Edit by LM - 03/23/22Not Apprvd
Judicial Retirement System
Read about the Judicial Retirement System (JRS) for judges, justices and the Administrator of the court.
The Judicial Retirement System (JRS) was established in 1963 as a retirement system for judges, justices and the Administrator of the Court System. The Division of Retirement and Benefits began administering the JRS in 1980. Before that date, it was administered by the Alaska Court System.
When you become employed as an Alaska State judge, justice or Administrative Director of the Alaska Court System you are automatically entered into the JRS. The contribution amount is 7% percent of your salary if you were first hired as a justice or judge after July 1, 1978.
You will be vested when you have at least five paid-up years of creditable JRS service. It takes at least ten years of service credit for an Administrative Director of the Alaska Court System to become vested in the JRS.
JRS members working full-time earn service credit on a day-for-day basis. To receive credit for a weekend or holiday you must be in pay status the day before and the day after the weekend or holiday. Pro-tempore JRS members earn service based on the number of hours worked with 1950 hours equaling a year of service. Members can accrue service under AS22.15.170(b) as an acting District Court judge. Part-time pro-tempore members cannot earn more than what the full-time service would be for any given period. The pension benefit calculation is dependent upon the number of years of service you have as well as the monthly salary for the judicial office you retired from. Since the number of years of service is a fundamental part of the retirement calculation, the more years of service you have, the higher your pension benefit will be, up to a maximum of 15 years. Once you have reached 15 years of service, additional service time will not increase your retirement benefits.
The JRS benefit formula is 5% per year of service to a maximum of 75% of the monthly salary authorized for the judicial office you held at the time of retirement. This salary cannot include salary in excess of the limitations set out in 26 U.S.C. 401(a)(17) (Internal Revenue Code).
A judge or justice who has 15 years of service and receives $13,000 per month would have their base pension benefit calculated as follows: (5% x $13,000) x 15 years equals $9,750 per month.
This base pension would then be adjusted for early retirement, depending upon the member’s elections.
Geographic differential pay, or any other pay increments over the base pay for the judicial office you retire from, are not included in compensation for benefit calculation purposes.
JRS retirement benefit payments are recalculated when the salary for the office held by the member at the time of retirement changes. The maximum JRS benefit payable to a member is 75% of the authorized salary.
Full unreduced benefits are payable at age 60; however, actuarially reduced early benefits are payable upon attaining age 55 or at any age if you have accrued at least 20 years of credited service. The reduction is based on an early factor considering the number of years and months prior to age 60 at which you commence the benefit. If you are contemplating early or normal retirement, contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits to request your JRS benefit projection.
Health benefits available from the Alaska Retiree Health Plan include Medical, Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA), and Long-Term Care (LTC). Premiums for medical benefits are paid for by the JRS. Medical benefits are provided at no cost to JRS members, their spouses, and dependents while monthly retirement, disability, and survivor benefits are being paid. No additional premium payment is required for medical insurance under the Retiree Health Plan. However, all JRS members must pay a premium for DVA and/or LTC if elected. Premium payments will be deducted from your retirement benefit each month.
The AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan is a grandfathered plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Not all provisions of the ACA will apply. JRS members have family coverage at retirement which includes the member, spouse, or dependent children.
Disability—Voluntary Retirement for Incapacity
If you have accrued at least 5 years of credited service and become incapacitated while in covered employment, a benefit is payable based on your credited service and your base salary at the time of becoming incapacitated as though you were of normal retirement age.
Disability—Involuntary Retirement for Incapacity
A justice or judge must have a minimum of two years of service. A complaint must be filed with the Alaska Judicial Conduct Commission (AJCC). The AJCC would make a recommendation to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court would then issue a court order to place a justice or judge on mandatory retirement for incapacity. A benefit is payable based on your credited service and your base salary at the time of becoming incapacitated as though you were of normal retirement age.
Health benefits available from the Alaska Retiree Health Plan include Medical, Dental-Vision-Audio (DVA), and Long-Term Care (LTC). Enrollment information and available options are summarized in this section. Premiums for medical benefits are paid for by the JRS. No additional premium payment is required for medical insurance under the Retiree Health Plan. However, all JRS members must pay a premium for DVA and/or LTC if elected. Premium payments will be deducted from your retirement benefit each month.
Provided you have accrued at least 2 years of credited service and been married for at least 1 year to your spouse when you die, JRS provides an automatic survivor benefit of 50% of your accrued benefit at the time of your death (or of your actual benefit if you are already retired).
If your accrued benefit is less than 60% of an active judge’s base salary at the time of your death, then your surviving spouse’s benefit may not be less than 30% of the current base salary for your judicial office.
If there is no surviving spouse but you have dependent children, the survivor benefit then would be divided in equal shares between your dependent children for the duration of their dependency.
If there is no spouse or dependent children, your employee contribution account balance, less any benefits you have been paid, will be paid to your designated beneficiary or beneficiaries.