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. You may also retire early with a reduced retirement benefit at any age, with 25 years of creditable service and at least 15 years 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.
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.
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.
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: (919) 814-4590, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST
Fax: (919) 855-5800
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 $100,000 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.