Forms & Publications


Term Definition
Date of Membership The membership date for new members is generally the first day of the first pay period following the employee's hire date.
Death benefit Amount paid or payable to the beneficiary of a pension plan or insurance policy, on the death of the employee or insured person.
Death Benefit- Basic The basic death benefit is a lump-sum payment that is made to a survivor, named beneficiary, estate, or trust in the event of an active member death.
Death Benefit- Lump Sum A lump-sum death benefit is a single payment benefit payable upon the death of an eligible member.   If the deceased was an active member, the recipient receives the basic death benefit. If the deceased was a retired member, the recipient's lump-sum benefit depends on the type of retirement option selected by the member.
Deferred Compensation Arrangements by which compensation to employees for past or current service is postponed until some future date. Pension and profit sharing plans are tax-favored deferred compensation plans.
Deferred Member A deferred member is a contributory member who is vested (with 5 or more years of sponsor or reciprocal retirement service credit) and who leaves his contributions on deposit with the retirement plan after either: Terminating employment with the sponsor or transferring to a nonqualifying position and filing a written election with the Board of Retirement within 60 days from date of transfer   A deferred member is eligible to receive a retirement benefit when s/he meets the minimum age and service requirements.
Deferred Reciprocal Member A deferred reciprocal member is a contributory member who elected to defer his retirement and entered employment covered by a reciprocal retirement system within 6 months of termination from County or outside district service — regardless of the length of service prior to termination. This election is called a reciprocal deferral.
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA) One part of this act was the Tax Reform Act of 1984. DEFRA had a major impact on employee benefits in the following areas: - 501 (c)(9) trusts and experience- rated plans - prohibits tax deductions for contributions to trusts or premiums paid to experience-rated plans if reserves for benefits exceed certain limits. - Health care for dependents - requires companies to give employee spouses who are senior citizens the opportunity to enroll in corporate insurance programs.
Defined Benefit Limit The maximum annual benefit allowed by the Internal Revenue Code that a participant may receive from a qualified retirement plan.
Defined Benefit Plan A defined benefit plan is designed to provide eligible participants with a specified benefit at retirement based upon a special formula. General and Safety member plans are designed to pay each member a lifetime benefit based upon a formula which includes the following three factors: • Member's age at retirement • Member's length of credited service • Member's final compensation
Defined Benefit Retirement Plan (DBP) Both ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code define a defined benefit plan as any plan that is not an individual account plan. Under a defined benefit plan, there is a definite formula by which the employee’s benefits will be measured. This formula may provide that benefits be a particular percentage of the employee’s average compensation over his or her entire service or over a particular number of years; it may provide for a flat monthly payment; or it may provide a definite amount for each year of service, expressed either as a percentage of his or her compensation for each year of service or as a flat dollar amount for each year of service. In plans of this type, the employer’s contributions are determined actuarially. No individual accounts are maintained as is done in the defined contribution plans. (Defined benefit plans are subject to regulation by the PBGC and are “pension plans” under the Internal Revenue Code. That is, they are designed primarily for retirement.)
Defined Contribution Plan A defined contribution plan is a retirement plan that provides an individual account for each participant and benefits that are based solely on (1) the amount contributed to the participant's account, plus (2) any income, expenses, gains/losses, and forfeitures that may be allocated to the participant's account.  
Definitely Determinable Benefit A mandatory requirement for a service benefit pension plan. For variations, see also money purchase plan; target benefit plan. - Flexible benefit plans and flexible spending accounts - excludes most taxable benefits from being offered.
Department of Labor Under Title 111 of ERISA, the Department of Labor has primary jurisdiction over reporting, disclosure and fiduciary matters and can, in certain circumstances, enforce employee benefit rights and reporting and disclosure through civil or criminal actions.
Department of Treasury Under Title 111 of ERISA, the Department of the Treasury has primary jurisdiction over participation, vesting and funding issues and enforces compliance through tax disqualification and imposition of excise taxes.
Dependent With health care benefits, a dependent is a (retired) member's spouse or unmarried child until age 19 (or until age 23 if enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school or university and fully reliant on the the member for financial support).
Direct Deposit Direct deposit creates a process to allow members to have their monthly retirement allowances deposited directly into their checking or savings accounts at participating financial institutions.
Disability Benefit Periodic payments, usually monthly, payable to participants under some retirement plans if such participants are eligible for the benefits and become totally and permanently disabled prior to the normal retirement date.
Disability Retirement A disability retirement may be granted by the Board of Retirement when a member is permanently disabled (either mentally or physically).
Disability Retirement Allowance A disability retirement allowance is the monthly retirement benefit received by a contributory plan member who has been granted a service-connected or nonservice-connected disability retirement.   The member may receive a disability retirement allowance for life — unless the Board of Retirement terminates the allowance because the member is found to be no longer permanently disabled.
Discrimination (1) Under the terms of Title VI1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, discrimination occurs in compensation when any compensation decision is made on the basis of a person’s age (over 40), race, color, national origin, religion or gender, in a way that cannot be justified on the basis of job-relatedness and business necessity.
(2) Under Section 89 of the Internal Revenue Code, benefit plans may be considered discriminatory if appropriate numbers of non-highly compensated employees (a) are not eligible to participate in the plan, and (b) do not participate in the plan. The intent of Section 89 is to avoid giving tax- favored status to benefit plans that benefit only the highly paid employees in an organization. It is permissible to discriminate by group definition, such as salaried only, union employees only, or hourly workers only.
Disqualified Employee Also known as an interested party when determining prohibited transactions as defined in ERISA. See party in interest.
Dollar Limit One of two formulae in the defined benefit limit. The dollar limit was $90,000 for normal Social Security Retirement Age (then age 65) in 1986. The dollar limit is actuarially adjusted above and below the SSRA and is indexed to the U.S. CPI each year.
Domestic Relations Order (DRO) See qualified domestic relations order
Double Pro Rata Rule An ERISA rule which prohibits a plan benefit based on partial credit for service and partial credit for salary.
Dual Status Dual status is given to a member who has been both a general member and a safety member and, therefore, has service credit in both a general and a safety plan. This occurs when a member changes job classifications and becomes eligible for the other type of membership — or when a safety member transfers to a nonqualifying position that allows him to retain membership only as a general member. Persons with dual membership status qualify at retirement to receive a combined retirement allowance based on the service credit earned during each type of membership.
Durable Power of Attorney A durable power of attorney is a document, executed by a member, which empowers another person or entity to act in his behalf. A member may provide the retirement system with a Durable Power of Attorney form to designate another person to act on his behalf regarding retirement-related decisions only, in the event he becomes incapacitated. The member has the right to revoke or terminate this durable power of attorney at any time, as long as he is competent.