135-53. Definitions.

The following words and phrases as used in this Article, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, shall have the following meanings:

(1) "Accumulated contributions" with respect to any member shall mean the sum of all the amounts deducted from the compensation of the member pursuant to G.S. 135-68 since he last became a member and credited to his account in the annuity savings fund, plus any amount standing to his credit pursuant to G.S. 135-67(c) as a result of a prior period of membership, plus any amounts credited to his account pursuant to G.S. 135-28.1(b) or 135-56(b), together with regular interest on all such amounts computed as provided in G.S. 135-7(b).

(2) "Actuarial equivalent" shall mean a benefit of equal value when computed upon the bases of such mortality tables as shall be adopted by the Board of Trustees, and regular interest.

(2a) "Average final compensation" shall mean the average annual compensation of a member during the 48 consecutive calendar months of membership service producing the highest such average.

(3) "Beneficiary" shall mean any person in receipt of a retirement allowance or other benefit as provided in this Article.

(4) "Board of Trustees" shall mean the Board of Trustees established by G.S. 135-6.

(4a) "Clerk of superior court" shall mean the clerk of superior court provided for in G.S. 7A-100(a).

(5) "Compensation" shall mean all salaries and wages derived from public funds which are earned by a member of the Retirement System for his service as a justice or judge, or district attorney, or clerk of superior court, or public defender, or the Director of Indigent Defense Services. Effective July 1, 2009, "compensation" also means payment of military differential wages. "Compensation" shall not include local supplementation as authorized under G.S. 7A-300.1 for Judicial Department employees.

(5a) "Consumer Price Index" shall mean the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, all items, not seasonally adjusted, standard reference base, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

(6) "Creditable service" shall mean for any member the total of his prior service plus his membership service.

(6a) "Director of Indigent Defense Services" shall mean the Director of Indigent Defense Services as provided for in G.S. 7A-498.6.

(6b) "District attorney" shall mean the district attorney or solicitor provided for in G.S. 7A-60.

(7) "Filing" when used in reference to an application for retirement shall mean the receipt of an acceptable application on a form provided by the Retirement System.

(8) "Final compensation" shall mean for any member the annual equivalent of the rate of compensation most recently applicable to him.

(9) "Judge" shall mean any justice or judge of the General Court of Justice and the administrative officer of the courts.

(10) "Medical board" shall mean the board of physicians provided for in G.S. 135-6.

(11) "Member" shall mean any person included in the membership of the Retirement System as provided in this Article.

(12) "Membership service" shall mean service as a judge, district attorney, clerk of superior court, public defender, or the Director of Indigent Defense Services rendered while a member of the Retirement System.

(13) "Previous system" shall mean, with respect to any member, the retirement benefit provisions of Article 6 and Article 8 of Chapter 7A of the General Statutes, to the extent that such Article or Articles were formerly applicable to the member, and in the case of judges of the district court division, district attorney, public defender, the Director of Indigent Defense Services, and and clerk of superior court of the General Court of Justice, the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.

(14) "Prior service" shall mean service rendered by a member, prior to his membership in the Retirement System, for which credit is allowable under G.S. 135-56.

(14a) "Public defender" means a public defender provided for in G.S. 7A-498.7, the appellate defender provided for in G.S. 7A-498.8, the capital defender, and the juvenile defender.

(15) "Regular interest" shall mean interest compounded annually at such a rate as shall be determined by the Board of Trustees in accordance with G.S. 135-7(b).

(16) "Retirement" under this Chapter shall mean the commencement of monthly retirement benefits, along with the termination of employment and the complete separation from active service with no intent or agreement, expressed or implied, to return to service. A retirement allowance under the provisions of this Chapter may only be granted upon retirement of a member. In order for a member's retirement to become effective in any month, the member must perform no work in a position covered by this Article or by an Optional Retirement Program established under G.S. 135-5.1 or G.S. 135-5.4 at any time during the same month immediately following the effective first day of retirement.

(17) "Retirement allowance" shall mean the periodic payments to which a beneficiary becomes entitled under the provisions of this Article.

(18) "Retirement System" shall mean the "Consolidated Judicial Retirement System" of North Carolina, as established in this Article.

(19) "Year" as used in this Article shall mean the regular fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30 in the following calendar year, unless otherwise defined by regulation of the Board of Trustees. (1973, c. 640, s. 1; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1031, ss. 5-10; 1999-237, s. 28.24(f); 2005-276, s. 29.30A(c); 2005-345, s. 42; 2007-323, s. 28.21B(c); 2008-107, s. 26.24(c); 2009-66, s. 6(g); 2010-31, s. 29.7(e); 2013-288, s. 4(c); 2014-97, ss. 4(c), 6; 2018-85, s. 4.)