Pension beneficiary changes OK’d by House

State Rep. Buddy Wheatley, D-Covington.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Current Kentucky law that prohibits retired state employees from changing pension beneficiaries after they retire would see some changes of its own under a bill passed Tuesday by the state House.

House Bill 104 sponsor Rep. Buddy Wheatley, D-Covington, said his bill would allow future retirees in the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) to change their beneficiary and retirement allowance payment option after a “qualifying event.” The events would be limited to marriage, remarriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or death of their designated beneficiary, and the change would have to be made within 120 days after the event occurs.

KRS retirees “make a one-time, lifetime choice if you are a KRS member,” said Wheatley. “This bill will help equalize between KRS and TRS the ability to name new beneficiaries upon these qualifying events.”

And future retirees of the state Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS)—which already gives its members the limited ability to change beneficiaries in cases of marriage, remarriage, or death of a beneficiary—would be given the added option to change their beneficiary and payment option after the birth or adoption or a child, per the bill.

None of the changes proposed by HB 104 would increase pension benefits according to actuarial statements from the retirement systems, said Wheatley.

An amendment to the bill sponsored by House Majority Whip Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, and approved by the House would benefit current retirees affected by a qualifying event by allowing them to change their beneficiary on or before Jan. 1, 2021.

McCoy said the change allows a “one-time qualifying event” to those who need to make a change.

HB 104 passed the chamber by a vote of 88-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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