Report Title:

ERS Death Benefits; Surviving Children

Description:

Allows surviving dependent children to receive ERS death benefits after age 18 while a full-time student or until reaching age 25, whichever occurs first, if there is no surviving spouse of employee who qualified for but had not yet retired. (HB986 HD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

986

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO DEATH BENEFITS OF SURVIVING CHILDREN OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. Section 88-84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) If the member's designation of beneficiary is void as specified in section 88-93, or if the member did not designate a beneficiary, there shall be payable:

(1) To the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, a benefit as specified under subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3);

(2) To the deceased member's dependent child[,] or children [under age eighteen], if there is no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, an equally divided benefit as specified under subsection (a)(1)[; or]; provided that the benefit may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four;

(3) To the deceased member's estate, if there is no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary or dependent child or children, a benefit as specified under subsection (a)(1)."

SECTION 2. Section 88-85, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"88-85 Accidental death benefit. (a) Upon the receipt of proper proofs of a member's death by the board of trustees, there shall be paid to the member's designated beneficiary or to the member's estate the amount of the member's accumulated contributions and if, upon the receipt of evidence or proofs that the death was the natural and proximate result of an accident occurring at some definite time and place while the member was in the actual performance of duty, or that the death was due to the result of some occupational hazard, the board shall decide that the death was the result of an accident in the performance of duty and not caused by wilful negligence on the part of the member, there shall be paid in lieu of the ordinary death benefits provided by the contributions of the State or county, effective on the first day of a month following the member's death, except for the month of December when benefits shall be effective on the first or last day of the month, a pension of one-half of the average final compensation of the member:

(1) To the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary of the member to continue until the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary remarries, marries, or enters into a new reciprocal beneficiary relationship;

(2) If there be no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, or if the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary dies or remarries, marries, or enters into a new reciprocal beneficiary relationship before any child of the deceased member shall have attained the age of eighteen years, then to the deceased member's child or children under such age, divided in such manner as the board in its discretion shall determine, to continue as a joint and survivor pension of one-half of the deceased member's final compensation until every child dies, or attains such age; provided that the survivor pension may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four;

(3) If there is no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary or child under the age of eighteen years surviving the deceased member, then to the deceased member's dependent father or dependent mother, as the deceased member shall have nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board, or if there is no such nomination, then to the deceased member's dependent father or to the deceased member's dependent mother as the board, in its discretion, shall direct to continue for life.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any condition of impairment of health caused by any disease of the heart, lungs, or respiratory system, resulting in death to a firefighter, police officer, or sewer worker, shall be presumed to have been suffered in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place through no wilful negligence on the firefighter's, police officer's, or sewer worker's part, and as a result of the inherent occupational hazard of exposure to and inhalation of smoke, toxic gases, chemical fumes, and other toxic vapors, unless the contrary be shown by competent evidence; provided that such firefighter, police officer, or sewer worker shall have passed a physical examination on entry into such service or subsequent to such entry, which examination failed to reveal any evidence of such condition."

SECTION 3. Section 88-163, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) Upon the death of any member of the police force, fire department, or band, as a result of any injury received or disease contracted while in the performance of [his] the member's duty, or when entitled to a pension under this part or who has been pensioned under this part, there shall be paid, for funeral expenses, a sum not to exceed $100. Should the deceased member leave a [dependent widow] surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary and a child or children under the age of eighteen years, then there shall be paid out of the system $50 per month to the [widow] surviving spouse until [her] the surviving spouse's death or remarriage or to the reciprocal beneficiary until death, marriage, or entry into a new reciprocal beneficiary relationship and $7.50 per month to the [widow] surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary for each child so long as the child shall reside with the [widow] surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary or is supported by the [widow] surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary. Upon the death of [such widow] the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, or in the event the deceased member leaves no [widow] surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary but a child or children under the age of eighteen years, then there shall be paid out of the system $50 per month to the child or children of the deceased member under the age of eighteen years, with each child, if there [be] is more than one, receiving an equal share of the $50 per month payment plus $7.50 per month. All payments to a child of a deceased member provided for herein shall cease when [he or she] the child arrives at the age of eighteen years[.]; provided that the benefit may continue:

(1) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(2) If the child is over the age of eighteen, but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four."

SECTION 4. Section 88-286, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"88-286 Death benefit. (a) The surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary and dependent child or children of a member at the time of the member's death shall be eligible for a death benefit if the member suffers either: [an]

(1) An ordinary death while in service or on authorized leave without pay after accumulating ten years of credited service; or [an]

(2) An accidental death.

(b) In the case of ordinary death, the death benefit shall be as follows:

(1) For the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, an allowance equal to one-half of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age, payable until remarriage, marriage, or entry into a new reciprocal beneficiary relationship, as if the member had retired on the first day of a month following the member's death, except for the month of December when retirement on the first or last day of the month shall be allowed; and for each dependent child an allowance equal to ten per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age, payable until the dependent child attains age eighteen; provided that the [:]benefit may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen, but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; and

(C) The aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed twenty per cent of the member's accrued retirement allowance unreduced for age; or

(2) For the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, if the member was eligible for retirement at the time of death in service, and death occurred after June 30, 1990, an allowance that would have been payable as if the member had retired on the first day of a month following the member's death, except for the month of December when retirement on the first or last day of the month shall be allowed, and had elected to receive a retirement allowance under option B of section 88-283; and

(3) If there is no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, each dependent child shall receive an allowance equal to twenty per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age, payable on the first day of a month following the member's death, except for the month of December when retirement on the first or last day of the month shall be allowed, until the dependent child attains age eighteen; provided that the benefit may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen, but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; and

(C) The aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed forty per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age.

For the purpose of determining eligibility for the ordinary death benefit, a year round school employee shall be considered in service during the July and August preceding a transfer to a traditional school schedule if the employee was in service for the entire prior school year and has a contract for the upcoming traditional school year.

(c) In the case of accidental death, the death benefit shall be effective on the first day of a month following the member's death, except for the month of December when retirement on the first or last day of the month shall be allowed, as follows:

(1) For the surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, an allowance equal to thirty per cent of the member's average final compensation, payable until remarriage, marriage, or upon entry into a new reciprocal beneficiary relationship;

(2) If there is a surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, each dependent child under eighteen shall receive an allowance equal to the greater of:

(A) Ten per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age; provided that the aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed twenty per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age; or

(B) Three per cent of the member's average final compensation; provided that the aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed six per cent of the member's average final compensation.

The death benefit under this paragraph shall be payable to each dependent child until the dependent child attains age eighteen; provided that the allowance may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, but younger than twenty-four, and until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen, but is younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; and

(3) If there is no surviving spouse or reciprocal beneficiary, each dependent child under age eighteen shall receive an allowance equal to the greater of:

(A) Twenty per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age; provided that the aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed forty per cent of the member's accrued maximum retirement allowance unreduced for age; or

(B) Six per cent of the member's average final compensation; provided that the aggregate death benefits for all the dependent children shall not exceed twelve per cent of the member's average final compensation.

The death benefit under this paragraph shall be payable to each dependent child until the dependent child attains age eighteen[.]; provided that the allowance may continue:

(A) If the child is under the age of eighteen and continues to be a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four; or

(B) If the child is over the age of eighteen but younger than twenty-four, and is or becomes a full-time student, until the child reaches the age of twenty-four."

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.