Laws that prevent or stop pension grab

Posted: July 25, 2011

Laws vary from state to state on which crimes deprive

public employees of their pensions. Here's the law in some

states other than Pennsylvania.


The law applies only to elected officials who have been elected or re-elected since Jan. 1, 2006. The official forfeits all rights and benefits, effective on date of final conviction for felonies involving bribes, extortion, theft, perjury or conspiracy. If felonies are committed in the course of official duties, the law provides for the return of employee contributions without interest. Forfeiture can be overruled with consent of the governing body of the public official's employer.


Members must forfeit future retirement benefits when they commit certain crimes, including felonies involving misuse of public office, any felony against a victim younger than 16 or one involving sexual battery against a victim younger than 18.


No public-pension benefits shall be paid to any person convicted of any felony relating to or arising from or in connection with his/her service. Trustees of each pension fund determine if the felony plea meets this standard.


No law allows forfeiture of a public pension.


Generally, retirement boards are required to deny or rescind pensions of any public employee convicted of a crime related to his/her official duties, though an employee may be entitled to receive accumulated retirement contributions. In some cases, such as misappropriating funds or property in the city of Boston, the employee could be subject to forfeiture of accumulated retirement contributions unless the city is reimbursed for the misappropriated money.


The rights to vested retirement benefits and all accumulated contributions may be forfeited for any public employee convicted of a felony arising from his/her official duties.

New Jersey

The board of the state or any local pension fund can order forfeiture of all or part of a pension of a public employee for misconduct occurring during his/her public service. Public officials convicted of certain crimes involving their official duties face mandatory forfeiture of a pension. Contributions are considered part of the employee's salary and not part of the pension benefit.

New York

No law allows forfeiture of a public pension.

- Michael Hinkelman and Catherine Lucey

Source: National Association of State Retirement Administrators

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