LRS Handbook

Post

Introduction

This Handbook summarizes the main provisions of laws that provide benefits to members of the Georgia General Assembly. Unless otherwise specifically indicated, the Handbook describes these laws as in effect on July 1, 2019.

It is important to remember that this Handbook is only a summary of the law, and therefore provides only general information. A summary cannot deal with every possible set of circumstances. Also, from time to time, the laws will be amended, and while we make every effort to update this Handbook in a timely fashion, there may be a period of time during which the Handbook does not reflect recent changes in the law. If something is not covered in detail in this summary, or if this summary can be read to be inconsistent with the governing laws, the law will control.

It is important that you read the entire Handbook. Reading only portions can be confusing and misleading.

About the Benefits Described in this Handbook

The Legislative Retirement System (LRS) was established on July 1, 1967, as provided by laws enacted through the Georgia General Assembly.

Laws governing LRS provide for lifetime retirement benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits to LRS Members who earn enough years of service to qualify.  Members who have terminated employment may also choose to receive a refund of their Contributions plus Interest, regardless of the amount of service they earned.  Employee and Employer Contributions are paid into the retirement fund for the welfare of Members and their beneficiaries.  All benefits are paid from this fund.  Benefit structures may have changed over time, and any benefit provisions which no longer apply to any active member or apply only to a small population may not be covered in detail in this Handbook.

An independent actuarial firm specializing in pension and retirement plans examines the fund every year.  The actuarial firm prepares an annual valuation on the ability of the fund to meet future obligations, and every five years performs an actuarial experience study.  The System is also examined annually by an independent accounting firm.

LRS is administered by the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia (ERSGA).  A Board of Trustees is responsible for the administration of LRS.  Daily operations are under the direct administration of the ERSGA Director and staff.  For more information about the Board of Trustees, please visit our web site.

Contacting ERSGA

Through this website, you can:

  • View this Handbook 
  • Download forms
  • Review frequently asked questions
  • Obtain information about legislation under consideration by the Georgia General Assembly
  • Link to other websites

Log in to your account (using the Log In button at the top of the page) to:

  • See your personal account information
  • Conduct transactions such as designating a beneficiary and estimating your retirement benefits

Inquiries related to retirement or general inquiries about LRS can be emailed to: ers.contacts@ers.ga.gov.

Mailing address:

Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia
Two Northside 75, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA  30318

Phone numbers:

General Number:  404.350.6300
Toll free: 1.800.805.4609 (outside metro Atlanta area)
Fax:  404.350.6310

Hours of Operation:  8:00 am to 4:30 pm ET

To contact Peach State Reserves, call toll free: 1.866.694.2777

Membership 

Membership Eligibility

Membership in LRS is optional for General Assembly members.  All active Members of LRS prior to July 1, 2012 will remain so until they leave office.  Effective July 1, 2012, anyone who first or again becomes a member of the General Assembly and is not already an active Member of LRS may make an irrevocable election at the beginning of each term of office to become a Member of LRS within two months of taking office.  Once the election to become a Member of LRS is made, the election remains in force for all subsequent consecutive terms of office. 

If participation in LRS is not elected, the member of the General Assembly will be given an opportunity to elect to become a Member upon subsequent reelection, at the beginning of the next term of office.  However, any such later election of LRS membership will be from that date forward only; the member will not be eligible for credit for service in the General Assembly prior to their election to become a Member of LRS.  Further, if a Member of the General Assembly declines to become an active LRS Member, they will be prohibited from participation in any other public retirement or pension system while serving in the General Assembly. Therefore, participation in LRS should be carefully considered.

In 1971, LRS merged with the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS), and in 1981, LRS was reactivated as a separate plan.  When LRS became its own plan again in 1981, Members were given the opportunity to transfer their ERS Creditable Service and Contributions to LRS.  Any Member who made this election has retained all of the rights and privileges possessed under ERS and can contact ERSGA for more information regarding these rights and privileges.

Please note:  The final conviction of certain crimes can affect a person’s LRS status, as well as the claim to any benefits earned through LRS.  Please contact ERSGA directly with questions regarding the right to benefits under these circumstances.

Contributions

The retirement benefits paid through LRS are funded through Employee Contributions and Employer Contributions.  This section of the Handbook describes the contributions made on behalf of each participating Member.

Employee Contributions

Contributions of 8.5% of a Member’s monthly salary are deposited to their Employee Contributions account each month, of which the State “picks-up” 4.75% of the Member’s monthly salary, less $7.  The balance (3.75% plus $7 per month) is paid by you.  The State of Georgia assumed responsibility for the “pick-up” portion of each Member’s Employee Contributions effective January 12, 1981. 

For those becoming Members before July 1, 2009, the Member pays an additional 0.25% of their monthly salary toward the Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI) benefit. LRS Members joining on or after July 1, 2009 are not eligible for the GTLI benefit. 

The Employee Contributions put into Employee Contributions accounts start earning 4% interest (compounded annually) after being in the account for one year.  Earned interest is posted on June 30 of each year to Employee Contributions accounts belonging to Members who are employed at that time.  Interest is not posted to any Employee Contributions account belonging to a Member who has terminated employment.

For more information about GTLI, please see the Handbook section titled Group Term Life Insurance.

Employer Contributions

In addition to the Employee Contributions made to LRS on a Member’s behalf, the State also makes additional contributions in order to provide for the Member’s LRS benefit.  The Employer Contribution amount is an actuarially determined amount that is approved by the Board.  It is not applied to the Members’ Employee Contributions accounts, and it is not refundable to any Member.

Service

Creditable Service

Creditable Service is made up of Membership Service, refund buybacks, and military service.  Creditable Service is used to determine:

  • Whether a Member has earned a right to a retirement benefit (vesting)
  • A Member’s eligibility for certain Plan benefits
  • The amount of benefits payable upon a Member’s retirement

After January 1, 1981, Creditable Service established under LRS cannot be used for or transferred to any other public retirement or pension system in the State of Georgia.

For more information about how a Member’s rights to retirement benefits are determined, please see the Handbook section titled Benefits Eligibility.  For more information about how retirement benefits are calculated, please see the Handbook section titled Service Retirement.

Membership Service

Members earn a year of Membership Service for each year they are a contributing Member of LRS.  

Establishing Creditable Service through Refund Buyback

A Member who ceases to be a member of the General Assembly before becoming eligible for retirement can receive a refund of the Employee Contributions account.  If such a refund is received, the Member forfeits all Creditable Service for the period of employment covered by the refund.

However, if the Member returns to the General Assembly, they can re-establish Creditable Service via a buyback.  To do so, the Member must make a lump sum payment to LRS equal to the refund amount originally received, plus 4% interest (compounded annually from the refund date to the buyback date).

For more information about how to receive a refund of your Employee Contributions account, please see the Handbook section titled Refund of Contributions and Interest

Military Service

If a Member has 8 or more years of Creditable Service in LRS, served on active duty in the Unites States armed forces during a period when the draft was in effect, and was honorably discharged, the Member may receive credit for up to five years of military service.

If the period of active duty was more than one year, the Member may receive one year of military service credit for every five years of Creditable Service otherwise earned in LRS.  If a Member served in active duty for less than one year, they may receive one month of military service credit for every five months of Creditable Service otherwise earned in LRS.

In order to receive the military service credit, the Member must pay LRS the regular employee contribution of 8½% (7 ½% for service prior to July 1, 1986) of the compensation received by members of the General Assembly at the time the military service was rendered, plus 7% interest compounded annually from the time the military service was rendered until the date payment is made.

A Member may not receive credit for the period of military service under LRS if the period of military service has or may be used to determine the benefit under any other State retirement or pension program, any retirement or pension program of a political subdivision, or any federal retirement or pension program (except Social Security and those retirement programs covered under Public Law 810, 80th Congress, as amended).

In addition, the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) provides Members with certain rights regarding employment and retirement benefits, if the Member performs qualified military service.  If returning to employment after a military leave, a Member may receive Creditable Service for the period of leave if:

  • The Member applies with LRS in writing to establish the service
  • The Member pays the applicable Employee Contributions for the period of service (these Contributions must be paid within a period up to the lesser of three times the length of the military service, or five years) 

If a Member left LRS employment to perform military service before October 13, 1994, they should contact ERSGA for information about their rights to establish Creditable Service.

If a Member is called to active duty in the National Guard or Reserves, they are permitted to make Employee Contributions to LRS during their period of active duty.  If the Member wishes to take advantage of this opportunity, they must provide ERSGA with a copy of their orders to active duty as soon as possible after receiving them.

Benefits Eligibility

This section details the types of benefits LRS Members may be entitled to, and how a Member becomes eligible for these benefits.

Benefits Eligibility Overview

The retirement benefits available to a Member under LRS are based upon a benefit formula and are funded through both Employee Contributions and Employer Contributions.  Members will always have a nonforfeitable right to their Employee Contributions.  However, they must earn a right to receive other benefits.  This right is referred to as a vested right.

Once a Member has eight years of Creditable Service, they are vested in their LRS benefit. This means they are irrevocably entitled to a monthly benefit at age 65 or at retirement, if later.  If a Member leaves LRS before earning eight years of Creditable Service, they will be eligible for a refund of their Employee Contribution account.

If a Member has at least eight years of Membership Service included in their Creditable Service, they can retire at age 62 with a lifetime retirement benefit, or they can retire as early as age 60 with a reduction to their lifetime benefit.  

When a Member terminates employment, the Member may be eligible for one of the following types of benefits from the plan, depending on hire date and years of Creditable Service:

  • Normal Retirement Benefit
  • Early Retirement Benefit
  • Terminated Vested Retirement Benefit
  • Refund of Contributions and Interest
  • Disability Benefit
  • Death Benefit

Your benefit may be forfeited under two situations: conviction of a state or federal public employment related crime, or a withdrawal of your Contributions and Interest.

A Member’s effective retirement date will be the first day of the month in which the Member’s retirement application is received by ERSGA or, if later, the first of the month following the Member’s termination of employment.  A Member’s retirement application cannot be accepted by ERSGA earlier than 90 days before the Member’s effective retirement date.  It generally takes ERSGA about 30 days to process a retirement application.  

Service Retirement

There are three different types of Service Retirement under this Plan:  Normal Retirement, Early Retirement, and Terminated Vested Retirement.

Normal Retirement

A Member can begin receiving monthly Normal Retirement benefits as early as the first day of the month following the date that they attain Normal Retirement Age.  Normal Retirement Age is defined as: 

  • The attainment of age 62 and eight years of Membership Service, or
  • The attainment of age 65 and less than eight years of Membership Service, but at least eight years of Creditable Service

 In most cases, Membership Service will equal your Creditable Service.

Early Retirement

A Member can begin receiving monthly Early Retirement benefits as early as the first day of the month following the date they attain age 60, provided the Member has at least eight years of Membership Service.  The benefit payable at Early Retirement will be an amount equal to the Normal Retirement benefit earned at that time, reduced by 5% for each year the Member is commencing benefits prior to age 62.

Terminated Vested Retirement

If a Member terminates employment after reaching eight years of Membership Service, but prior to age 60, they will be eligible to start drawing a retirement benefit once reaching age 60.  The benefit payable at age 60 will be an amount equal to the Normal Retirement benefit earned at that time, reduced by 5% for each year the Member is commencing benefits prior to age 62.  The Member should contact ERSGA within 90 days prior to their 60th (or 62nd) birthday.

If you withdraw your Contributions and Interest at any time, you will automatically forfeit the monthly benefit payable at age 62 or age 65.

If a Member terminates employment with less than eight years of Membership Service but after reaching eight years of Creditable Service, and prior to age 65, they will be eligible to start drawing a retirement benefit once reaching age 65.  The benefit payable at age 65 will be an amount equal to the Normal Retirement benefit earned at that time.

Service Retirement Benefit Formulas

This section details the formula used to calculate Service Retirement benefits for Members of LRS.

Benefit Formula

Creditable Service x $36 = Maximum Plan 
Benefit

The benefit formula calculates the amount payable under the Maximum Plan Benefit form of benefit, which provides for a monthly benefit payable for the life of the Member.  Upon the Member’s death, the Member’s named beneficiary will receive any unpaid Employee Contributions plus the check for the month of the Member’s death.  No further benefits will be due after the month of the Member’s death.  Forms of payment other than the Maximum Plan Benefit may be available to you.  For more information about the forms of payment available under LRS, please see the section of this Handbook titled Distributions at Retirement.  

For a reduction in benefit, you may elect to provide survivor benefits to a beneficiary(ies) in lieu of a benefit for only your lifetime.  See the Handbook section titled Optional Forms of Benefit.

Normal Retirement Calculation Example

You choose to commence benefits at age 65 and have elected benefit payment Option 2, which provides for a monthly payment for your lifetime.  Upon your death, your beneficiary(ies) will receive a monthly benefit for their lifetime equal to 50% of the monthly benefit you were receiving.

Age at Commencement 
of Benefits
Beneficiary’s Age Years of Creditable Service
(all Membership Service)
65 60 12 
Step 1: Calculate the Normal Retirement Benefit

Creditable Service x $36.00
12 years x $36.00 = $432.00 per month (Maximum Plan Benefit)

Step 2: Calculate the Option 2 Benefit

Maximum Plan Benefit x Option 2 Factor
$432.00 x .9015* = $389.45, monthly benefit payable to you
$389.45 x 50% = $194.73, monthly benefit payable to your beneficiary(ies)

*The Option 2 factor is dependent on your age and the age of your beneficiary(ies) as of your retirement effective date. See Appendix A for a table of option factors.

Early Retirement Calculation Example

You choose to commence benefits at age 60 under the Maximum Plan Benefit.  Upon your death, no further benefits are payable.

Age at Commencement 
of Benefits
Years of Creditable Service
(all Membership Service)
60 8
Step 1: Calculate the Normal Retirement Benefit

Creditable Service x $36
8 years x $36.00 = $288.00 per month (Maximum Plan Benefit)

Step 2: Calculate the Early Retirement Benefit

Maximum Plan Benefit x Early Reduction Factor 
$288.00 x .10* = $28.80, reduction for early retirement
$288.00 – $28.80 = $259.20, monthly benefit payable to you at age 60 

*5% reduction for each year the Member is commencing benefits before age 62

Limitations on Benefits

Section 415 of the federal Internal Revenue Code limits the amount of benefits a Member can receive from LRS.  A Member will be notified if the benefit that they would otherwise be eligible to receive under LRS exceeds this limit.

Death Benefits

The benefits payable to a Member’s beneficiary(ies) upon their death are dependent upon the Member’s employment / retirement status, age, Creditable Service, and Membership Service at the time of death.

Death Before Retirement, Monthly Death Benefit

If a Member is actively contributing to LRS at the time of death, their named, living beneficiary(ies) will be eligible to receive a monthly death benefit if the Member meets one of the following qualifications:

  • Attainment of at least 15 years of Creditable Service, or
  • Attainment of at least age 60 and at least eight years of Membership Service, or
  • Attainment of at least age 65 and at least eight years of Creditable Service

The monthly death benefit is equal to the amount the Member would have received if the Member had retired under Option 1 (100% Survivor Benefit).

A non-living beneficiary, such as an estate or trust, cannot receive a lifetime monthly benefit.  If the Member meets one or more of the qualifications above, but either has not named a beneficiary(ies) or no living beneficiary(ies) have survived them, then the death benefit will be a lump sum payment of the Member’s Contributions plus Interest, payable to their estate.

Death Before Retirement, Refund of Contributions plus Interest

If a Member is actively contributing to LRS at the time of death, but does not meet the qualifications listed above for a monthly death benefit, then the Member’s death benefit will be a lump sum payment of their Contributions plus Interest, payable to the Member’s named beneficiary(ies).  If the Member has not named a beneficiary(ies) or no living beneficiary(ies) have survived them, then the lump sum will be payable to their estate.

If a Member is not actively contributing to LRS at the time of death, then the death benefit will be a lump sum payment of their Contributions plus Interest, payable to the Member’s named beneficiary(ies).  If the Member has not named a beneficiary(ies) or no living beneficiary(ies) have survived them, then the lump sum will be payable to their estate.

Death while Receiving Benefits

If a Member is receiving a monthly retirement benefit at the time of death, then the benefits payable to their beneficiary(ies), if any, will be based on the optional form of payment chosen at the time of retirement.  Please see the Handbook section titled Optional Forms of Payment for more information.

Group Term Life Insurance

Please see the Handbook section titled Group Term Life Insurance for information regarding this benefit.

Refund of Contributions and Interest

A Member may decide to take a refund of their Contributions and Interest after terminating employment. 

Refund of C&I Overview

Members of LRS are required to make Employee Contributions into the System.  Members are always 100% vested in their Employee Contributions (including “pick-up” contributions) and any applicable interest earned in their Employee Contributions account.

For more information about Employee Contributions, please see the Handbook section titled Contributions.

When terminating State employment, regardless of age or years of Creditable Service or Membership Service, a Member is immediately entitled to receive a refund of their Employee Contributions account in a lump sum payment. Taking a refund, however, has several consequences:

  • The Member waives all other rights in the LRS plan. No other benefits will be payable to the Member or to any beneficiary(ies). If the Member has eight or more years of Creditable Service and is vested in a monthly benefit, taking a refund cancels their right to receive a monthly benefit in the future.
  • The Member ends plan membership. If later rehired, they will become a Member again under the terms of the plan in effect at the rehire date.  This is true even if the Member later buys back their refunded Creditable Service.
  • If the Member has GTLI coverage, such coverage is waived when receiving a refund.

Employer Contributions (other than pick-up contributions) and contributions made for GTLI premiums are not refundable.

Please contact ERSGA for information about how to apply for a refund of the Employee Contributions account.

For more information about buying back Creditable Service after taking a refund, please see the Handbook section titled Service, subsection Refund Buyback.

Optional Forms of Payment

When retiring, a Member has several ways in which to receive benefit payments. Every payment option provides a monthly benefit for the Member’s lifetime, and other options provide a benefit to one or more beneficiaries after a Member’s death.

Optional Forms of Payment Overview

When retiring, a Member has several ways in which to receive benefit payments.  Every payment option provides a monthly benefit for the Member’s lifetime, and some options provide a benefit to one or more beneficiaries after the Member’s death.  Please see the section of this Handbook titled Designating a Beneficiary for more information regarding how to designate a beneficiary.

The Maximum Plan Benefit provides the highest monthly benefit available, because it does not provide a monthly benefit to anyone after the Member’s death.  Other benefit options pay a reduced monthly benefit to the Member, in order to provide for certain specified beneficiary payments.  Detailed descriptions of the various options are shown in the table below.

Actuarial tables are used to determine the amount of the reduction of the Member’s benefit, in the event that one of the optional benefits is chosen.  Tables used to determine the benefit payable under Options 1 and 2 are provided in Appendix A to this Handbook.  Please contact ERSGA for further information about the actuarial tables.

It is important that you think carefully about your decision before making a payment option selection.  In most cases, you cannot change your payment option after you receive your first monthly benefit payment.  Before making your decision, you should obtain an estimate calculation of the amounts payable to you under the various payment options.

Benefit Payment Options

Maximum Plan Benefit 
(Life Annuity)

Payable to the Member:  The highest monthly benefit available, payable for the Member’s lifetime.

Payable to the Beneficiary:  No monthly benefit is payable after death.  If the Member dies before receiving total payments which at least equal the annuity savings fund account balance, the Member’s beneficiary(ies) will receive the difference in a single payment.

Who May Be a Beneficiary:  An estate, a charity, a trust, or a living person(s).

Changing a Beneficiary:  This may be done at any time.

Option 1
(100% Survivor Benefit)

Payable to the Member:  A reduced monthly benefit, payable for the Member’s lifetime.

Payable to the Beneficiary:  A monthly benefit equal to 100% of the monthly benefit received during the Member’s lifetime, payable for the lifetime of the beneficiary(ies).

Who May Be a Beneficiary:  A living person(s).  If multiple beneficiaries are named, each beneficiary will receive a partial amount based on their respective ages.  NOTE:  This option may not be available with the election of a non-spouse beneficiary who is more than 10 years younger than the Member.

Changing a Beneficiary:  Generally, beneficiary(ies) may not be changed after the Member receives the first monthly benefit payment.

Option 2
(50% Survivor Benefit)

Payable to the Member:  A reduced monthly benefit, payable for the Member’s lifetime.

Payable to the Beneficiary:  A monthly benefit equal to 50% of the monthly benefit received during the Member’s lifetime, payable for the lifetime of the beneficiary(ies).

Who May Be a Beneficiary:  A living person(s).  If multiple beneficiaries are named, each beneficiary will receive a partial amount based on their respective ages.

Changing a Beneficiary:  Generally, beneficiary(ies) may not be changed after the Member receives the first monthly benefit payment.

Group Term Life Insurance

Certain LRS Members are covered under Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI).

LRS GTLI Overview

For Members who first joined the General Assembly before July 1, 2009, participation in Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI) is mandatory and a condition of employment. Members who joined the General Assembly on or after July 1, 2009 do not have GTLI coverage. GTLI provides a lump sum death benefit in the event of the Member’s death while active or as a retiree.

While a Member is actively contributing to LRS, premiums equal to ¼% of monthly salary are deducted from Member pay.  Premiums for GTLI are not refundable at any time.

The base GTLI benefit is 18 times monthly salary.  However, as the Member gets older, this base benefit is reduced.  At age 60, the Member’s monthly salary used to determine their GTLI benefit is frozen and coverage begins reducing by ½% per month until reaching age 65.

When the Member retires, GTLI coverage continues; however, the Member will pay no premiums, and the amount of coverage regardless of age is reduced to 70% of the benefit payable at the date of retirement or age 60, whichever was earlier.

If a Member has earned service prior to April 1, 1964, special rules apply to the calculation of this benefit. Please contact ERSGA if in this category. 

If you retired before 7/1/1998, please contact ERSGA to determine how your benefit may have been calculated, as rules have changed over time.

GTLI after Termination

If terminating employment with at least 18 years of Creditable Service, GTLI coverage is automatically retained.  Premiums in the amount of 1% of the final monthly salary accumulate each month and are due at retirement, refund of Employee Contributions account, or death. This coverage can be discontinued only by a written request to ERSGA, and premiums will continue to accrue until this request is received by our office.

GTLI coverage is revoked when a Member takes a refund of their LRS Employee Contributions account.

Benefit Payment Details

Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustments

Each year, the Board of Trustees may consider the grant of a Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustment for retirees.  The decision will be based on the long term financial soundness of the pension system.  Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustments are not guaranteed and financial decisions should not be based on the possibility of a Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustment until a Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustment has been announced.

Employees who first or again become members of LRS on or after July 1, 2009 are not entitled to any Post-Retirement Benefit Adjustment after retirement.

Protection of Benefits

Benefits from LRS are not subject to levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, or any other process or claim, except with regard to an IRS levy, court-ordered child support, or court-ordered sanctions due to conviction of certain criminal acts.  Benefits are not assignable even with a Domestic Relations Order (DRO).

Correcting a Benefit Error

The Board of Trustees of LRS is in charge of all records of the retirement system.  If a Member receives more or less than the benefit to which they are entitled due to an error, the error will be corrected upon discovery and the Member’s benefit will be adjusted accordingly.  With errors, there is a potential for underpayments or overpayments.  Underpayments will be made as soon as possible.  For any overpayments, repayment is required and repayment options will be discussed with the Member.

Deductions

A Member’s LRS retirement benefit is generally not assignable.  This means that only limited deductions may be made from the Member’s retirement check, such as:

  • Federal income tax 
  • Georgia state income tax 
  • Health insurance premiums 
  • Dental insurance premiums 
  • GTLI premiums (if applicable) 
  • Some Credit Unions

Taxes

Employee Contributions made by a Member are contributed to LRS on an after-tax basis, and the portion of the retirement benefits which are attributable to these Employee Contributions is determined on a pro-rated basis using the tables found in the Internal Revenue Code to provide a partial tax exemption each calendar year.

However, Employee Contributions only provide a small portion of each monthly payment.  The majority of the monthly payment is taxable to the retiree and/or beneficiary(ies).  When the Employee Contributions are exhausted, the total benefit check is taxable.  Each year a 1099-R is issued to every retiree and beneficiary receiving benefits to identify taxable retirement benefits when filing for income taxes.

Withholding forms (W-4P for federal and G-4P for Georgia state taxes) are included in the retirement packet.  Retirees can change their tax withholding and direct deposit elections at any time by accessing your account or by contacting ERSGA.

Returning to State Employment

Re-employment after Commencement of Retirement Benefits

If a Member returns to the General Assembly after retirement and after reaching Normal Retirement Age, the Member will have to choose whether:

  • To continue to receive a monthly retirement benefit, and not accrue any additional benefits under LRS, or
  • To suspend monthly retirement benefits and re-establish active LRS membership

Election to re-establish LRS active membership must be made in writing to the Board within 30 days of the date the Member returns to the General Assembly.  When resuming retirement, the additional Creditable Service earned during the period of rehire will be added to the service earned at the time of original retirement.

If a Member returns to the General Assembly after retirement but before reaching Normal Retirement Age, benefits will be suspended and the Member will re-establish active LRS membership.  When resuming retirement, the additional Creditable Service earned during the period of rehire will be added to the service earned at the time of original retirement.

If a Member returns to service with the State of Georgia in any capacity other than as a member of the General Assembly or as a General Assembly staff member, their LRS benefit will be suspended if the Member works more than 1,040 hours during any calendar year.

Re-employment before Receiving a Refund of your Employee Contributions Account

If a Member leaves the General Assembly and leaves their Employee Contributions account with LRS, the Member has the opportunity to retain their membership rights under LRS in the event that they decide to return to active employment in the General Assembly.

Any previously earned Creditable Service will be added to any Creditable Service earned upon re-employment.

Re-employment after Receiving a Refund of the Employee Contributions Account

When a Member receives a refund of their Employee Contributions account, the Member forfeits any Creditable Service attributable to that same period of employment.

When returning to the General Assembly, the Member receives a new LRS membership date that disregards any prior membership under LRS.  The Member’s benefits will be based on the plan rules in place for new hires at the time of re-employment.

A Member may re-establish the Creditable Service forfeited when they received a refund, after returning to the General Assembly.  To re-establish Creditable Service, the Member must make a lump sum payment to LRS in an amount equal to the refund originally received, plus 4% interest compounded annually from the date of the refund.

Even if a Member establishes forfeited Creditable Service by paying back the refund of their Employee Contributions account, the Member’s membership date will not be adjusted back to their original membership date, and the Member’s benefits will be based on the plan rules in place for new hires at the time of  re-employment.

Designating a Beneficiary

Actively Employed

All active LRS Members are strongly encouraged to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive the LRS benefit which may be payable at the Member’s death.  If covered under the Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI) benefit, the Member should also designate a beneficiary(ies) to receive that benefit.

Failure to designate a beneficiary(ies) will result in any applicable death benefits for an active Member being paid to the Member’s estate.  In certain circumstances, the death benefit payable to a living person is larger than the death benefit which may be paid to an estate.  Please see the Handbook section titled Death Benefits for more information.

A Member will be asked to designate a primary beneficiary and a secondary beneficiary(ies) for both the retirement plan and the GTLI benefit (if applicable). The Member may designate one or more primary and one or more secondary beneficiary(ies) for each benefit.  If the Member wants their Estate to be their primary beneficiary, they do not need a secondary beneficiary.

A primary and a secondary beneficiary do not share benefits.  A secondary beneficiary(ies) will only receive a benefit if there is no surviving primary beneficiary(ies) at the time the death benefit is to be paid, or if the primary beneficiary(ies) does not survive the Member by at least 32 days.

Retirement plan and GTLI (if applicable) beneficiary(ies) may be designated online by logging in to the Member’s account, or by contacting ERSGA directly.  The same beneficiary(ies) do not have to be designated for all benefit plans.

All beneficiary designations must be received in the ERSGA office prior to the death of the Member in order to be effective.

At Retirement

At retirement, a Member will be asked to choose the form of the benefit they wish to receive and designate the applicable beneficiary(ies).  Please see the Handbook section titled Optional Forms of Payment for more information.

Appendix A – Optional Form Factors

This section contains sample factors for the Optional Forms of Payment.

Appendix A – Overview

The percentages in the following tables show the proportion of the Maximum Plan Benefit payable to you when choosing a survivor benefit.  To calculate Options 1 and 2, find the percentage relating to your age and your beneficiary’s age as of your retirement date and multiply the Maximum Plan Benefit amount by that factor.  For multiple beneficiaries or Member/beneficiary ages not listed in the table, please contact ERSGA.

You can also generate an Estimate of your Retirement Benefit, including optional forms of payment, by accessing your account using the Log In button at the top of any page.

Because of certain limitations under the federal Internal Revenue Code, you might not be eligible to elect the 100% Survivor Benefit under Option 1 if you elect a non-spouse beneficiary who is more than 10 years younger than you.  If this is applicable, you can still choose the 50% Survivor Benefit under Option 2 with your chosen beneficiary.

Appendix A – Option 1:  100% Survivor Benefit

The following table shows the percentage of the monthly Maximum Plan Benefit as a result of receiving a monthly benefit in the form of Option 1, effective July 1, 2019.

Option 1 Factors
Beneficiary Age Retiring Member’s Age
  60 61 62 63 64 65
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
85.64%
86.11%
86.60%
87.10%
87.60%
88.10%
88.61%
89.12%
89.63%
90.14%
90.65%
91.14%
91.64%
92.12%
92.60%
93.06%
84.47%
84.96%
85.47%
85.99%
86.51%
87.05%
87.58%
88.12%
88.66%
89.20%
89.74%
90.28%
90.81%
91.33%
91.84%
92.34%
83.23%
83.74%
84.27%
84.81%
85.36%
85.92%
86.48%
87.05%
87.62%
88.20%
88.77%
89.34%
89.91%
90.47%
91.02%
91.56%
81.92%
82.45%
83.00%
83.56%
84.13%
84.71%
85.30%
85.90%
86.51%
87.11%
87.72%
88.32%
88.93%
89.53%
90.12%
90.71%
80.55%
81.09%
81.65%
82.23%
82.82%
83.43%
84.05%
84.67%
85.30%
85.94%
86.58%
87.23%
87.87%
88.51%
89.15%
89.77%
79.10%
79.65%
80.23%
80.83%
81.44%
82.07%
82.71%
83.36%
84.02%
84.69%
85.37%
86.05%
86.73%
87.41%
88.09%
88.76%

Appendix A – Option 2:  50% Survivor Benefit

The following table shows the percentage of the monthly Maximum Plan Benefit as a result of receiving a monthly benefit in the form of Option 2, effective July 1, 2019.

Option 2 Factors
Beneficiary Age Retiring Member’s Age
  60 61 62 63 64 65
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
92.26%
92.54%
92.82%
93.10%
93.39%
93.68%
93.96%
94.25%
94.53%
94.82%
95.09%
95.37%
95.64%
95.90%
96.16%
96.41%
91.58%
91.87%
92.17%
92.47%
92.77%
93.07%
93.38%
93.69%
93.99%
94.29%
94.59%
94.89%
95.18%
95.47%
95.75%
96.02%
90.85%
91.15%
91.46%
91.78%
92.10%
92.43%
92.75%
93.08%
93.40%
93.73%
94.05%
94.37%
94.69%
95.00%
95.30%
95.60%
90.06%
90.38%
90.71%
91.04%
91.38%
91.72%
92.07%
92.42%
92.76%
93.11%
93.46%
93.80%
94.14%
94.48%
94.81%
95.13%
89.22%
89.56%
89.90%
90.25%
90.60%
90.97%
91.33%
91.70%
92.07%
92.44%
92.81%
93.18%
93.54%
93.91%
94.26%
94.61%
88.33%
88.67%
89.03%
89.40%
89.77%
90.15%
90.54%
90.92%
91.32%
91.71%
92.11%
92.50%
92.89%
93.28%
93.67%
94.04%