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Bar Associations Push to End Pension ‘Death Gamble’ for Judges (New York Law Journal)

New York Law Journal, November 18, 2015

Bar Associations Push to End Pension ‘Death Gamble’ for Judges

Bar groups are mobilizing for another attempt to eliminate the “death gamble,” a quirk of the state pension law that has driven many older judges into early retirement rather than run the risk of reduced benefits for their loved ones should they die in office. Under current rules, survivors of judges who die while in office receive a lump sum payment. But they are due a pension that often is more generous if the judge has stepped down before dying. The New York County Lawyers’ Association issued a report in June calling for an amendment to Retirement and Social Security Law §60 that would eliminate the death gamble. The proposal was endorsed Nov. 7 by the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates. Other bar groups supporting the amendment are the New York City Bar Association, the state Women’s Bar, the Brooklyn Bar, the Suffolk County Bar and the Erie County Bar.

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