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ROSE E. BUCHAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/20/84)

decided: January 20, 1984.

ROSE E. BUCHAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Employes' Retirement Board in the case of In The Matter Of: Rose Buchan, SS No. 171-42-3605, Option Change Claim, dated November 30, 1982.

COUNSEL

Randall C. Rodkey, for petitioner.

Marsha V. Mills, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Barry and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 636]

The petitioner, a retired Commonwealth employee, seeks review of an order of the Pennsylvania State Employes' Retirement Board refusing the prayer of her petition to change her election of a retirement benefit plan.

In anticipation of her retirement from State service, the petitioner submitted an application for retirement allowance and formally selected the full retirement pension plan. The full retirement pension plan provides for the return to the retiree of her contributions to the retirement system in a lump sum and the payment of the maximum available annuity to the petitioner during her lifetime.

About two days after submitting her application and selecting a plan, the petitioner sought to withdraw her selection of the full retirement pension plan and have it replaced by a plan which would provide for benefits for her thirty-four year old son after her death. Under the plan the petitioner then wanted to choose, she would receive all of her contributions to the system in a lump sum but she would receive a reduced annuity and on her death the son would receive the unexpended balance of the State's contribution to her account.

The petitioner's request was refused on the ground that her first selection of a plan was irrevocable, by

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 637]

    authority of a State Employes' Retirement Board regulation made pursuant to the State Employees' Retirement Code, Act of March 1, 1974, P.L. 125, as amended, 71 Pa. C.S. §§ 5101-5956. The regulation, at 4 Pa. Code § 247.5, provides:

Once a member has filed an application for benefits and chosen an option, including a single life annuity, such option shall be deemed irrevocable . . . [with exceptions not here relevant] . . . or unless the annuitant returns to service for a period of not less than six months and subsequently retires with recomputation of benefits.

The petitioner then contended that she was provided inadequate counseling, citing Section 5906(f) of the Retirement Code, ...


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