Judicial Retirement System (JRS)
Employer Training - NEW!
Effective June 19, 2011, all employers, including Certifying Officers and their immediate supervisors, are expected to complete board approved training on proper Enrollment procedures. This training will be made available over the State Web site. Additional information about this required training is available in the Certifying Officer Letter of May 26, 2011, Enrollment Certification and Training Requirements under Chapter 52, P.L. 2011.
The Judicial Retirement
System covers the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the
State Supreme Court, and all judges of the Superior Court and
Tax Court of New Jersey. If an employee is a member of the State
Judiciary in any of these capacities, membership in the Judicial
Retirement System is required as a condition of employment.
Please note that J-1 and F-1 visa holders are not eligible
for membership in the JRS; nor are M-1 or Q-1 visa holders.
Enrollment Application is required. Both the employer
and the employee must complete the JRS Enrollment
On the JRS Enrollment Application,
the member is asked to designate a beneficiary (or beneficiaries)
for the return of pension contributions and life insurance
benefits. If the member
does not complete the "Designation of Beneficiary"
portion of the application, the Division will still accept
the enrollment application so that the enrollment can be processed
in a timely manner, because delayed
and forced enrollments can be costly to the employer.
When a member does not complete
the "Designation of Beneficiary" portion of the
application, the enrollment application will be processed
with the member's estate listed as both group life insurance
and pension beneficiaries.
In such cases, an insurance
packet and policy rider confirming the estate as beneficiary
will be mailed to the member.
In order to change the beneficiary
information in effect once enrollment has occurred, the
member must submit a separate Designation
of Beneficiary form.
Rate of Contribution
Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, the Pension and Health Benefit Reform Law, increased the JRS member contribution rate by an additional 9% — to be phased-in over a seven-year period. This increase is calculated in one of two different ways depending upon when a member was enrolled in the JRS.
- If you enrolled in the JRS on or after January 1, 1996, your original contribution rate to the retirement system is 3% of your total base salary. Under Chapter 78, this rate increases to 4.28% of total base salary beginning in October 2011. The rate will then increase by 1.28% with the first payroll of July 2012 and each July thereafter until a total rate of 12% is reached in July 2017.
- If you enrolled in the JRS prior to January 1, 1996, your original contribution rate to the retirement system is 3% of the difference between your current salary and the salary for your judicial position as of January 18, 1982. Under Chapter 78, the additional 9% contribution is applied to all compensation. In calculating
the increase, only the phased-in 9% rate will be applied to the salary as of January 18, 1982, and a separate rate of 3% plus the phased-in 9% rate will be applied to the balance of salary in excess of the salary as of
January 18, 1982. Therefore, beginning in October 2011, the phased-in rate will be 1.28% for the salary as of January 18, 1982, and 4.28% on all additional salary. This split rate will then increase by 1.28% with the first payroll of July 2012 and each July thereafter until the total additional increase of 9% is reached in July 2017.
Note: Each annual increase in the JRS contribution rate will also increase the minimum repayment amount for pension loans or for the cost of a purchase of service credit if certified after the effective date of the rate change.
Back deductions are
mandatory pension contributions subject to IRC Section 414(h).
They are the pension obligations owed from the date of enrollment
or transfer to the date deductions are certified to begin.
Back deductions are
calculated on the member's current annual salary, regardless
of when the member is enrolled. If back deductions are owed
for a time period exceeding 12 months, 8.25% interest is added.
JRS is a "Qualified"
The JRS is a "qualified"
pension plan under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code,
Section 401(a)(17); therefore, the current federal ceiling on
pensionable salary ($250,000 in 2012) applies to base
salaries of JRS members. Salary earned by a member in excess
of this amount is not pensionable; that is, it may not be used
in determining member contributions and benefits. For more information
about this topic, please see "History
of Pensionable Salary Limits."
are Tax Deferred
Since January 1, 1987,
mandatory pensions contributions have been federally tax deferred
under IRC 414(h). This reduces a member's gross wages subject
to federal income tax.
taxable for State tax purposes.
Purchases of service
credit are voluntary pension contributions and ordinarily are
not tax deferred.
For a fuller discussion
of purchasing Service Credit, click
Consequences of Membership in
Other State-administered Pension Systems
If an employee is
a member of another State-administered retirement system at
the time of becoming a judge, the following options are available:
- The member may elect to withdraw
and receive a refund of all contributions made to the prior
- The member may elect to transfer
membership, provided the non-JRS account has not expired;
- If eligible, the enrolled
JRS member may elect to immediately receive or defer retirement
benefits in the first system.
It is important for
JRS members to know that they may, while serving as judges,
receive a portion of the benefits earned under another retirement
system. However, upon retirement from JRS, all rights to retirement
benefits from a prior system must be forfeited. (Members are
always entitled to a refund of contributions to a prior system,
less any benefits already received.)
Eligibility for State-paid Coverage under the State Health Benefits
Program at Retirement
To be eligible for
State-paid health benefits upon retirement, a minimum of 25
years of service credit under the same pension
system must be attained. This may have an impact on a JRS member's decisions
to purchase service credit, transfer service credit, etc. A
member desiring to learn more about this should contact the
Division of Pensions and Benefits in writing.
A member's service
credit will be counted separately for "Judicial" time
and "non-Judicial" time.
credit will be given for any service that the member was able
to transfer from another State-administered retirement system
into the JRS at the time of enrollment. Members will receive
non-judicial credit for any eligible service they were allowed
to purchase in the JRS (other than prior judicial service).
Issues for Those Receiving Retirement Allowances
Working for private
industry or the federal government will not affect JRS retirement
benefits. For those individuals who return to public employment
after retirement, there are several areas of concern:
receiving a JRS pension or retirement allowance may engage
in the practice of law before any of the courts of
justice of the Supreme Court or any retired judge of the
Superior Court may be recalled by the Supreme Court for
temporary service in the Supreme Court or elsewhere within
the judicial system. If the member accepts the call to reemployment,
the justice or judge will be paid on a "per diem"
basis in an amount established by the Supreme Court. In
no event shall a retired JRS member receive a salary, which,
when combined with a pension or retirement allowance, exceeds
the current salary of a justice or judge of the court from
which he or she retired. In addition, reimbursement will
be made by the State for reasonable expenses incurred by
the justice or judge in connection with his/her assignments.
Reimbursements for expenses are not considered salary for
work in a position covered by any other State-administered
retirement system is allowed. The member's retirement allowance
will continue and the member may receive a salary; however,
a JRS retiree who is receiving a retirement allowance may
not become a member of another NJ State-administered
retirement system. If a JRS member has filed for a Deferred
Retirement, there are certain rare circumstances where enrollment
may be allowed. In such situations, please contact the
Division of Pensions and Benefits for more information.
public employment in New Jersey may affect a member's eligibility
to continue coverage under the State Health Benefits Program.
The retiree should contact the Division of Pensions and
Benefits for more information.
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