LASERS

The Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS) is a qualified defined benefit plan and retirement plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Service code. A defined benefit plan allows both you and the LSU System to make contributions to a pool of funds from which you receive a retirement income based on a benefit formula.

Effective Date of Enrollment
You are automatically enrolled into LASERS at the time of employment (unless you meet one of the optional criteria mentioned above) and will begin contributions with your first paycheck.

Contributions:
Members who joined LASERS on or before June 30, 2006, will contribute 7.5% of earned compensation (base pay) as defined by LASERS.  Members who joined LASERS on or after July 1, 2006, will contribute 8% of earned compensation (base pay) as defined by LASERS.  The employer contribution is determined each year based on an actuarial formula determined by the State.

Retirement Eligibility:
Your eligibility to retire is based on your age and years of service.  One of the requirements below must be met in order to receive a retirement benefit from LASERS:

Any member who joined LASERS on or before June 30, 2006, shall be eligible to retire if he/she has:

  • 30 years of service or more regardless of age
  • 25 years of service or more at age 55 or later
  • 10 years of service or more at age 60 or later
  • At 20 years of service you may retire at any age but your benefit will be reduced on an actuarial basis which is based on your age, length of service and number of years from your regular retirement age.

Any member who joined LASERS between July 1, 2006 and January 1, 2011, shall be eligible for retirement if he/she has:

  • 10 years of service or more at age 60 or thereafter

Any member who joined LASERS after January 1, 2011, shall be eligible for retirement if he/she has:

  • 5 years of service or more at age 60 or thereafter
  • At 20 years of service you may retire at any age but your benefit will be reduced on an actuarial basis which is based on your age, length of service and number of years from your regular retirement age.

Retirement Benefit Calculation:

Summary of Provisions for LASERS Members

The following formulas are used to determine your retirement benefit:

A member who joined LASERS on or before June 30, 2006, will have his/her retirement benefit calculated as follows:

[Years of Service] x [Formula %] x [36-month High Average Salary] = Annual Retirement Benefit

A member who joined LASERS on or after July 1, 2006, will have his/her retirement benefit calculated as follows:

[Years of Service] x [Formula %] x [60-month High Average Salary] = Annual Retirement Benefit

Sample Calculations:
25 Years of Service x 2.5% x $30,000 = $18, 750
30 Years of Service x 2.5% x $30,000 = $22,500

*Employees who became members before July 1, 1986, will be entitled to $300 per year in supplemental benefits upon retirement.

Survivor Benefits:
Survivor benefits are payable under certain conditions to your spouse, minor children and totally disabled or mentally handicapped children upon your death.  If death occurs while you are in active service, you must have:

  • Credit for at least five years of service for a benefit to be payable to your surviving minor children
  • Credit for at least 10 years of service for a benefit to be payable to your surviving spouse
  • Credit for at least 20 years of service for survivor benefits to be payable if death occurs after you have terminated employment.

If survivor benefits are not payable, your survivors, your beneficiary, or your estate will receive an amount equal to your total employee contributions.

If a rank and file member is hired after January 1, 2011, there are significant changes in the survivor benefits:
Survivor Benefits of Rank & File Members with Surviving Spouse with Child/Children:

Eligibility

  • Member must have been an active member with at least five years of service, at least two of which were immediately prior to death, or 20 or more years of service regardless of whether the member was active at the time of death.

Benefit:

  • Benefit is equal to the greater of 50% of the benefit the member would have been entitled to if he retired on the date of death regardless of years of service or $600.
  • Benefit ceases upon remarriage. Benefits resume upon death of or divorce from new spouse.
  • Benefits shall not cease upon remarriage if the member was eligible for retirement on the date of death.
  • When all children cease to be eligible for a survivor benefit, the surviving spouse’s eligibility and benefit amount are determined based on the provisions for a surviving spouse without a child.

Survivor Benefits for Rank and File Members with Surviving Child/Children (No Spouse)

Eligibility:

  • The member must have had at least five years of service.
  • There is no requirement that the member be an active member or that the member have two years of service immediately prior to death.

Benefit:

    • The amount of the benefit is equal to 50% of the benefit for a surviving spouse with child/children (even if there is no surviving spouse eligible for a benefit) for each child up to a maximum of two children.
    • This amount shall be divided equally among all eligible children.
    • The benefits for a child cease when the child no longer meets the definition of a minor child.
    • No surviving child may receive more than one survivor’s benefit. If two benefits are applicable, only the larger benefit shall apply.
    • Survivor benefits are payable to surviving child/children even if the member has retired.
    • Survivor benefits would be in addition to any optional retirement benefit payable to the named beneficiary.
    • The benefits for child/children shall be paid to the person with custody of the child/children or to a trust for the benefit of the child/children.

Additional rule regarding the amount of benefits payable to the surviving spouse and child/children:

    • If benefits are payable to a surviving spouse and a child or children, then the total amount paid shall not be less than the Option 2A equivalent which would be paid to the spouse.
    •  This rule shall apply for as long as the spouse and child/children are eligible for survivor benefits.

Survivor Benefits for Rank and File Members with Surviving Spouse (No Children)

Eligibility:

    • The surviving spouse must have been married to the member for at least one year prior to death, and the member must have been an active member with at least 10 years of service, at least two of which were immediately prior to death, or 20 years of service regardless of whether the member was active at the time of death.

Benefit:

    • Benefit is equal the greater of the Option 2A equivalent of the benefit based upon years of service using the applicable accrual rate or $600.
    • Benefit ceases upon remarriage. Benefits resume upon death of or divorce from new spouse.
    • Benefits shall not cease upon remarriage if the member was eligible for retirement on the date of death.

Example of Surviving Spouse with 3 children:
Member benefit = $2,000

Spouse benefit (50% of member) = $1,000
Child benefit (50% of Spouse) for each child (maximum of 2) = $1,000 ($500 x 2)

The total benefit amount available for the children is $1,000 because there are two or more children. (The benefit would have been $500 if there was just one eligible child).

    • The $1,000 benefit will be split equally among all eligible children. The three children in this example will split the $1,000 benefit three ways ($333.33 each).

When one child is no longer eligible, the benefit will still be $1,000 ($500 x 2 children) split equally between the two ($500 each).

    • When the next child becomes ineligible, the benefit will be $500 for the remaining child.

Termination of Employment before Retirement:
If you leave state service before you are eligible to retire, you may qualify for a monthly benefit upon reaching minimum retirement age.  The following criteria would allow you to qualify in this manner:

  • Must have obtained credit for the minimum number of years of service needed to retire (vested), and
  • Not reached the required age, and
  • Left your contributions on deposit with LASERS
  • You must provide written application for retirement to LASERS 30 days prior to reaching the required retirement age.

In lieu of leaving your contributions on deposit, you may apply for a refund.  See your Benefits Representative for more information.
For more information please visit www.lasersonline.org/site.php.