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Legal Resources | Education Code |  EC  24300.1  

Options; Teachers' Retirement Law   

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(a) A member may, upon application for retirement, elect an option pursuant to this part that would provide an actuarially modified retirement allowance payable throughout the life of the member and the member's option beneficiary or beneficiaries, as follows:

(1) One hundred percent beneficiary option. The modified retirement allowance shall be paid to the retired member and upon the member's death, 100 percent of the modified allowance shall continue to be paid to the option beneficiary.

(2) Seventy-five percent beneficiary option. The modified retirement allowance shall be paid to the retired member and upon the member's death, 75 percent of the modified allowance shall continue to be paid to the option beneficiary. Pursuant to Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the option beneficiary is the member's spouse or former spouse who has been awarded a community property interest in the benefits of the member under this part, the member may not designate an option beneficiary under this option who is more than exactly 19 years younger than the member.

(3) Fifty percent beneficiary option. The modified retirement allowance shall be paid to the retired member and upon the member's death, 50 percent of the modified allowance shall continue to be paid to the option beneficiary.

(4) Compound option. The member may designate multiple option beneficiaries or one or multiple option beneficiaries with a designated percentage to remain unmodified. The member shall elect an option as described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) for each designated option beneficiary that would provide an actuarially modified retirement allowance payable throughout the lives of the retired member and the member's option beneficiary or beneficiaries upon the member's death.

(A) The modified retirement allowance shall be paid to the member as long as the member and at least one option beneficiary is living. Upon the member's death, an allowance shall be paid to each surviving option beneficiary in accordance with the option elected respective to that option beneficiary.

(B) The member shall specify the percent of the unmodified allowance that will be modified by the election of each option described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subdivision. The percent of the unmodified allowance that is not modified by an option, if any, shall be payable to the member. The sum of the percentages specified for the option beneficiary or beneficiaries and the member's remaining unmodified allowance, if any, shall equal 100 percent.

(C) The member's election of the compound option is subject to all of the following:

(i) Pursuant to Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the option beneficiary is the member's spouse or former spouse who has been awarded a community property interest in the member's benefits under this part, the member may not designate an option beneficiary under the 100 percent beneficiary option within this compound option who is more than exactly 10 years younger than the member.

(ii) Pursuant to Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless the option beneficiary is the member's spouse or former spouse who has been awarded a community property interest in the member's benefits under this part, the member may not designate an option beneficiary under the 75 percent beneficiary option within this compound option who is more than exactly 19 years younger than the member.

(b) For purposes of this section, the member shall designate an option beneficiary on a properly executed retirement application. Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the option shall become effective on the member's benefit effective date.

(c) A member may revoke or change an election of an option no later than 30 days from the date the member's initial benefit payment for the member's most recent retirement under the Defined Benefit Program is paid by the system. A revocation of an option may not be made in derogation of a spouse's or a former spouse's community property rights as specified in a court order.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 297 or 299.2 of the Family Code, a spouse described in paragraphs (2) and (4) of subdivision (a) does not include the domestic partner of the member, pursuant to Section 7 of Title 1 of the United States Code.

(e) If there is a determination of community property rights as described in Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 22650) of this part on or before December 31, 2006, the member may elect the option that is required by the judgment or court order. Nothing in this part shall permit the member to change the option to the detriment of the community property interest of the nonmember spouse.

(f) The board may evaluate the existing options and annuities provided pursuant to this section, Chapter 38 (commencing with Section 25000) of this part, and Part 14 (commencing with Section 26000) and adopt, as a plan amendment, any appropriate changes to the options and annuities based on the needs of the members, participants, and their beneficiaries, including, but not limited to, providing economic security for beneficiaries and reducing the complexity of the options and annuities. The changes to the options and annuities may have no net actuarial impact on the retirement fund and the board may establish any eligibility criteria the board deems necessary to prevent an adverse actuarial impact to the fund. The board shall designate the effective date of the plan amendment, which shall be at least 18 months after the amendment is adopted by the board, and notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the options and annuities available to members and participants eligible to retire pursuant to this part and Part 14 (commencing with Section 26000), after the effective date of the plan amendment made pursuant to this subdivision, shall reflect the changes adopted as a plan amendment to this subdivision.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 755, Sec. 41.)