Analysis

Synopsis:

 House Bill 277 (HB 277) provides additional options to change the survivor beneficiary for retired members of public employment who have designated a spouse as a survivor beneficiary. 

Analysis:

 House Bill 277 (HB 277) amends Section 10-11-116 NMSA 1978 by adding options to change a survivor beneficiary of a retired public employee who is being paid a pension with the retiree’s spouse as the designated survivor. That retired public employee, referred to as a “member” of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), may designate another individual as the survivor beneficiary.  However, the Member cannot have an option to change from the current form of payment, the amount of the pension must be recalculated and have the same actuarial present value computed on the date of the designation, as the amount of pension under the form of payment, and the member’s spouse must consent in writing to relinquish being the beneficiary.  The Member must also pay $100 to the PERA Board for the cost of determining the new pension amount.  The Member can only do this once and the change is irrevocable

A Member, upon becoming divorced from the named spouse, may designate another individual as the survivor beneficiary.  However, the Member cannot have an option to change from the current form of payment, the amount of the pension must be recalculated and have the same actuarial present value computed on the date of the designation, as the amount of pension under the form of payment, and the designation and the amount of the pension is subject to a court order.  The Member must also pay $100 to the PERA Board for the cost of determining the new pension amount.  The Member can only do this once and the change is irrevocable. 

HB 277 also makes stylistic changes to the statute, by replacing references to “pension beneficiary” with just “beneficiary.”  

HB 277 is effective July 1, 2021.   

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