§ 143‑166.42.  Special separation allowances for local officers.

(a) On and after January 1, 1987, every sworn law enforcement officer as defined by G.S. 128‑21(11d) or G.S. 143‑166.50(a)(3) employed by a local government employer who qualifies under this section shall receive, beginning in the month in which the officer retires on a basic service retirement under the provisions of G.S. 128‑27(a), an annual separation allowance equal to eighty‑five hundredths percent (0.85%) of the annual equivalent of the base rate of compensation most recently applicable to the officer for each year of creditable service. The allowance shall be paid in equal installments on the payroll frequency used by the employer. To qualify for the allowance, the officer shall:

(1) Have (i) completed 30 or more years of creditable service or (ii) have attained 55 years of age and completed five or more years of creditable service; and

(2) Not have attained 62 years of age; and

(3) Have completed at least five years of continuous service as a law enforcement officer as herein defined immediately preceding a service retirement. Any break in the continuous service required by this subsection because of disability retirement or disability salary continuation benefits shall not adversely affect an officer's qualification to receive the allowance, provided the officer returns to service within 45 days after the disability benefits cease and is otherwise qualified to receive the allowance.

(b) As used in this section, "creditable service" means the service for which credit is allowed under the retirement system of which the officer is a member, provided that at least fifty percent (50%) of the service is as a law enforcement officer as herein defined.

(c) Payment to a retired officer under the provisions of this section shall cease at the first of:

(1) The death of the officer;

(2) The last day of the month in which the officer attains 62 years of age; or

(3) The first day of reemployment by a local government employer in any capacity.

(c1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of this section, payments to a retired officer shall not cease when a local government employer employs a retired officer for any of the following:

(1) In a public safety position in a capacity not requiring participation in the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System.

(2) In service to a county board of elections on an election day in a capacity that complies with G.S. 128‑21(19) and does not result in cessation or suspension of the retiree's benefit from the Local Government Employees' Retirement System.

(d) This section does not affect the benefits to which an individual may be entitled from State, local, federal, or private retirement systems. The benefits payable under this section shall not be subject to any increases in salary or retirement allowances that may be authorized by local government employers or for retired employees of local governments.

(e) The governing body of each local employer shall determine the eligibility of employees for the benefits provided herein.

(f) The governing body of each local employer shall make the payments set forth in subsection (a) of this section to those persons certified under subsection (e) of this section from funds available. (1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1019, s. 2; 2009‑396, s. 1; 2018‑25, s. 1.)