CHAPTER 8. MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.

§8-22A-2. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless a federal law or regulation or the context clearly requires a different meaning:

(a) “Accrued benefit” means on behalf of any member two and six-tenths percent per year of the member’s final average salary for the first 20 years of credited service. Additionally, two percent per year for 21 through 25 years and one percent per year for 26 through 30 years will be credited with a maximum benefit of 67 percent of a member’s final average salary. A member’s accrued benefit may not exceed the limits of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and is subject to the provisions of §8-22A-10 of this code.

(b) “Accumulated contributions” means the sum of all retirement contributions deducted from the compensation of a member, or paid on his or her behalf as a result of covered employment, together with regular interest on the deducted amounts.

(c) “Active military duty” means full-time duty in the active military service of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marine Corps. The term does not include regularly required training or other duty performed by a member of a reserve component or National Guard unless the member can substantiate that he or she was called into the full-time active military service of the United States and has received no compensation during the period of that duty from any board or employer other than the armed forces.

(d) “Actuarial equivalent” means a benefit of equal value computed on the basis of the mortality table and interest rates as set and adopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of this article: Provided, That when used in the context of compliance with the federal maximum benefit requirements of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code, “actuarial equivalent” shall be computed using the mortality tables and interest rates required to comply with those requirements.

(e) “Annual compensation” means the wages paid to the member during covered employment within the meaning of Section 3401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, but determined without regard to any rules that limit the remuneration included in wages based on the nature or location of employment or services performed during the plan year plus amounts excluded under Section 414(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code and less reimbursements or other expense allowances, cash or noncash fringe benefits, or both, deferred compensation and welfare benefits. Annual compensation for determining benefits during any determination period may not exceed the maximum compensation allowed as adjusted for cost-of-living in accordance with §5-10D-7 of this code and Section 401(a) (17) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(f) “Annual leave service” means accrued annual leave.

(g) “Annuity starting date” means the first day of the month for which an annuity is payable after submission of a retirement application or the required beginning date, if earlier. For purposes of this subsection, if retirement income payments commence after the normal retirement age, “retirement” means the first day of the month following or coincident with the latter of the last day the member worked in covered employment or the member’s normal retirement age and after completing proper written application for retirement on an application supplied by the board.

(h) “Beneficiary” means a natural person who is entitled to, or will be entitled to, an annuity or other benefit payable by the plan.

(i) “Board” means the Consolidated Public Retirement Board.

(j) “Covered employment” means either: (1) Employment as a full-time municipal police officer or firefighter and the active performance of the duties required of that employment; or (2) the period of time during which active duties are not performed but disability benefits are received under this article; or (3) concurrent employment by a municipal police officer or firefighter in a job or jobs in addition to his or her employment as a municipal police officer or firefighter in this plan where the secondary employment requires the police officer or firefighter to be a member of another retirement system which is administered by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board pursuant to this code: Provided, That the police officer or firefighter contributes to the fund created in this article the amount specified as the member’s contribution in §8-22A-8 of this code.

(k) “Credited service” means the sum of a member’s years of service, active military duty and disability service.

(l) “Dependent child” means either: (1) An unmarried person under age 18 who is: (A) A natural child of the member; (B) a legally adopted child of the member; (C) a child who at the time of the member’s death was living with the member while the member was an adopting parent during any period of probation; or (D) a stepchild of the member residing in the member’s household at the time of the member’s death; or (2) Any unmarried child under age 23: (A) Who is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university; (B) who was claimed as a dependent by the member for federal income tax purposes at the time of the member’s death; and (C) whose relationship with the member is described in paragraph (A), (B) or (C), subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(m) “Dependent parent” means the father or mother of the member who was claimed as a dependent by the member for federal income tax purposes at the time of the member’s death.

(n) “Disability service” means service credit received by a member, expressed in whole years, fractions thereof, or both, equal to one half of the whole years, fractions thereof, or both, during which time a member receives disability benefits under this article.

(o) “Effective date” means January 1, 2010.

(p) “Final average salary” means the average of the highest annual compensation received for covered employment by the member during any five consecutive plan years within the member’s last 10 years of service while employed, prior to any disability payment. If the member did not have annual compensation for the five full plan years preceding the member’s attainment of normal retirement age and during that period the member received disability benefits under this article, then “final average salary” means the average of the monthly compensation which the member was receiving in the plan year prior to the initial disability. “Final average salary” does not include any lump sum payment for unused, accrued leave of any kind or character.

(q) “Full-time employment” means permanent employment of an employee by a participating municipality in a position which normally requires 12 months per year service and requires at least 1,040 hours per year service in that position.

(r) “Fund” means the West Virginia Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement Fund created by this article.

(s) “Hour of service” means: (1) Each hour for which a member is paid or entitled to payment for covered employment during which time active duties are performed. These hours shall be credited to the member for the plan year in which the duties are performed; and (2) each hour for which a member is paid or entitled to payment for covered employment during a plan year but where no duties are performed due to vacation, holiday, illness, incapacity including disability, layoff, jury duty, military duty, leave of absence or any combination thereof and without regard to whether the employment relationship has terminated. Hours under this subdivision shall be calculated and credited pursuant to West Virginia Division of Labor rules. A member may not be credited with any hours of service for any period of time he or she is receiving benefits under §8-22A-17 and §8-22A-18 of this code; and (3) each hour for which back pay is either awarded or agreed to be paid by the employing municipality, irrespective of mitigation of damages. The same hours of service may not be credited both under subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection and under this subdivision. Hours under this paragraph shall be credited to the member for the plan year or years to which the award or agreement pertains, rather than the plan year in which the award, agreement or payment is made.

(t) “Member” means, except as provided in §8-22A-32 and §8-22A-33 of this code, a person hired as a municipal police officer or municipal firefighter, as defined in this section, by a participating municipal employer on or after January 1, 2010. A member shall remain a member until the benefits to which he or she is entitled under this article are paid or forfeited.

(u) “Monthly salary” means the W-2 reportable compensation received by a member during the month.

(v) “Municipality” has the meaning ascribed to it in this code.

 (w)(1) “Municipal police officer” means an individual employed as a member of a paid police department by a West Virginia municipality or municipal subdivision which has established and maintains a municipal policemen’s pension and relief fund, and who is not a member of, and not eligible for membership in, a municipal policemen’s pension and relief fund as provided in §8-22-16 of this code: Provided, That municipal police officer also means an individual employed as a member of a paid police department by a West Virginia municipality or municipal subdivision which is authorized to elect to participate in the plan pursuant to §8-22A-33 of this code. Paid police department does not mean a department whose employees are paid nominal salaries or wages or are paid only for services actually rendered on an hourly basis.

(2) “Municipal firefighter” means an individual employed as a member of a paid fire department by a West Virginia municipality or municipal subdivision which has established and maintains a municipal firemen’s pension and relief fund, and who is not a member of, and not eligible for membership in, a municipal firemen’s pension and relief fund as provided in §8-22-16 of this code: Provided, That municipal firefighter also means an individual employed as a member of a paid fire department by a West Virginia municipality or municipal subdivision which is authorized to elect to participate in the plan pursuant to §8-22A-33 of this code. Paid fire department does not mean a department whose employees are paid nominal salaries or wages or are paid only for services actually rendered on an hourly basis.

(x) “Municipal subdivision” means any separate corporation or instrumentality established by one or more municipalities, as permitted by law; and any public corporation charged by law with the performance of a governmental function and whose jurisdiction is coextensive with one or more municipalities.

(y) “Normal form” means a monthly annuity which is one twelfth of the amount of the member’s accrued benefit which is payable for the member’s life. If the member dies before the sum of the payments he or she receives equals his or her accumulated contributions on the annuity starting date, the named beneficiary shall receive in one lump sum the difference between the accumulated contributions at the annuity starting date and the total of the retirement income payments made to the member.

(z) “Normal retirement age” means the first to occur of the following: (1) Attainment of age 50 years and the completion of 20 or more years of regular contributory service; (2) while still in covered employment, attainment of at least age 50 years and when the sum of current age plus regular contributory service equals or exceeds 70 years; (3) while still in covered employment, attainment of at least age 60 years and completion of 10 years of regular contributory service; or (4) attainment of age 62 years and completion of five or more years of regular contributory service.

(aa) “Plan” means the West Virginia Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System established by this article.

(bb) “Plan year” means the 12-month period commencing on January 1 of any designated year and ending the following December 31.

(cc) “Qualified public safety employee” means any employee of a participating state or political subdivision who provides police protection, firefighting services or emergency medical services for any area within the jurisdiction of the state or political subdivision, or such other meaning given to the term by Section 72(t) (10) (B) of the Internal Revenue Code or by Treasury Regulation §1.401(a)-1(b) (2) (v) as they may be amended from time to time.

(dd) “Regular contributory service” means a member’s credited service excluding active military duty, disability service and accrued annual and sick leave service.

(ee) “Regular interest” means the rate or rates of interest per annum, compounded annually, as the board adopts in accordance with the provisions of this article.

(ff) “Required beginning date” means April 1 of the calendar year following the later of: (1) The calendar year in which the member attains age 70 and one-half; or (2) the calendar year in which he or she retires or otherwise separates from covered employment.

(gg) “Retirement income payments” means the monthly retirement income payments payable.

(hh) “Spouse” means the person to whom the member is legally married on the annuity starting date.

(ii) “Surviving spouse” means the person to whom the member was legally married at the time of the member’s death and who survived the member.

(jj) “Totally disabled” means a member’s inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determined physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. For purposes of this subsection: (1) A member is totally disabled only if his or her physical or mental impairment or impairments is so severe that he or she is not only unable to perform his or her previous work as a police officer or firefighter but also cannot, considering his or her age, education and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful employment which exists in the state regardless of whether: (A) The work exists in the immediate area in which the member lives; (B) a specific job vacancy exists; or (C) the member would be hired if he or she applied for work. For purposes of this article, substantial gainful employment is the same definition as used by the United States Social Security Administration; and (2) “Physical or mental impairment” is an impairment that results from an anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormality that is demonstrated by medically accepted clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. The board may require submission of a member’s annual tax return for purposes of monitoring the earnings limitation.

(kk) “Vested” means eligible for retirement income payments after completion of five or more years of regular contributory service.

(ll) “Year of service” means a member shall, except in his or her first and last years of covered employment, be credited with years of service credit based on the hours of service performed as covered employment and credited to the member during the plan year based on the following schedule:

Hours of Service  Year of Service Credited

Less than 500  0

500 to 999 1/3

1,000 to 1,499 2/3

1,500 or more  1

During a member’s first and last years of covered employment, the member shall be credited with one twelfth of a year of service for each month during the plan year in which the member is credited with an hour of service for which contributions were received by the fund. A member is not entitled to credit for years of service for any time period during which he or she received disability payments under §8-22A-17 and §8-22A-18 of this code.

Bills Affecting §8-22A-2

2021 Regular Session: HB2854
2021 Regular Session: SB467
2018 Regular Session: HB2600
2018 Regular Session: HB4152
2017 Regular Session: HB2600
2017 Regular Session: SB392
2016 Regular Session: HB4519
2015 Regular Session: HB2507
2015 Regular Session: SB301
2009 Fourth Special Session: SB4007
2009 Fourth Special Session: HB407
2004 Regular Session: HB4256
2004 Regular Session: SB670