[USC02] 38 USC PART V, CHAPTER 72, SUBCHAPTER V: RETIREMENT AND SURVIVORS ANNUITIES
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38 USC PART V, CHAPTER 72, SUBCHAPTER V: RETIREMENT AND SURVIVORS ANNUITIES
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART V—BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICESCHAPTER 72—UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

SUBCHAPTER V—RETIREMENT AND SURVIVORS ANNUITIES

§7296. Retirement of judges

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) The term "Court" means the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

(2) The term "judge" means a judge of the Court.


(b)(1) A judge who meets the age and service requirements set forth in the following table may retire:

 
 The judge has attained age:And the years of service as a judge are at least
65 15   
66 14   
67 13   
68 12   
69 11   
70 10   

(2) A judge who is not reappointed following the expiration of the term for which appointed may retire upon the completion of that term if the judge has served as a judge of the Court for 15 years or more.

(3) A judge who becomes permanently disabled and as a result of that disability is unable to perform the duties of the office shall retire.

(c)(1)(A) A judge who is appointed on or after the date of the enactment of the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 and who retires under subsection (b) and elects under subsection (d) to receive retired pay under this subsection shall (except as provided in paragraph (2)) receive retired pay as follows:

(i) In the case of a judge who is a recall-eligible retired judge under section 7257 of this title, the retired pay of the judge shall (subject to section 7257(d)(2) of this title) be the rate of pay applicable to that judge at the time of retirement, as adjusted from time to time under subsection (f)(3).

(ii) In the case of a judge other than a recall-eligible retired judge, the retired pay of the judge shall be the rate of pay applicable to that judge at the time of retirement.


(B) A judge who retired before the date of the enactment of the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 and elected under subsection (d) to receive retired pay under this subsection, or a judge who retires under subsection (b) and elects under subsection (d) to receive retired pay under this subsection, shall (except as provided in paragraph (2)) receive retired pay as follows:

(i) In the case of a judge who is a recall-eligible retired judge under section 7257 of this title or who was a recall-eligible retired judge under that section and was removed from recall status under subsection (b)(4) of that section by reason of disability, the retired pay of the judge shall be the pay of a judge of the court.

(ii) In the case of a judge who at the time of retirement did not provide notice under section 7257 of this title of availability for service in a recalled status, the retired pay of the judge shall be the rate of pay applicable to that judge at the time of retirement.

(iii) In the case of a judge who was a recall-eligible retired judge under section 7257 of this title and was removed from recall status under subsection (b)(3) of that section, the retired pay of the judge shall be the pay of the judge at the time of the removal from recall status.


(2) An individual who serves as a judge for less than 10 years and who retires under subsection (b)(3) of this section and elects under subsection (d) of this section to receive retired pay under this subsection shall receive retired pay at a rate equal to one-half of the rate of pay in effect at the time of retirement.

(3) Retired pay under this subsection shall begin to accrue on the day following the day on which the individual's salary as judge ceases to accrue and shall continue to accrue during the remainder of the individual's life. Retired pay under this subsection shall be paid in the same manner as the salary of a judge.

(d)(1) A judge may elect to receive retired pay under subsection (c) of this section. Such an election—

(A) may be made only while an individual is a judge (except that, in the case of an individual who fails to be reappointed as judge at the expiration of a term of office, the election may be made at any time before the date after the day on which the individual's successor takes office); and

(B) may not be revoked after the retired pay begins to accrue.


(2) In the case of a judge other than the chief judge, such an election shall be made by filing notice of the election in writing with the chief judge. In the case of the chief judge, such an election shall be made by filing notice of the election in writing with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

(3) The chief judge shall transmit to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management a copy of each notice filed with the chief judge under this subsection.

(e) If an individual for whom an election to receive retired pay under subsection (c) is in effect accepts compensation for employment with the United States, the individual shall, to the extent of the amount of that compensation, forfeit all rights to retired pay under subsection (c) of this section for the period for which the compensation is received.

(f)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the provisions of the civil service retirement laws (including the provisions relating to the deduction and withholding of amounts from basic pay, salary, and compensation) shall apply with respect to service as a judge as if this section had not been enacted.

(2) In the case of any individual who has filed an election to receive retired pay under subsection (c) of this section—

(A) no annuity or other payment shall be payable to any person under the civil service retirement laws with respect to any service performed by such individual (whether performed before or after such election is filed and whether performed as judge or otherwise) except as authorized by section 8440d of title 5;

(B) no deduction for purposes of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund shall be made from retired pay payable to that individual under subsection (c) of this section or from any other salary, pay, or compensation payable to that individual, for any period beginning after the day on which such election is filed; and

(C) such individual shall be paid the lump-sum credit computed under section 8331(8) or 8401(a) of title 5, whichever applies, upon making application therefor with the Office of Personnel Management.


(3)(A) A cost-of-living adjustment provided by law in annuities payable under civil service retirement laws shall apply to retired pay under this section only in the case of retired pay computed under paragraph (1)(A)(i) or (2) of subsection (c).

(B) If such a cost-of-living adjustment would (but for this subparagraph) result in the retired pay of a retired judge being in excess of the annual rate of pay in effect for judges of the Court as provided in section 7253(e) of this title, such adjustment may be made only in such amount as results in the retired pay of the retired judge being equal to that annual rate of pay (as in effect on the effective date of such adjustment).

(g)(1) A judge who becomes permanently disabled and as a result of that disability is unable to perform the duties of the office shall certify to the President in writing that such permanent disability exists. If the chief judge retires for such a disability, the retirement of the chief judge shall not take effect until concurred in by the President. If any other judge retires for such a disability, the chief judge shall furnish to the President a certificate of disability signed by the chief judge.

(2) Whenever the President finds that a judge has become permanently disabled and as a result of that disability is unable to perform the duties of the office, the President shall declare that judge to be retired. Before a judge may be retired under this paragraph, the judge shall be provided with a full specification of the reasons for the retirement and an opportunity to be heard.

(h)(1) An individual who has filed an election to receive retired pay under subsection (c) of this section may revoke such election at any time before the first day on which retired pay would (but for such revocation) begin to accrue with respect to such individual.

(2) Any revocation under this subsection shall be made by filing a notice of the election in writing with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. The Office of Personnel Management shall transmit to the chief judge a copy of each notice filed under this subsection.

(3) In the case of a revocation under this subsection—

(A) for purposes of this section, the individual shall be treated as not having filed an election to receive retired pay under subsection (c) of this section;

(B) for purposes of section 7297 of this title

(i) the individual shall be treated as not having filed an election under section 7297(b) of this title, and

(ii) section 7297(e) of this title shall not apply and the amount credited to such individual's account (together with interest at 3 percent per year, compounded on December 31 of each year to the date on which the revocation is filed) shall be returned to the individual;


(C) no credit shall be allowed for any service as a judge of the Court unless with respect to such service either there has been deducted and withheld the amount required by the civil service retirement laws or there has been deposited in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund an amount equal to the amount so required, with interest;

(D) the Court shall deposit in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund an amount equal to the additional amount it would have contributed to such Fund but for the election under subsection (d); and

(E) if subparagraphs (C) and (D) of this paragraph are complied with, service on the Court shall be treated as service with respect to which deductions and contributions had been made during the period of service.


(i)(1) Beginning with the next pay period after the Director of the Office of Personnel Management receives a notice under subsection (d) of this section that a judge has elected to receive retired pay under this section, the Director shall deduct and withhold 1 percent of the salary of such judge. Amounts shall be so deducted and withheld in a manner determined by the Director. Amounts deducted and withheld under this subsection shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Judges Retirement Fund. Deductions under this subsection from the salary of a judge shall terminate upon the retirement of the judge or upon the completion of 15 years of service for which either deductions under this subsection or a deposit under subsection (j) of this section has been made, whichever occurs first.

(2) Each judge who makes an election under subsection (d) of this section shall be considered to agree to the deductions from salary which are made under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(j) A judge who makes an election under subsection (d) of this section shall deposit, for service on the Court performed before the election for which contributions may be made under this section, an amount equal to 1 percent of the salary received for the first years, not exceeding 15 years, of that service. Retired pay may not be allowed until a deposit required by this subsection has been made.

(k) The amounts deducted and withheld under subsection (i) of this section, and the amounts deposited under subsection (j) of this section, shall be deposited in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Retirement Fund for credit to individual accounts in the name of each judge from whom such amounts are received.

(Added Pub. L. 101–94, title I, §101(a), Aug. 16, 1989, 103 Stat. 617, §4096; renumbered §7296 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), (d)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 102–82, §5(c)(1), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 376; Pub. L. 102–198, §7(c)(4)(D), Dec. 9, 1991, 105 Stat. 1625; Pub. L. 105–368, title V, §512(a)(1), Nov. 11, 1998, 112 Stat. 3341; Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §§1022, 1035(2), Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1592, 1595; Pub. L. 107–103, title VI, §602, Dec. 27, 2001, 115 Stat. 999; Pub. L. 110–389, title VI, §603(b)(1), (2), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4177, 4178.)

References in Text

The date of the enactment of the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–389, which was approved Oct. 10, 2008.

The Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, referred to in subsecs. (f)(2)(B) and (h)(3)(C), (D), is provided for in section 8348 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 110–389, §603(b)(1), added par. (1) and struck out former par. (1), which related to retirement pay structure for retired judges based on recall status.

Subsec. (f)(3)(A). Pub. L. 110–389, §603(b)(2), substituted "paragraph (1)(A)(i) or (2)" for "paragraph (2)".

2001—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 107–103 struck out at end: "In order to retire under this paragraph, a judge must, not earlier than 9 months preceding the date of the expiration of the judge's term of office and not later than 6 months preceding such date, advise the President in writing that the judge is willing to accept reappointment to the Court."

1999—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 106–117, §1035(2), substituted "a judge" for "the chief judge or an associate judge".

Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 106–117, §1022(a), substituted "as follows:" for "at the rate of pay in effect at the time of retirement." and added subpars. (A) to (C).

Subsec. (f)(3). Pub. L. 106–117, §1022(b), added par. (3).

1998—Subsecs. (a)(1), (i)(1), (k). Pub. L. 105–368 substituted "Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims" for "Court of Veterans Appeals".

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 4096 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (f)(2)(A). Pub. L. 102–198 substituted "8440d" for "8440c".

Pub. L. 102–82 inserted before semicolon at end "except as authorized by section 8440c of title 5".

Subsec. (h)(3)(B). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7297" for "4097" in introductory provisions, "7297(b)" for "4097(b)" in cl. (i), and "7297(e)" for "4097(e)" in cl. (ii).

Effective Date of 1999 Amendment

Amendment by section 1035(2) of Pub. L. 106–117 effective Nov. 30, 1999, with savings provision for incumbent chief judge, see section 1036 of Pub. L. 106–117, set out as a note under section 7253 of this title.

Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 105–368 effective on first day of first month beginning more than 90 days after Nov. 11, 1998, see section 513 of Pub. L. 105–368, set out as a note under section 7251 of this title.

Transitional Provisions To Stagger Terms of Judges

Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §1002, Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1588, provided that: "In this title [see Short Title of 1999 Amendments note set out under section 101 of this title], the term 'Court' means the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims."

Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §§1011, 1012, Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1588, 1590, provided that:

"SEC. 1011. EARLY RETIREMENT AUTHORITY FOR CURRENT JUDGES.

"(a) Retirement Authorized.—One eligible judge may retire in accordance with this section in 2000 or 2001, and one additional eligible judge may retire in accordance with this section in 2001.

"(b) Eligible Judges.—For purposes of this section, an eligible judge is a judge of the Court (other than the chief judge) who—

"(1) has at least 10 years of service creditable under section 7296 of title 38, United States Code;

"(2) has made an election to receive retired pay under section 7296 of such title;

"(3) has at least 20 years of service described in section 7297(l) of such title; and

"(4) is at least 55 years of age.

"(c) Multiple Eligible Judges.—If for any year specified in subsection (a) more than one eligible judge provides notice in accordance with subsection (d), the judge who has the greatest seniority as a judge of the Court shall be the judge who is eligible to retire in accordance with this section in that year.

"(d) Notice.—An eligible judge who desires to retire in accordance with this section with respect to any year covered by subsection (a) shall provide to the President and the chief judge of the Court written notice to that effect and stating that the judge agrees to the temporary service requirements of subsection (j). Such notice shall be provided not later than April 1 of that year and shall specify the retirement date in accordance with subsection (e). Notice provided under this subsection shall be irrevocable.

"(e) Date of Retirement.—A judge who is eligible to retire in accordance with this section shall be retired during the calendar year as to which notice is provided pursuant to subsection (d), but not earlier than 30 days after the date on which that notice is provided pursuant to subsection (d).

"(f) Applicable Provisions.—Except as provided in subsections (g) and (j), a judge retired in accordance with this section shall be considered for all purposes to be retired under section 7296(b)(1) of title 38, United States Code.

"(g) Applicability of Recall Status Authority.—The provisions of section 7257 of this title shall apply to a judge retired in accordance with this section as if the judge is a judge specified in subsection (a)(2)(A) of that section.

"(h) Rate of Retired Pay.—The rate of retired pay for a judge retiring in accordance with this section is—

"(1) the rate applicable to that judge under section 7296(c)(1) of title 38, United States Code, multiplied by

"(2) the fraction (not in excess of 1) in which—

"(A) the numerator is the number of years of service of the judge as a judge of the Court creditable under section 7296 of such title; and

"(B) the denominator is 15.

"(i) Adjustments in Retired Pay for Judges Available for Recall.—Subject to section 7296(f)(3)(B) of title 38, United States Code, an adjustment provided by law in annuities payable under civil service retirement laws shall apply to retired pay under this section in the case of a judge who is a recall-eligible retired judge under section 7257 of such title or who was a recall-eligible retired judge under that section and was removed from recall status under subsection (b)(4) of that section by reason of disability.

"(j) Duty of Actuary.—[Amended section 7298 of this title.]

"(k) Transitional Service of Judge Retired Under This Section.—(1) A judge who retires under this section shall continue to serve on the Court during the period beginning on the effective date of the judge's retirement under subsection (e) and ending on the earlier of—

"(A) the date on which a person is appointed to the position on the Court vacated by the judge's retirement; and

"(B) the date on which the judge's original appointment to the court would have expired.

"(2) Subsections (f) and (g) of section 7253 of title 38, United States Code, shall apply with respect to the service of a judge on the Court under this section.

"(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person whose service as a judge of the Court continues under this section shall be paid for the period of service under this subsection at the rate that is the difference between the current rate of pay for a judge of the Court and the rate of the judge's retired pay under subsection (g).

"(4) Amounts paid under paragraph (3)—

"(A) shall not be treated as—

"(i) compensation for employment with the United States for purposes of section 7296(e) of title 38, United States Code, or any provision of title 5, United States Code, relating to the receipt or forfeiture of retired pay or retirement annuities by a person accepting compensation for employment with the United States; or

"(ii) pay for purposes of deductions or contributions for or on behalf of the person to retired pay under subchapter V of chapter 72 of title 38, United States Code, or under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5, United States Code, as applicable; but

"(B) may, at the election of the person, be treated as pay for purposes of deductions or contributions for or on behalf of the person to a retirement or other annuity, or both, under subchapter V of chapter 72 of title 38, United States Code, or under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5, United States Code, as applicable.

"(5) Amounts paid under paragraph (3) shall be derived from amounts available for payment of salaries and benefits of judges of the Court.

"(6) The service as a judge of the Court under this subsection of a person who makes an election provided for under paragraph (4)(B) shall constitute creditable service toward the judge's years of judicial service for purposes of section 7297 of title 38, United States Code, with such service creditable at a rate equal to the rate at which such service would be creditable for such purposes if served by a judge of the Court under chapter 72 of that title. For purposes of subsection (k)(3) of that section, the average annual pay for such service shall be the sum of the judge's retired pay and the amount paid under paragraph (3) of this subsection.

"(7) In the case of such a person who makes an election provided for under paragraph (4)(B), upon the termination of the service of that person as a judge of the Court under this subsection, the retired pay of that person under subsection (g) shall be recomputed to reflect the additional period of service served under this subsection.

"(l) Treatment of Political Party Membership.—For purposes of determining compliance with the last sentence of section 7253(b) of title 38, United States Code, the political party membership of a judge serving on the Court under subsection (j) shall not be taken into account.

"SEC. 1012. MODIFIED TERMS FOR NEXT TWO JUDGES APPOINTED TO THE COURT.

"(a) Modified Terms.—The term of office of the first two judges appointed to the Court after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 1999] shall be 13 years (rather than the period specified in section 7253(c) of title 38, United States Code).

"(b) Eligibility for Retirement.—(1) For purposes of determining the eligibility to retire under section 7296 of title 38, United States Code, of the two judges of the Court whose term of office is determined under subsection (a)—

"(A) the age and service requirements in the table in paragraph (2) shall apply to those judges rather than the otherwise applicable age and service requirements specified in the table in subsection (b)(1) of that section; and

"(B) the minimum years of service applicable to those judges for eligibility to retire under the first sentence of subsection (b)(2) of that section shall be 13 years instead of 15 years.

"(2) The age and service requirements in this paragraph are as follows:

 
 "The judge has attained age:And the years of service as a judge are at least
65 13   
66 13   
67 13   
68 12   
69 11   
70 10."  

Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §1032(b), Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1595, provided that: "A person serving as a judge of the Court under section 1011 may not serve as chief judge of the Court."

§7297. Survivor annuities

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) The term "Court" means the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

(2) The term "judge" means a judge of the Court who is in active service or who has retired under section 7296 of this title.

(3) The term "pay" means salary received under section 7253(e) of this title and retired pay received under section 7296 of this title.

(4) The term "retirement fund" means the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Retirement Fund established under section 7298 of this title.

(5) The term "surviving spouse" means a surviving spouse of an individual who (A) was married to such individual for at least one year immediately preceding the individual's death, or (B) is a parent of issue by the marriage.

(6) The term "dependent child" has the meaning given the term "child" in section 376(a)(5) of title 28.

(7) The term "Member of Congress" means a Representative, a Senator, a Delegate to Congress, or the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.

(8) The term "assassination" as applied to a judge shall have the meaning provided that term in section 376(a)(7) of title 28 as applied to a judicial official.


(b) A judge may become a participant in the annuity program under this section by filing a written election under this subsection while in office or within six months after the date on which the judge marries if the judge has retired under section 7296 of this title. Any such election shall be made in such manner as may be prescribed by the Court.

(c) There shall be deducted and withheld each pay period from the pay of a judge who has made an election under subsection (b) of this section a sum equal to that percentage of the judge's pay that is the same as provided for the deduction from the salary or retirement salary of a judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims for the purpose of a survivor annuity under section 376(b)(1)(B) of title 28. Amounts so deducted and withheld shall be deposited in the retirement fund. A judge who makes an election under subsection (b) of this section shall be considered by that election to agree to the deductions from the judge's pay required by this subsection.

(d)(1) A judge who makes an election under subsection (b) of this section shall deposit, with interest at 3 percent per year compounded on December 31 of each year, to the credit of the retirement fund, an amount equal to 3.5 percent of the judge's pay and of the judge's basic salary, pay, or compensation for service as a Member of Congress, and for any other civilian service within the purview of section 8332 of title 5. Each such judge may elect to make such deposits in installments during the judge's period of service in such amount and under such conditions as may be determined in each instance by the chief judge. Notwithstanding the failure of a judge to make such deposit, credit shall be allowed for the service rendered, but the annual annuity of the surviving spouse of such judge shall be reduced by an amount equal to 10 percent of the amount of such deposit, computed as of the date of the death of such judge, unless the surviving spouse elects to eliminate such service entirely from credit under subsection (k) of this section. However, a deposit shall not be required from a judge for any year with respect to which deductions from the judge's pay, or a deposit, were actually made (and not withdrawn) under the civil service retirement laws.

(2) The interest required under the first sentence of paragraph (1) shall not be required for any period—

(A) during which a judge was separated from any service described in section 376(d)(2) of title 28; and

(B) during which the judge was not receiving retired pay based on service as a judge or receiving any retirement salary as described in section 376(d)(1) of title 28.


(e) If the service of a judge who makes an election under subsection (b) of this section terminates other than pursuant to the provisions of section 7296 of this title, or if any judge ceases to be married after making the election under subsection (b) of this section and revokes (in a writing filed as provided in subsection (b) of this section) such election, the amount credited to the judge's individual account (together with interest at 3 percent per year compounded on December 31 of each year to the date of the judge's relinquishment of office) shall be returned to the judge. For the purpose of this section, the service of a judge making an election under subsection (b) of this section shall be considered to have terminated pursuant to section 7296 of this title if—

(1) the judge is not reappointed following expiration of the term for which appointed; and

(2) at or before the time of the expiration of that term, the judge is eligible for and elects to receive retired pay under section 7296 of this title.


(f)(1) If a judge who makes an election under subsection (b) of this section dies after having rendered at least 18 months of civilian service (computed as prescribed in subsection (l) of this section), for the last 18 months of which the salary deductions provided for by subsection (c) of this section or the deposits required by subsection (d) of this section have actually been made (and not withdrawn) or the salary deductions required by the civil service retirement laws have actually been made (and not withdrawn)—

(A) if the judge is survived by a surviving spouse but not by a dependent child, there shall be paid to the surviving spouse an annuity beginning with the day of the death of the judge, in an amount computed as provided in subsection (k) of this section; or

(B) if the judge is survived by a surviving spouse and a dependent child or children, there shall be paid to the surviving spouse an immediate annuity in an amount computed as provided in subsection (k) of this section and there shall also be paid to or on behalf of each such child an immediate annuity equal to the lesser of—

(i) 10 percent of the average annual pay of such judge (determined in accordance with subsection (k) of this section), or

(ii) 20 percent of such average annual pay, divided by the number of such children; or


(C) if the judge is not survived by a surviving spouse but is survived by a dependent child or children, there shall be paid to or on behalf of each such child an immediate annuity equal to the lesser of—

(i) 20 percent of the average annual pay of such judge (determined in accordance with subsection (k) of this section), or

(ii) 40 percent of such average annual pay, divided by the number of such children.


(2) The annuity payable to a surviving spouse under this subsection shall be terminated—

(A) upon the surviving spouse's death; or

(B) upon the remarriage of the surviving spouse before age 55.


(3) The annuity payable to a child under this subsection shall be terminated upon the child's death.

(4) In case of the death of a surviving spouse of a judge leaving a dependent child or children of the judge surviving the spouse, the annuity of such child or children under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection shall be recomputed and paid as provided in paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection. In any case in which the annuity of a dependent child is terminated, the annuities of any remaining dependent child or children, based upon the service of the same judge, shall be recomputed and paid as though the child whose annuity was so terminated had not survived the judge.

(5) If a judge dies as a result of an assassination and leaves a survivor or survivors who are otherwise entitled to receive annuity payments under this section, the 18-month requirement in the matter in paragraph (1) preceding subparagraph (A) shall not apply.

(g) Questions of family relationships, dependency, and disability arising under this section shall be determined in the same manner as such questions arising under chapter 84 of title 5 are determined.

(h)(1) If—

(A) a judge making an election under subsection (b) of this section dies while in office (i) before having rendered 5 years of civilian service computed as prescribed in subsection (l) of this section, or (ii) after having rendered 5 years of such civilian service but without a survivor entitled to annuity benefits provided by subsection (f) of this section; or

(B) the right of all persons entitled to an annuity under subsection (f) of this section based on the service of such judge terminates before a claim for such benefits has been established,


the total amount credited to the individual account of such judge (with interest at 3 percent per year, compounded on December 31 of each year, to the date of the death of such judge) shall be paid in the manner specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) An amount payable under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be paid, upon the establishment of a valid claim therefor, to the person or persons surviving at the date title to the payment arises, in the following order of precedence:

(A) To the beneficiary or beneficiaries whom the judge designated in writing filed before death with the chief judge (except that in the case of the chief judge such designation shall be filed before death as prescribed by the Court).

(B) To the surviving spouse of the judge.

(C) To the child or children of the judge (and the descendants of any deceased children by representation).

(D) To the parents of the judge or the survivor of them.

(E) To the executor or administrator of the estate of the judge.

(F) To such other next of kin of the judge as may be determined by the chief judge to be entitled under the laws of the domicile of the judge at the time of the judge's death.


(3) Determination as to the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a judge for the purposes of paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be made without regard to the definitions in subsection (a) of this section.

(4) Payment under this subsection in the manner provided in this subsection shall be a bar to recovery by any other person.

(5) In a case in which the annuities of all persons entitled to annuity based upon the service of a judge terminate before the aggregate amount of annuity paid equals the total amount credited to the individual account of such judge (with interest at 3 percent per year, compounded on December 31 of each year to the date of the death of the judge), the difference shall be paid, upon establishment of a valid claim therefor, in the order of precedence prescribed in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(6) Any accrued annuity remaining unpaid upon the termination (other than by death) of the annuity of any individual based upon the service of a judge shall be paid to that individual. Any accrued annuity remaining unpaid upon the death of an individual receiving an annuity based upon the service of a judge shall be paid, upon the establishment of a valid claim therefor, in the following order of precedence:

(A) To the executor or administrator of the estate of that person.

(B) After 30 days after the date of the death of such individual, to such individual or individuals as may appear in the judgment of the chief judge to be legally entitled thereto.


Such payment shall be a bar to recovery by any other individual.

(i) When a payment under this section is to be made to a minor, or to a person mentally incompetent or under other legal disability adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction, the payment may be made to the person who is constituted guardian or other fiduciary by the law of the State of residence of such claimant or is otherwise legally vested with the care of the claimant or the claimant's estate. If no guardian or other fiduciary of the person under legal disability has been appointed under the laws of the State of residence of the claimant, the chief judge shall determine the person who is otherwise legally vested with the care of the claimant or the claimant's estate.

(j) Annuities under this section shall accrue monthly and shall be due and payable in monthly installments on the first business day of the month following the month or other period for which the annuity has accrued. An annuity under this section is not assignable, either in law or in equity, or subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process.

(k)(1) The annuity of the surviving spouse of a judge making an election under subsection (b) of this section shall be an amount equal to the sum of the following:

(A) The product of—

(i) 1.5 percent of the judge's average annual pay; and

(ii) the sum of the judge's years of judicial service, the judge's years of prior allowable service as a Member of Congress, the judge's years of prior allowable service performed as a member of the Armed Forces, and the judge's years, not exceeding 15, of prior allowable service performed as a congressional employee (as defined in section 2107 of title 5).


(B) Three-fourths of 1 percent of the judge's average annual pay multiplied by the judge's years of allowable service not counted under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.


(2) An annuity computed under this subsection may not exceed 50 percent of the judge's average annual pay and may not be less than 25 percent of such average annual pay. Such annuity shall be further reduced in accordance with subsection (d) of this section (if applicable).

(3) For purposes of this subsection, the term "average annual pay", with respect to a judge, means the average annual pay received by the judge for judicial service (including periods in which the judge received retired pay under section 7296(d) of this title) or for any other prior allowable service during the period of three consecutive years in which the judge received the largest such average annual pay.

(l) Subject to subsection (d) of this section, the years of service of a judge which are allowable as the basis for calculating the amount of the annuity of the judge's surviving spouse shall include the judge's years of service as a judge of the Court, the judge's years of service as a Member of Congress, the judge's years of active service as a member of the Armed Forces not exceeding 5 years in the aggregate and not including any such service for which credit is allowed for the purposes of retirement or retired pay under any other provision of law, and the judge's years of any other civilian service within the purview of section 8332 of title 5.

(m) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prevent a surviving spouse eligible therefor from simultaneously receiving an annuity under this section and any annuity to which such spouse would otherwise be entitled under any other law without regard to this section, but in computing such other annuity service used in the computation of such spouse's annuity under this section shall not be credited.

(n) A judge making an election under subsection (b) of this section shall, at the time of such election, waive all benefits under the civil service retirement laws except section 8440d of title 5. Such a waiver shall be made in the same manner and shall have the same force and effect as an election filed under section 7296(d) of this title.

(o) Each survivor annuity payable from the retirement fund shall be increased at the same time as, and by the same percentage by which, annuities payable from the Judicial Survivors' Annuities Fund are increased pursuant to section 376(m) of title 28.

(p)(1) A covered judge who makes an election under subsection (b) may purchase, in 3-month increments, up to an additional year of service credit for each year of Federal judicial service completed, under the terms set forth in this section.

(2) In this subsection, the term "covered judge" means any of the following:

(A) A judge in regular active service.

(B) A retired judge who is a recall-eligible retired judge pursuant to subsection (a) of section 7257 of this title.

(C) A retired judge who would be a recall-eligible retired judge pursuant to subsection (a) of section 7257 but for—

(i) meeting the aggregate recall service requirements under subsection (b)(3) of such section; or

(ii) being permanently disabled as described by subsection (b)(4) of such section.

(Added Pub. L. 101–94, title I, §101(a), Aug. 16, 1989, 103 Stat. 620, §4097; renumbered §7297 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), (d)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 102–54, §14(e)(6), June 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 287; Pub. L. 102–82, §5(c)(2), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 376; Pub. L. 102–198, §7(c)(4)(E), Dec. 9, 1991, 105 Stat. 1625; Pub. L. 105–368, title V, §§503, 512(a)(1), Nov. 11, 1998, 112 Stat. 3340, 3341; Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §§1023, 1035(2), Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1592, 1595; Pub. L. 114–315, title II, §203, Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1549.)

Amendments

2016—Subsec. (p). Pub. L. 114–315 added subsec. (p).

1999—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 106–117, §1035(2), substituted "a judge" for "the chief judge or an associate judge".

Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(e)(2)(A), inserted "who is in active service or who has retired under section 7296 of this title" after "Court".

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(e)(2)(B), substituted "7296" for "7296(c)".

Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(a), substituted "one year" for "two years".

Subsec. (a)(8). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(e)(2)(C), added par. (8).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(b), inserted "or within six months after the date on which the judge marries if the judge has retired under section 7296 of this title" before the period at end of first sentence.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(c), substituted "that percentage of the judge's pay that is the same as provided for the deduction from the salary or retirement salary of a judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims for the purpose of a survivor annuity under section 376(b)(1)(B) of title 28" for "3.5 percent of the judge's pay".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(d), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

Subsec. (f)(1). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(e)(1)(A), in introductory provisions, substituted "at least 18 months" for "at least 5 years" and "last 18 months" for "last 5 years".

Subsec. (f)(1)(A). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(f), struck out "or following the surviving spouse's attainment of the age of 50 years, whichever is the later" after "death of the judge".

Subsec. (f)(5). Pub. L. 106–117, §1023(e)(1)(B), added par. (5).

1998—Subsec. (a)(1), (4). Pub. L. 105–368, §512(a)(1), substituted "Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims" for "Court of Veterans Appeals".

Subsec. (o). Pub. L. 105–368, §503, amended subsec. (o) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (o) read as follows: "Whenever the salaries of judges paid under section 7253(e) of this title are increased, each annuity payable from the retirement fund which is based, in whole or in part, upon a deceased judge having rendered some portion of that judge's final 18 months of service as a judge of the Court, shall also be increased. The amount of the increase in the annuity shall be determined by multiplying the amount of the annuity on the date on which the increase in salaries becomes effective by 3 percent for each full 5 percent by which those salaries were increased."

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 4097 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7253(e)" for "4053(e)" and "7296(c)" for "4096(c)".

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7298" for "4098".

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7296" for "4096" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (h)(1)(A)(i). Pub. L. 102–54 amended subsec. (h)(1)(A)(i) as in effect immediately before the enactment of Pub. L. 102–40 by substituting "subsection (l)" for "subsection (1)".

Subsec. (k)(3). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7296(d)" for "4096(d)".

Subsec. (n). Pub. L. 102–198 substituted "8440d" for "8440c".

Pub. L. 102–82 inserted "except section 8440c of title 5" before period at end of first sentence.

Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7296(d)" for "4096(d)".

Subsec. (o). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7253(e)" for "4053(e)".

Effective Date of 1999 Amendment

Amendment by section 1035(2) of Pub. L. 106–117 effective Nov. 30, 1999, with savings provision for incumbent chief judge, see section 1036 of Pub. L. 106–117, set out as a note under section 7253 of this title.

Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

Amendment by section 512(a)(1) of Pub. L. 105–368 effective on first day of first month beginning more than 90 days after Nov. 11, 1998, see section 513 of Pub. L. 105–368, set out as a note under section 7251 of this title.

§7298. Retirement Fund

(a) There is established in the Treasury a fund known as the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Retirement Fund.

(b) Amounts in the fund are available for the payment of judges' retired pay under section 7296 of this title and of annuities, refunds, and allowances under section 7297 of this title.

(c) Amounts deposited by, or deducted and withheld from the salary and retired pay of, a judge under section 7296 or 7297 of this title shall be deposited in the fund and credited to an individual account of the judge.

(d) The chief judge of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims shall submit to the President an annual estimate of the expenditures and appropriations necessary for the maintenance and operation of the fund, and such supplemental and deficiency estimates as may be required from time to time for the same purposes, according to law.

(e)(1) The chief judge may cause periodic examinations of the retirement fund to be made by an actuary, who may be an actuary employed by another department of the Government temporarily assigned for the purpose.

(2)(A) Subject to the availability of appropriations, there shall be deposited in the Treasury to the credit of the retirement fund, not later than the close of each fiscal year, such amounts as may be required to reduce to zero the unfunded liability (if any) of the fund. Such deposits shall be taken from sums available for that fiscal year for the payment of the expenses of the Court.

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the term "unfunded liability", with respect to any fiscal year, means the amount estimated by the chief judge to be equal to the excess (as of the close of that fiscal year) of—

(i) the present value of all benefits payable from the fund (determined on an annual basis in accordance with section 9503 of title 31), over

(ii) the sum of—

(I) the present values of future deductions under sections 7296(i) and 7297(c) of this title and future deposits under sections 7296(j) and 7296(d) of this title, and

(II) the balance in the fund as of the close of the fiscal year.


(C) For purposes of subparagraph (B), the term "present value" includes a value determined by an actuary with respect to a payment that may be made under subsection (b) from the retirement fund within the contemplation of law.

(D) Amounts deposited in the retirement fund under this paragraph shall not be credited to the account of any individual.

(f) The Secretary of the Treasury shall invest from time to time, in interest-bearing securities of the United States, such portions of the retirement fund as in such Secretary's judgment may not be immediately required for payments from the fund. The income derived from such investments shall constitute a part of the fund.

(g) For purpose of section 255(g)(1)(B) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 905(g)(1)(B)), the retirement fund shall be treated in the same manner as the Claims Judges' Retirement Fund.

(Added Pub. L. 101–94, title I, §101(a), Aug. 16, 1989, 103 Stat. 625, §4098; renumbered §7298 and amended Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §402(b)(1), (d)(1), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 238, 239; Pub. L. 105–368, title V, §§502, 512(a)(1), (2)(C), Nov. 11, 1998, 112 Stat. 3340, 3341; Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §1011(j), Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1589.)

Amendments

1999—Subsec. (e)(2)(C), (D). Pub. L. 106–117 added subpar. (D) and redesignated former subpar. (C) as (D).

1998Pub. L. 105–368, §512(a)(2)(C), struck out "Court of Veterans Appeals" before "Retirement Fund" in section catchline.

Subsecs. (a), (d). Pub. L. 105–368, §512(a)(1), substituted "Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims" for "Court of Veterans Appeals".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 105–368, §502, added subsec. (g).

1991Pub. L. 102–40, §402(b)(1), renumbered section 4098 of this title as this section.

Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7296" for "4096" and "7297" for "4097".

Subsec. (e)(2)(B)(ii)(I). Pub. L. 102–40, §402(d)(1), substituted "7296(i) and 7297(c)" for "4096(i) and 4097(c)" and "7296(j) and 7296(d)" for "4096(j) and 4096(d)".

Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

Amendment by section 512(a)(1), (2)(C) of Pub. L. 105–368 effective on first day of first month beginning more than 90 days after Nov. 11, 1998, see section 513 of Pub. L. 105–368, set out as a note under section 7251 of this title.

§7299. Limitation on activities of retired judges

(a) A retired judge of the Court who is recall-eligible under section 7257 of this title and who in the practice of law represents (or supervises or directs the representation of) a client in making any claim relating to veterans' benefits against the United States or any agency thereof shall, pursuant to such section, be considered to have declined recall service and be removed from the status of a recall-eligible judge. The pay of such a judge, pursuant to section 7296 of this title, shall be the pay of the judge at the time of the removal from recall status.

(b) A recall-eligible judge shall be considered to be an officer or employee of the United States, but only during periods when the judge is serving in recall status. Any prohibition, limitation, or restriction that would otherwise apply to the activities of a recall-eligible judge shall apply only during periods when the judge is serving in recall status.

(Added Pub. L. 106–117, title X, §1024(a), Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1593.)