The Department of State Treasurer, which administers the pension benefits for the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, 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.
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 LGERS
You are eligible to become a LEO member under LGERS if you are a permanent, full-time paid employee of an employer, who:
- possesses the power of arrest, and
- has taken the law enforcement oath administered under the authority of the state as prescribed by G. S. 11-11, and
- is certified as a law enforcement officer under the provisions of Chapter 17C of the General Statutes or certified as a deputy sheriff under the provisions of Chapter 17E of the General Statutes.
“Law enforcement officer” also means the sheriff of the county.
As a law enforcement officer, when you become a member of the Retirement System, you are automatically a member of the NC 401(k)
Please note: If you are a local law enforcement officer who works for a local government unit that does not participate in LGERS and you wish to join LGERS, then you should notify your employer.
|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 a law enforcement 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.
|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, 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 local 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 Local Governmental 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: