Bill closes benefits gap

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RICHMOND Members of the Virginia Law Officers Retirement System may experience a gap between the time they stop receiving their retirement allowance and start receiving Social Security payments.

House Bill 1219, proposed by Delegate Danny C. Bowling, D-Oakwood, will be addressed in the 2008 session of the General Assembly. The bill would provide a supplemental allowance to retired law-enforcement members until they reach Social Security retirement age.  Under current VaLORS policy, retirees are paid an allowance until age 65.

“The way the legislation is written, they receive their benefits .– for example health care — from the time they retire until age of 65 by that particular law,” Bowling said.

The 1983 Social Security Amendments included a provision to raise the retirement age. Under these amendments, the age of retirement gradually increases for anyone born during or after 1938.; and the age raises to age 67 for people born after 1959.

“My bill extends that (retirement allowances) until the time of social security. So it continues their health care through that gap. That was already addressed for state police, so this addresses it for anybody thats under VaLORS,” Bowling said.

Bowlings proposed legislation, is similar to Senate Bill 1156 proposed by Sen. Frederick M. Quayle, R-Suffolk, during the 2007 General Assembly session. The bill was referred to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to be included in its 2008 study of compensation for employees of the commonwealth.

In 2007, Quayles bill was put to a voice vote by the House Appropriations committee, but did not survive to see a formal vote on the floor.

VaLORS members are eligible for full retirement benefits at age 60 with a minimum of five years of service; or at age 50 with at least 25 years of service.

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