Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2021.09. Deferred annuity; annuity to survivors.

(a) Should a teacher to whom this part applies, after completing 5 years of eligible service and before becoming eligible for retirement, become separated from the service, the teacher may elect to receive a deferred annuity, computed as provided in § 38-2021.05, beginning at the age of 62 years and terminating on the date of the teacher’s death; provided, that a teacher who becomes separated from the public schools of the District of Columbia for other than retirement purposes and who does not elect to receive a deferred annuity as provided for in this section shall receive as soon as practicable after separation the refund of deductions, deposits, or redeposits; provided further, that no teacher who shall withdraw the amount of the teacher’s deductions, deposits, or redeposits under this section shall, after reinstatement, be entitled to credit for previous service unless the teacher shall repay 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in § 1-702(6), for deposit in the District of Columbia Teachers’ Retirement Fund, established by § 1-713(a), the amount withdrawn by him (including the interest thereon) plus interest computed in accordance with § 38-2021.24(c); and provided further, that the amount required to be so deposited may be paid by the teacher, if he so elects, in any number of monthly installments, not exceeding 100.

(b)(1) In the event any teacher to whom this part applies shall die subsequent to March 6, 1952, after completing at least 18 months of eligible service and is survived by a spouse or domestic partner, such surviving spouse or domestic partner shall be paid an annuity beginning the day after the teacher dies, equal to 55% of the amount of an annuity computed as provided in subsection (a) of § 38-2021.05 with respect to such teacher, except that in the computation of the annuity under such subsection the annuity of the teacher shall be at least the smaller of: (A) forty per centum of his average salary; or (B) the sum obtained under such subsection after increasing his eligible service of the type last performed by the period elapsing between the date of death and the date he would have become 55 years of age. Such annuity and any right thereto shall terminate on the last day of the month before: (A) the surviving spouse or domestic partner dies; or (B) the surviving spouse or domestic partner remarries or enters a new 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 new 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 new 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 new 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 any teacher to whom this part applies shall die after completing at least 18 months of eligible service or after having retired under the provisions of § 38-2021.03 or § 38-2021.04 and is survived by a spouse or domestic partner, each surviving child shall be paid an annuity equal to the smallest of: (A) sixty per centum of the teacher’s average salary divided by the number of children; (B) $ 900; or (C) $ 2,700 divided by the number of children. If such teacher is not survived by a spouse or domestic partner, each surviving child shall be paid an annuity equal to the smallest of: (A) seventy-five per centum of the teacher’s average salary divided by the number of children; (B) $ 1,080; or (C) $ 3,240 divided by the number of children. The child’s annuity shall commence on the first day after the teacher dies. Such annuity and the right thereto terminate on the last day of the month before the child: (i) becomes 18 years of age unless he is then a student as described or incapable of self-support; (ii) becomes capable of self-support after becoming 18 years of age unless he or she is then such a student; (iii) becomes 22 years of age if he or she is then such a student and capable of self-support; (iv) ceases to be such a student after becoming 18 years of age unless he or she is then incapable of self-support; or (v) dies or marries; whichever first occurs. Upon the death of the surviving spouse or domestic partner or termination of the annuity of the child, the annuity of any other child or children shall be recomputed and paid as though such spouse, domestic partner, or child had not survived the teacher.

(3) In the event any teacher to whom this part applies shall die subsequent to March 6, 1952, after completing at least 18 months of eligible service, and is not survived by a spouse, domestic partner, or children, but is survived by dependent parents or a dependent father or a dependent mother, such surviving dependent parents or parent shall be paid an annuity, beginning the first day of the month following the death of the teacher, equal to 55% of the amount of an annuity computed as provided in subsection (a) of § 38-2021.05 with respect to such teacher, except that, in the computation of the annuity under such subsection, the annuity of the teacher shall be at least the smaller of 40% of his average salary, or the sum obtained under such subsection after increasing his eligible service of the type last performed by the period elapsing between the date of death and the date he would have become 60 years of age; provided, that such payments shall be made jointly to surviving dependent parents and payment of such annuity shall continue after the death of either dependent parent; provided further, that all such payments or any right thereto shall cease upon the death of both dependent parents.

(4) In the event that a teacher to whom this part applies shall die after January 1, 2007, while performing qualified military service, the survivor or survivors of the teacher shall be entitled to receive any additional benefits provided under this part (other than benefit accruals relating to the period of qualified military service) as if the teacher resumed employment and then terminated employment on account of death.

(b-1) Effective as of January 1, 2007, benefits payable under this part shall not be paid until at least 30 days, or a shorter period as may be permitted by law, but no more than 180 days after a teacher’s receipt of required distribution notices and election forms pursuant to section 402(f) of the Internal Revenue Code. The notices must include a description of the teacher’s right, if any, to defer receipt of a distribution, the consequences of failing to defer receipt of the distribution, the relative value of optional forms of benefit, and other information as may be required by applicable regulations and guidance.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) The term “spouse” means a surviving wife or husband of an individual, who either shall have been married to such individual for at least 2 years immediately preceding the individual’s death, or is the mother or father of issue by such marriage.

(2) The term “child” means:

(A) An unmarried child under 18 years of age, including:

(i) An adopted child; and:

(ii) A stepchild or recognized natural child who lived with the teacher in a regular parent-child relationship;

(B) Such unmarried child regardless of age who is incapable of self-support because of mental or physical disability incurred before age 18; or

(C) Such unmarried child between 18 and 22 years of age who is a student regularly pursuing a full-time course of study or training in residence in a high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or comparable recognized educational institution. For the purpose of this paragraph and paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this section, a child whose 22nd birthday occurs before July 1st or after August 31st of a calendar year, and while he is regularly pursuing such a course of study or training, is deemed to have become 22 years of age on the 1st day of July after that birthday. A child who is a student is deemed not to have ceased to be a student during an interim between school years if the interim is not more than 5 months and if he shows to the satisfaction of the District of Columbia Retirement Board that he has a bona fide intention of continuing to pursue a course of study or training in the same or different school during the school semester (or other period into which the school year is divided) immediately after the interim.

(3) The term “dependent parents” means the natural parents of a teacher who were receiving one half or more of their total income from said teacher immediately preceding the death of said teacher.

(4) The term “dependent father” or “dependent mother” means the natural father or natural mother of a teacher who was receiving one half or more of his or her total income from said teacher immediately preceding the death of said teacher.

(5) Repealed.

(6) Questions of dependency and disability arising under this section shall be determined by the District of Columbia Retirement Board and its decisions with respect to such matters shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to review.

(7) The term “domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3), and who shall have been a domestic partner with such individual for at least 2 years immediately preceding his death.

(8) The term “qualified military service” shall mean any military service in the uniformed services, as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 43, by a teacher, if the teacher is entitled to reemployment rights with respect to such military service, all within the meaning of section 414(u)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code.


(Aug. 7, 1946, 60 Stat. 880, ch. 779, § 9; Mar. 6, 1952, 66 Stat. 19, ch. 95,§ 8; June 4, 1957, 71 Stat. 47, Pub. L. 85-46, § 1; Oct. 24, 1962, 76 Stat. 1237, Pub. L. 87-881, title II, § 203(b), (c), (d), (e); Sept. 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 886, Pub. L. 88-575, § 202; Dec. 29, 1967, 81 Stat. 748, Pub. L. 90-231, § 1(6); May 22, 1970, 84 Stat. 258, Pub. L. 91-263, § 1(e); Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 1013, Pub. L. 92-518, title II, § 201(4); Nov. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 866, Pub. L. 96-122, §§ 123(b)(1)(D), (E), 253 (a)(4); Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 55(e), 52 DCR 2638; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 32(b), 55 DCR 6758; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-301, § 3(b), 60 DCR 2310; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-312, § 2(g), 60 DCR 3434; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 4(d)(2), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1231.

1973 Ed., § 31-729.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2021.04, § 38-2021.05, § 38-2021.13, § 38-2021.21, § 38-2021.27, and § 38-2023.14.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354, in subsec. (c)(2)(C), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Mayor of the District of Columbia”; and, in subsec. (c)(6), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Board of Education”.

D.C. Law 17-231 rewrote subsecs. (b) and (c)(1); repealed subsec. (c)(5); and added subsec. (c)(7).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-301 substituted “before becoming 55 years of age” for “before becoming 60 years of age” throughout (b)(1).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-312 rewrote (a); and added (b)(4), (b-1), and (c)(8).

Cross References

Adjustment of annuities, see § 38-2021.21.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(g) 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(g) 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(g)(1) of D.C. Law 19-313 amended subsection (a) to read as follows:

“(a) Should a teacher to whom this act applies, after completing 5 years of eligible service and before becoming eligible for retirement, become separated from the service, the teacher may elect to receive a deferred annuity, computed as provided in section 5, beginning at the age of 62 years and terminating on the date of the teacher’s death; provided, that a teacher who becomes separated from the public schools of the District of Columbia for other than retirement purposes and who does not elect to receive a deferred annuity as provided for in this section shall receive as soon as practicable after separation the refund of deductions, deposits, or redeposits; provided further, that no teacher who shall withdraw the amount of the teacher’s deductions, deposits, or redeposits under this section shall, after reinstatement, be entitled to credit for previous service unless the teacher shall repay to the Custodian of Retirement Funds as defined in section 102(6) of the District of Columbia Retirement Reform Act, effective November 17, 1979 (93 Stat. 866; D. C. Official Code § 1-702(6)), for deposit in the District of Columbia Teachers’ Retirement Fund, established by section 123(a) of the District of Columbia Retirement Reform Act, effective November 17, 1979 (93 Stat. 866; D.C Official Code § 1-713(a)), the amount withdrawn by him (including the interest thereon) plus interest computed in accordance with section 24(c); and provided further, that the amount required to be so deposited may be paid by the teacher, if he so elects, in any number of monthly installments, not exceeding 100.”

Section 2(g)(2) of D.C. Law 19-313 added a new paragraph (b)(4) to read as follows:

“(4) In the event that a teacher to whom this act applies shall die after January 1, 2007, while performing qualified military service, the survivor or survivors of the teacher shall be entitled to receive any additional benefits provided under this act (other than benefit accruals relating to the period of qualified military service) as if the teacher resumed employment and then terminated employment on account of death.”

Section 2(g)(3) of D.C. Law 19-313 added a new subsection (b-1) is added to read as follows:

“(b-1) Effective as of January 1, 2007, benefits payable under this act shall not be paid until at least 30 days, or a shorter period as may be permitted by law, but no more than 180 days after a teacher’s receipt of required distribution notices and election forms pursuant to section 402(f) of the Internal Revenue Code. The notices must include a description of the teacher’s right, if any, to defer receipt of a distribution, the consequences of failing to defer receipt of the distribution, the relative value of optional forms of benefit, and other information as may be required by applicable regulations and guidance.”

Section 2(g)(4) of D.C. Law 19-313 added a new paragraph (c)(8) to read as follows:

“(8) The term ‘qualified military service’ shall mean any military service in the uniformed services, as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 43, by a teacher, if the teacher is entitled to reemployment rights with respect to such military service, all within the meaning of section 414(u)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

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

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.