ORBIT

Law Enforcement Officers

Close-up picture of police car lights

The Department of State Treasurer, which administers the pension benefits for the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) and Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS), is committed to keeping you informed about the benefits available to you as a member and a law enforcement officer (LEO).

The information on these LEO pages outline the benefits available to you as an eligible LEO.

Penalty Tax Exemption for Public Safety Employees

The 10 percent penalty tax on early withdrawals from a 401(k) plan do not apply to withdrawals made by a public safety employee, as defined by the IRS, if such withdrawals are made after separation from employment and after the employee reaches the age of 50.

Service and Early Retirement

Service Retirement (Unreduced Benefits)

You may retire with an unreduced service retirement benefit after you:

  • reach age 55 and complete five years of creditable service as an officer; or
  • complete 30 years of creditable service at any age.

Early Retirement (Reduced Benefits)

You may retire early with a reduced retirement benefit after you reach age 50 and complete 15 years of creditable service as an officer.

Your early retirement benefit is calculated using the same formula as a service retirement benefit, multiplied by a reduction percentage based on your age and/or service at early retirement. Since your benefits may be paid over a longer period of time than if you had waited until you were eligible for service retirement, they will be reduced.

 

See State LEO benefit information

See Local LEO benefit information

Additional LEO Benefits

Special Separation Allowance

Special Separation Allowance

As a law enforcement officer, if you retire on a service retirement allowance (i.e., 30 years of creditable service at any age, or age 55 with at least five years of credit as a law enforcement officer), you may be eligible for a monthly separation allowance payable until you reach age 62 or until you return to any employment with state government. Other conditions apply.

Contact your employer for details, since your employer is responsible for making all determinations of eligibility, and for making these benefit payments when they become payable.

Supplemental Retirement Income Plan (NC 401(k))

Supplemental Retirement Income Plan (NC 401(k))

As a law enforcement officer, you are automatically a member of the Supplemental Retirement Income Plan (NC 401(k) Plan). Your employer pays an amount equal to five percent of your salary into your account in the plan, and you may elect to make additional contributions. You decide how the contributions in your account are invested and also how you want to receive the contributions when you separate from employment.

As a law enforcement officer, you may, at retirement, elect to transfer your eligible contributions, not including any Roth after-tax contributions, from the NC 401(k) Plan to the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and be paid an additional monthly benefit from the retirement system based on your transferred balance.

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan for State and Local LEOs

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan for State and Local LEOs

A law enforcement officer of the State of North Carolina or any of its political subdivisions may be eligible for benefits from the Separate Insurance Benefits Plan regardless of the officer's membership in a North Carolina retirement system.
 
The Separate Insurance Benefits Plan is administered by the Boards of Trustees that administer the Teachers' and State Employees' and the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement Systems. The Boards select the company that provides the disability benefits part of the plan.

Disability benefits are currently underwritten by Hartford Life Insurance Company. The Retirement Systems Division administers the death benefits part of the plan. All benefits are paid at a fixed rate.

You are automatically eligible for benefits from the plan as long as you meet one of the following requirements: 

  • You are a full-time law enforcement officer as defined in either Chapter 135 or Chapter 128 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
  • You were a full-time law enforcement officer for any amount of time and the Retirement Systems' Medical Board has determined you are disabled due to a duty-connected cause.
  • You were a full-time law enforcement officer for five years or more and the Medical Board has determined you are disabled due to a non-duty cause.
  • You were a full-time law enforcement officer, but you are receiving disability retirement benefits from one of the state's retirement systems or you are receiving benefits from the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina.
  • You were a full-time law enforcement officer for 20 years or more.

 

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan Quick Reference Guide

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan Disability/Hospital Benefits

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan Disability/Hospital Benefits

If you are in active service and you experience a disability due to an accident, the following benefits, which may be aggregated up to a combined maximum of 52 weeks for any one period of disability:

  • $140 per week for a maximum of 13 weeks if you are in the hospital
  • $60 per week if you are not in the hospital

If you are in active service, retired or receiving a disability benefit and you enter the hospital due to sickness:

  • $140 per week of hospitalization for a maximum of 13 weeks for any one period. Eligibility begins on the second day in the hospital.

If you are retired or receiving a disability benefit and enter the hospital due to an accident:

  • $140 per week for a maximum of 13 weeks if you are under age 65
  • $105 per week for a maximum of 13 weeks if you are over age 65

Claims Process for Disability/Hospital Benefits

Obtain a claim form from your employer. You, your doctor and your current employer (if applicable) must complete the claim form and submit it to the disability/hospital benefits administrator: 

Hartford Life Insurance Company
ATTN: Association/Affinity Markets Disability
P. O. Box 2999
Hartford, Connecticut 06104-2999
Phone: (888) 232-5340, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST
Fax: (866) 913-4044
Policy Number: AGP-1673 

The administrator will pay you directly, not the hospital or doctor.

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan Death Benefits

Separate Insurance Benefits Plan Death Benefits

If your death occurs while you are in active service:

  • $5,000 is paid to your surviving spouse unless you designated a different beneficiary. The amount is increased by $2,100 if your death is line-of-duty related.

If your death occurs after you are retired from active service:

  • $4,000 is paid to your surviving spouse unless you designated a different beneficiary

Claims Process for Death Benefits

Your survivors should submit a copy of the final certificate of death to the death benefits administrator:

N.C. Department of State Treasurer
Retirement Systems Division
3200 Atlantic Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (877) 627-3287, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST
Fax: (919) 855-5800

Other Death Benefits

Other Death Benefits

When you retire, you will have an opportunity to elect coverage under the optional $10,000 Contributory Death Benefit for retired members. Your election must be made within 60 days of the effective date of your retirement. Information about the cost and coverage provisions will be provided to you online if you submit an online retirement application, or it will be mailed to you shortly after the Retirement System receives your paper retirement application.

You may also be entitled to additional benefits such as:

  • a line-of-duty death benefit of $50,000 which is administered jointly by the North Carolina Industrial Commission and the Department of State Treasurer; or
  • a line-of-duty death benefit of $333,604 from the federal Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, Bureau of Justice Assistance, United States Department of Justice.

Additional information is available from your employer or one of the above agencies.