The Department of State Treasurer, which administers the pension benefits for the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS), is committed to keeping you informed about the benefits available to you as a member and a law enforcement officer (LEO).
The information on this page outlines the benefits available to you as a System LEO.
Because of changes in the statutes that govern the Retirement Systems, we are currently revising the information below. If you are a parole or probation officer, please check with your employer for any questions about your retirement benefits as a LEO.
Penalty Tax Exemption for Public Safety Employees
The 10% 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 attains the age of 50.
Becoming a LEO Member under TSERS
You become a LEO member under TSERS on the date of your hire if you:
- are a permanent, full-time, paid employee of the state (or any of its agencies, departments, bureaus, or educational institutions); and
- you are actively serving in a position with assigned primary duties and responsibilities for the prevention and detection of crime or the general enforcement of the criminal laws of the state or serving civil processes; and
- you possess the power of arrest by virtue of an oath administered under the authority of the state.
As a law enforcement officer, when you become a member of the Retirement System, you are automatically a member of the NC 401(k) Plan.
Probation and Parole Officers
As of July 1, 2017, probation and parole officers will earn service credit as a law enforcement officer (LEO). A current probation/parole officer with no prior service as a LEO must work at least five years (vesting) from this date to be eligible for an unreduced retirement as a LEO at age 55. Prior service as a non-LEO (including service as a probation or parole officer prior to July 1, 2017) will not count toward the five-year vesting as a LEO.
|How to Qualify for Benefits|
You become vested in the Retirement System once you have completed a minimum of 5 years of creditable service as an officer.
This means that you are eligible to apply for lifetime monthly retirement benefits upon reaching the age requirement based on the formula shown below, provided you do not withdraw your contributions. You may also be eligible for retiree health coverage.
|Service and Early Retirement|
Service Retirement (Unreduced Benefits)
You may retire with an unreduced service retirement benefit after you:
- reach age 55 and complete 5 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.
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.
Special Separation Allowance
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 5 years of credit as a law enforcement officer), you may be eligible for 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.
Supplemental Retirement Income Plan
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 5 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.
Links to Additional Law Enforcement Officer Benefits and Application Process: