(a) On July 1, 1971, all blind or visually impaired employees employed by the Department of Health and Human Services shall be enrolled as members of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System. All such employees shall be given full credit for all service theretofore as employees of the Department of Health and Human Services. All retired employees drawing or receiving benefits from and under the private retirement plan purportedly created on December 6, 1966, by the Bureau of Employment for the Blind Division pursuant to a trust agreement purportedly entered into with a private banking institution as trustee shall continue to be paid by the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System benefits in the same amount which they purportedly were entitled to under the private retirement plan and trust agreement, except that such retired persons shall be eligible for such annual cost-of-living increases as may be provided for retirement members of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System under the provisions of this Article.
(b) Upon the enrollment of the employees in the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System, the purported private retirement plan and trust agreement hereinabove referred to shall be dissolved and terminated.
(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, blind persons licensed by the State and operating vending facilities under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for the Blind and its successors, hereinafter referred to as licensed vendors, so licensed on and after October 1, 1983, shall not be members of the Retirement System. All licensed vendors in service or who are members of the Retirement System before October 1, 1983, shall make an irrevocable election to do one of the following:
(1) Continue contributing membership service as if an employee under the same conditions and requirements as are otherwise provided, and have the rights of a member to all benefits and a retirement allowance;
(2) Receive a return of accumulated contributions with cessation of contributing membership service, under G.S. 135-5(f), and in any event with regular interest regardless of membership service; or
(3) Terminate contributing membership service and be entitled alternatively to the benefits and allowances provided under G.S. 135-3(8) or 135-5(a). (1971, c. 1025, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 143; 1983, c. 867, s. 3; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, s. 28.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014