Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2021.05. Computation of annuity; options.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this part, every teacher who shall be retired under the provisions of § 38-2021.03 or § 38-2021.04 shall receive an annuity composed of: (1) the larger of: (A) one and one-half per centum of the average salary as defined in § 38-2021.13, multiplied by so much of the total service as does not exceed 5 years; or (B) one per centum of the average salary, plus $25, multiplied by so much of the total service as does not exceed 5 years; plus (2) the larger of: (A) one and three-quarters per centum of the average salary multiplied by so much of the total service as exceeds 5 years but does not exceed 10 years; or (B) one per centum of the average salary, plus $25, multiplied by so much of the total service as exceeds 5 years but does not exceed 10 years; plus (3) the larger of: (A) two per centum of the average salary multiplied by so much of the total service as exceeds 10 years; or (B) one per centum of the average salary, plus $25, multiplied by so much of the total service as exceeds 10 years. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, every teacher retired under the provisions of § 38-2021.03 or § 38-2021.05 who is hired on or after the first day of the first pay period that begins after October 29, 1996 shall receive an annuity equal to 2% of the average salary as defined in § 38-2021.13 multiplied by the number of years of the teacher’s creditable service. Each annuity is stated as an annual amount, one twelfth of which, fixed at the nearest dollar, constitutes the monthly rate payable on the first business day of the month after the month or other period for which it has accrued. Annuities payable to any retired teacher who has become eligible for retirement because of age as defined in § 38-2021.03 shall be payable during the lifetime of the annuitant. Annuities payable to any teacher retired on account of disability shall be subject to the conditions set forth under § 38-2021.04.

(b) Any teacher retiring under the provisions of § 38-2021.03 or § 38-2021.04 may, at the time of retirement, elect to receive in lieu of the life annuity described herein 1 of the following:

(1) A reduced annuity and an annuity after death payable to the surviving spouse or domestic partner of such teacher. The life annuity of a teacher making such election, or any portion of such annuity designated by the teacher in writing for such purposes at the time of retirement, shall be reduced by 2 1/2% of so much thereof as does not exceed $3,600 and by 10% of so much thereof as exceeds $3,600. The spouse or domestic partner of a teacher making such election shall be entitled to an annuity equal to 55% of such life annuity, or designated portion thereof, except that if a retired teacher who has elected a reduced annuity as provided in this paragraph or in subsection (d) of this section dies and is survived by a spouse or domestic partner whom he or she married or entered into a domestic partnership with after retirement, such spouse or domestic partner is entitled to an annuity in an amount which would have been paid had the teacher been married to, or in a domestic partnership with, the spouse or domestic partner at the time of retirement, but only if: (A) such spouse or domestic partner was married to, or in a domestic partnership with, such individual for at least 2 years immediately preceding the teacher’s death, or is the mother or father of issue of such marriage or domestic partnership; and (B) such spouse or domestic partner elects this annuity instead of any other survivor benefit to which he or she may be entitled under this part or another retirement system for employees of the federal or District government. The annuity of a spouse or domestic partner entitled to an annuity under this paragraph shall begin on the day after the retiree dies. Such annuity and any right thereto shall terminate on the last day of the month before: (A) the spouse or domestic partner dies; or (B) the spouse or domestic partner remarries or enters into a domestic partnership before becoming 55 years of age. In the case of a surviving spouse or domestic partner whose annuity under this paragraph is terminated because of remarriage or entry into a domestic partnership before becoming 55 years of age, annuity at the same rate shall be restored commencing on the day the remarriage is dissolved by death, annulment, or divorce, or the day the domestic partnership is terminated in accordance with § 32-702(d), or § 16-904(e), if:

(i) The surviving spouse or domestic partner elects to receive the annuity which was terminated instead of a survivor benefit to which the surviving spouse or domestic partner may be entitled, under this part or another retirement system for employees of the federal or District government, by reason of the remarriage or entry into a domestic partnership; and

(ii) Any lump sum paid on termination of the annuity is repaid to the Custodian of Retirement Funds (as defined in § 1-702(6) for deposit in the District of Columbia Teachers’ Retirement Fund established by § 1-713(a).

(2) If unmarried, not in a domestic partnership, and in good health, a reduced annuity payable to him during his life, and an annuity after his death payable to a survivor annuitant having an insurable interest in such teacher, duly designated in writing and filed with the District of Columbia Retirement Board at the time of retirement, during the life of such survivor annuitant equal to 55% of such reduced annuity. The annuity of the survivor annuitant shall commence on the day after the retired teacher dies, and such annuity and any right thereto shall terminate on the last day of the month before the death of the survivor annuitant. The annuity hereunder payable to the teacher shall be 90% of the life annuity otherwise payable if the survivor annuitant is the same age or older than the annuitant, or is less than 5 years younger than the annuitant; 85% if the survivor annuitant is 5 but less than 10 years younger; 80% if the survivor annuitant is 10 but less than 15 years younger; 75% if the survivor annuitant is 15 but less than 20 years younger; 70% if the survivor annuitant is 20 but less than 25 years younger; and 60% if the survivor annuitant is 25 or more years younger. No such election shall be valid until the retiring teacher shall have satisfactorily passed a physical examination under the direction of the Director of the Department of Human Services of the District of Columbia, as prescribed by the Board of Education. No person shall be eligible to receive an annuity under subsection (b) of § 38-2021.09 based upon the service of the same teacher covering the same period of time.

(3) A reduced annuity of equivalent value providing for a life-insurance benefit payable in a lump sum at the time of the annuitant’s death. The face amount of such life insurance may be in any amount which the retiring teacher shall designate at the time of retirement but shall not exceed his contributions accumulated with interest to the date of retirement. Payment of such insurance shall be made in accordance with the provisions of § 38-2021.10. Any annuitant who elects to receive the reduced annuity with fixed life-insurance benefits may reconvert the value of the life insurance to an additional annuity of equivalent value on any anniversary of the retirement date of said annuitant prior to reaching age 70.

(4) In the event an individual designated as a surviving spouse or domestic partner or as a survivor annuitant under this subsection predeceases the teacher designating such individual, the annuity of such teacher shall, effective the day after the death of such individual, be the amount it would have been if no such beneficiary had been named.

(c)(1)(A) The annuity of any person who now or hereafter is receiving or entitled to receive an annuity from the Teachers’ Retirement and Annuity Fund shall be increased, effective on October 1, 1955, or on the commencing date of the annuity, whichever is later, in accordance with the following schedule:

If annuity commences between Annuity not in excess of $1,500 shall be increased by Annuity in excess of $1,500 shall be increased by
August 20, 1920, and June 30, 1955 12 per centum 8 per centum
July 1, 1955, and December 31, 1955 10 per centum 7 per centum
January 1, 1956, and June 30, 1956 8 per centum 6 per centum
July 1, 1956, and December 31, 1956 6 per centum 4 per centum
January 1, 1957, and June 30, 1957 4 per centum 2 per centum
July 1, 1957, and December 31, 1957 2 per centum 1 per centum

(B) Such increase in annuity shall not exceed the sum necessary to increase such annuity, exclusive of annuity purchased by voluntary contributions under this section, to $4,104. The monthly installment of each annuity so increased shall be fixed at the nearest dollar.

(2) The increases provided by this subsection, when added to the annuities of retired employees, shall not operate to increase the annuities of their survivors, except that the annuity of any such survivor who becomes entitled to annuity shall be increased by the per centum provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection appropriate to the commencing date of such survivors annuity.

(d) A teacher who is unmarried and not in a domestic partnership at the time of retiring under a provision of law which permits election of a reduced annuity with a survivor annuity payable to his spouse or domestic partner and who later marries or enters into a domestic partnership may irrevocably elect, in a signed writing filed with the District of Columbia Retirement Board within one year after he or she marries or enters into a domestic partnership, a reduction in his or her current annuity and an annuity after death payable to his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this section. The reduced annuity is effective the first day of the month after such election is received by the District of Columbia Retirement Board. The election voids prospectively any election previously made under paragraph (2) or paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this section.

(e)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, other than this subsection, the monthly rate of annuity payable under this section shall not be less than the smallest primary insurance amount, including any cost-of-living increase added to that amount, authorized to be paid from time to time under title II of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.].

(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part, other than this subsection, the monthly rate of annuity payable under this section to a surviving child shall not be less than the smallest primary insurance amount, including any cost-of-living increase added to that amount, authorized to be paid from time to time under title II of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.], or 3 times such primary insurance amount divided by the number of surviving children entitled to an annuity, whichever is the lesser.

(3) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to an annuitant or to a survivor who is or becomes entitled to receive from the United States, or the District of Columbia, an annuity or retired pay under any other civilian or military retirement system, benefits under title II of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.], a pension, veterans’ compensation, or any other periodic payment of a similar nature, when the monthly rate thereof is equal to or greater than the smallest primary insurance amount, including any cost-of-living increase added to that amount, authorized to be paid from time to time under title II of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.].

(4) An annuity payable from the Teachers’ Retirement and Annuity Fund to a former teacher, which is based on a separation occurring prior to October 20, 1969, is increased by $240.

(5) In lieu of any increase based on an increase under paragraph (4) of this subsection, an annuity payable from the Teachers’ Retirement and Annuity Fund to the surviving spouse of a teacher or annuitant, which is based on a separation occurring prior to October 20, 1969, shall be increased by $132.

(6) The monthly rate of an annuity resulting from an increase under paragraph (4) or (5) of this subsection shall be considered as the monthly rate of annuity payable under subsection (a) of this section for purposes of computing the minimum annuity under this subsection.

(f) Each year, the District of Columbia Retirement Board shall set the applicable interest rate, mortality table, and cost-of-living factor to be used in the determination of actuarial equivalents or for other pertinent benefit calculations under the provisions of this part.


(Aug. 7, 1946, 60 Stat. 878, ch. 779, § 5; Aug. 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, § 1; Mar. 6, 1952, 66 Stat. 17, ch. 95, § 4; Aug. 5, 1955, 69 Stat. 530, ch. 569, title V, § 23; July 2, 1956, 70 Stat. 487, ch. 497, § 1; June 4, 1957, 71 Stat. 46, Pub. L. 85-46, § 1; Oct. 24, 1962, 76 Stat. 1237, Pub. L. 87-881, title II, § 203(a); Dec. 29, 1967, 81 Stat. 748, Pub. L. 90-231, § 1(4); May 22, 1970, 84 Stat. 258, Pub. L. 91-263, § 1(f); Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 1012, Pub. L. 92-518, title II, § 201(1), (2); Sept. 3, 1974, 88 Stat. 1050, Pub. L. 93-407, title III, § 301; Nov. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 866, Pub. L. 96-122, §§ 123(b)(1)(c), 255(a); Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-218, § 4(c), 43 DCR 6172; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 55(c), 52 DCR 2638; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 32(a), 55 DCR 6758; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-301, § 3(a), 60 DCR 2310; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-312, § 2(d), 60 DCR 3434; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 4(d)(1), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1226.

1973 Ed., § 31-725.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2021.03, § 38-2021.04, § 38-2021.06, § 38-2021.08, § 38-2021.09, § 38-2021.19, and § 38-2023.12.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354, in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Auditor of the District of Columbia”; and, in subsec. (d), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Mayor of the District of Columbia” and “Mayor”.

D.C. Law 17-231 substituted “surviving spouse or domestic partner” for “widow or widower” throughout the section; rewrote subsec. (b)(1); in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “unmarried’, not in a domestic partnership” for “unmarried”; and, in subsec. (d), substituted “unmarried and not in a domestic partnership,” for “unmarried”, “spouse or domestic partner” for “spouse”, and “marries or enters into a domestic partnership”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-301, in (b)(1), substituted “(B) such spouse or domestic partner elects” for “(B) such spouse or domestic partnership elects” and twice substituted “55 years” for “60 years”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-312 added (f).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4(c) of the New Hires Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Pension Modification Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-428, October 29, 1996, 43 DCR 6147), and § 4(c) of the New Hires Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Teachers Pension Modification Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-10, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1633).

For temporary addition of (f), see § 2(d) of the Retirement of Public-School Teachers Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-584, January 1, 2013, 60 DCR 134).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(d) of the Retirement of Public-School Teachers Omnibus Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-41, March 25, 2013, 60 DCR 5361, 20 DCSTAT 527).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(d) of D.C. Law 19-313 added a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

“(f) Each year, the District of Columbia Retirement Board shall set the applicable interest rate, mortality table, and cost-of-living factor to be used in the determination of actuarial equivalents or for other pertinent benefit calculations under the provisions of this act.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 19-313 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

References in Text

“Title II of the Social Security Act,” referred to throughout subsection (e), is codified at 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 11-218: Section 7 of D.C. Law 11-218 provided that the act shall apply as of January 28, 1997.

Office of Auditor abolished: The Office of the Auditor of the District of Columbia was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. All functions of the Office of the Auditor including the functions of all officers, employees, and subordinate agencies were transferred to the Director, Department of General Administration by Reorganization Order No. 3 of the Board of Commissioners, dated August 28, 1952, and effective September 2, 1952. The function of receiving written designation for survivor annuity, referred to in subsection (b)(2) of this section, was transferred from the Auditor to the Accounting Officer, Finance Office, Department of General Administration by Reorganization Order No. 20, dated November 10, 1952. Reorganization Order No. 20 was superseded by Organization Order No. 121, dated December 12, 1957. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Organization Order No. 121 was revoked and replaced by Organization Order No. 3, dated December 13, 1967. Part IVC of the latter Order established a Finance Office within the newly created Department of General Administration, and prescribed the functions thereof. These functions were subsequently transferred to the Director of the Department of Finance and Revenue by paragraph 4, Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969. Functions pertaining to centralized accounting as set forth in Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96 were transferred to the Director of the Office of Budget and Financial Management by Organization Order No. 30, dated April 5, 1972. Organization Order No. 50, dated December 31, 1974, established the Office of Budget and Management Systems, and transferred to that Office the functions of the Office of Budget and Financial Management. The Office of Budget and Management Systems was replaced by Mayor’s Order 79-5, dated January 2, 1979, which Order established the Office of Budget and Revenue Development.

Office of Director of Public Health abolished: Section 1 of the Act of August 1, 1950, 64 Stat. 393, ch. 513, provided that the Health Officer of the District of Columbia would be known as the Director of Public Health. The Health Department of the District of Columbia, including the office of the head thereof, was abolished and the functions thereof transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia by Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952. Reorganization Order No. 57 of the Board of Commissioners, dated June 30, 1953, and Reorganization Order No. 52, dated June 30, 1953, combined and redesignated Organization Order No. 141, dated February 11, 1964, established, under the direction and control of a Commissioner, a Department of Public Health headed by a Director, for the purpose of planning, implementing, and directing public health and hospital care programs, and for performing certain other allied medical and paramedical functions. The Anatomical Board was established under the direction and control of the Director of Public Health consisting of members as prescribed in the D.C. Code. The Order prior to redesignation abolished the previously existing Health Department, Gallinger Hospital, Glenn Dale Sanatorium, and the Anatomical Board and transferred their functions and positions to the new Department. The organization of the new Department was set out in the Order. The executive functions of the Board of Commissioners were transferred to the Commissioner of the District of Columbia by § 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967. Functions stated in Organization Order No. 141 were transferred to the Director of the Department of Human Resources by Commissioner’s Order No. 69-96, dated March 7, 1969, as amended by Commissioner’s Order No. 70-83, dated March 6, 1970. The Department of Human Resources was replaced by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980, which Plan established the Department of Human Services.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.