Bill that would end remarriage prohibition for PFRS members’ spouses earns thumbs down from commission

TRENTON – The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission voted unanimously today to not recommend the enactment of a bill

TRENTON – The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission voted unanimously today to not recommend the enactment of a bill which would eliminate the prohibition of death benefits for the surviving spouse of a member of the police and firefighters retirement system.

Normally, the surviving spouse could receive benefits that amount to 50 percent of the pension of the PFRS member. However, if the surviving spouse remarries, those benefits can no longer be given to the survivor.

The cost of the bill, S214, sponsored by Sen. James Holzapfel, (R-10), Brick would be $50 million.

William Clarke, a member of the commission, said S214 is “not an appropriate bill,” given that it would add millions of dollars in an “unfunded liability” to a system that already has a deficit in the billions.

The Legislature did pass legislation in 2003 that would lift the prohibition on spouses receiving death benefits after they remarry. But the law only applied to beneficiaries whose spouses died in the line line of duty.

  Bill that would end remarriage prohibition for PFRS members’ spouses earns thumbs down from commission