uniformed Correction Force, Housing and Transit Police, Emergency Medical Technicians and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) members. The benefit is payable to the widow, 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. Chapter 161 is deemed to have been in full force and effect on July 1, 2011.
Chapter 180 – Extension of Actuarial Interest Rate
This law extends the actuarial interest rate of 8% for one year (expires June 30, 2012). The law also extends the “special” and “additional” interest rates used to credit the contributions and Increased-Take-Home-Pay (ITHP) Reserves for Tier 1 and 2 members for one year (expires June 30, 2012). Such interest rates equal 1.25% and, when added to the regular rate of interest of 7%, bring the total interest rate used to credit Tier 1 and 2 members’ accounts to 8.25%. Chapter 180 is deemed to have been in full force and effect on July 1, 2011.
Chapter 554 – Increase in Percentage of Assets Invested in Real Estate
This law increases the percentage of assets which may be invested by public employee retirement systems in real estate from five to ten percent. Chapter 554 takes effect immediately (enacted September 23, 2011).
Chapter 582 – Expansion of the Definition of Military Service
This law amends various sections of law governing death benefits for members who die while serving on active duty. Specifically, the law provides that death benefits are payable when a member dies while rendering “service in the uniformed services,” a more expansive definition of military service (contained in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act [USERRA]) than the type of service currently required under city/state pension statutes. The Federal Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (“HEART Act”) required public pension plans to make these changes or jeopardize their tax-qualified status. Chapter 582 takes effect immediately (enacted September 23, 2011).