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Indiana Public Retirement System

Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) > My Fund > Excise > State Excise Police, Gaming Agents and Conservation Enforcement Officers Handbook State Excise Police, Gaming Agents and Conservation Enforcement Officers Handbook

In 1972, the Indiana Legislature established what is now known as the State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan. The purpose of this plan is to provide retirement, disability and survivor benefits for employees of the Department of Natural Resources, the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and the Indiana Gaming Commission who are engaged exclusively in the performance of law enforcement duties. The Indiana State Legislature added Gaming Agents to this plan effective July 1, 2005.

Membership (IC 5-10-5.5-5)

If you were a state excise police or conservation enforcement officer on Sept. 2, 1971, you were required to participate in this plan unless you filed a written notice not to participate. You must have filed this written notice with the Public Employees' Retirement Fund (PERF) within twenty (20) days prior to Sept. 2, 1971. If you elected not to participate, you are forever ineligible to participate in this retirement plan.

If you became a state excise police or conservation enforcement officer after Sept. 2, 1971, you are required to participate in the plan as a condition of employment.

Contributions

Employee: As a plan member, you are required to contribute 4 percent of your annual salary. The contribution is made through payroll deductions. These contributions are deposited in your account with the plan.

Employer: The state of Indiana makes an actuarially determined contribution to properly fund the accruing benefits. The employer contribution rate is determined by the INPRS Board of Trustees based on the recommendations of the actuary.

When crediting interest on employee contribution accounts, the interest rate will be set at least annually. For active members, the interest will be credited at least once annually on the prior fiscal year end balance. For a member separated from service, members who die before vesting, and for survivors, the amount credited to the member’s contribution account must be the value of the member’s contribution account plus interest valued the day before the member applies for a distribution or the date of death of the member plus contributions received after that date. For members with less than twenty (20) years of service and no activity after ten (10) years, no amount of interest will be credited.

Beneficiary Elections

Plan members may nominate a beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary by completing the appropriate form. New participants may nominate a beneficiary on their member record form.

Members may change beneficiaries by filing a beneficiary change form. A contingent beneficiary may also be designated on that form (see IC 5-10-5.5-15 for the list of eligible beneficiaries).

Service Credit

  • A participant in this plan is entitled to service credit for the time the participant receives state disability benefits,
  • Credit for military service, shall accrue and be computed and credited to participants in the same manner and in the same amount as creditable service accrues, is computed and credited under PERF.
  • A participant may purchase service credit under the terms of this plan (IC 5-10-5.5-7.5).
  • A member's total service credit is the sum of all the member's creditable service within the fund, including partial years. The member's benefit is calculated only based upon whole years.

Benefits

The mandatory retirement age for the excise police, gaming agents, gaming control officers and conservation officers’ who become a participant in the retirement plan before age fifty (50), is sixty-five (65).

The mandatory retirement age for an officer who becomes a participant after becoming fifty (50) years of age is the earlier of:

  • the first day of the month following the participant's sixty-fifth (65th) birthday; or
  • the first day of the month following the completion of fifteen (15) years of service.

A normal retirement benefit is equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of your average annual salary, increased by 1.66 percent (1.66%) of your average annual salary for each completed year of creditable service more than ten (10) years. As defined under IC 5-10-5.5-1, "average annual salary" means the average annual salary of an officer during the five years of highest annual salary in the ten (10) years immediately preceding an officer’s retirement date, determined without regard to any pre-tax salary reduction agreement (under Internal Revenue Code Section 125).

If you leave your position and you have fifteen (15) years or more of creditable service but are under age forty-five (45), you are not eligible to elect a retirement benefit until age forty-five (45). The benefit at age forty-five (45) is reduced for early retirement. If you become a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have ten (10) years or more of creditable service, you are eligible to elect an unreduced retirement benefit upon separation from employment.

Benefit Overpayment or Underpayment

Occasionally, errors occur in benefit calculation. If such an error is discovered, INPRS is required by federal and state law to correct errors at any time, including after you take a distribution of your account balance.  If you receive an overpayment as a result of any error, INPRS is required by federal and state law to recover benefit overpayments.  If you have an underpayment, you will receive an additional payment from INPRS.

Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)

Effective July 1, 2008, a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) is established for all plan participants.

An employee may make a DROP election as provided in this retirement plan only if, immediately upon termination, he or she is eligible to receive an unreduced annual retirement allowance under the provisions of the State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan (Excise, Gaming and Conservation Plan) on his or her entry date into the DROP.

The DROP retirement benefit will be based on:

  • Average annual salary; and
  • Years of creditable service; on the date you enter the DROP.

Any member who chooses the DROP shall agree to the following:

  • The member shall execute an irrevocable election to retire on the DROP retirement date and shall remain in active service until that date.
  • While in the DROP, the member shall continue to make contributions to the Excise, Gaming and Conservation Plan under the provisions of that plan.
  • The member shall elect a DROP retirement date not less than twelve (12) months and not more than thirty-six (36) months after the member’s DROP entry date.
  • The member may not remain in the DROP after the date the member reaches any mandatory retirement age as set forth in the Excise, Gaming and Conservation Plan.
  • The member may make an election to enter the DROP only once in the member’s lifetime.

A member who retires on his or her DROP retirement date may elect to receive an annual retirement allowance:

  • Computed as if the member had never entered the DROP; or
  • Consisting of the DROP frozen benefit, plus an additional amount paid as the member elects, determined by multiplying the DROP frozen benefit by the number of months the member was in DROP.
  • The additional amount is paid in one of the following ways:
    1. A lump sum paid on:
      1. the participant’s DROP retirement date; or
      2. the date the participant retires because of a disability.

    2. Three equal annual payments:
      1. commencing on:
        1. the participant’s DROP retirement date; or
        2. the date the participant retires because of a disability; and
      2. thereafter paid on:
        1. the anniversary of the participant’s DROP retirement date; or
        2. the date the participant retires because of a disability.

Disability benefits for members who elect the DROP

If a participant becomes disabled (as determined by the INPRS Board of Trustees or its designee), in the line of duty or other than in the line of duty while in the DROP, the participant’s annual retirement income allowance is computed as follows:

  • If the participant retires because of a disability less than twelve (12) months after the date  the  participant  enters  the  DROP,  the  participant’s  annual retirement allowance is calculated as if the participant had never entered the DROP.
  • If the participant retires because of a disability at least twelve (12) months after the date the participant enters the DROP, the participant’s annual retirement allowance is calculated as a DROP benefit and the participant’s retirement date is the date the member retires because of a disability rather than the participant’s DROP retirement date.

DROP survivor benefits

If, before payment of the participant's annual retirement allowance begins, the participant dies in the line of duty or other than in the line of duty, death benefits are payable as follows:

  • The DROP benefit calculated is paid in a lump sum to the participant's surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the lump sum must be divided equally among the participant's  surviving children. If there are no surviving children, the lump sum is paid to the participant's parents. If there are no surviving parents, the lump sum is paid to the participant's estate.
  • A benefit is paid on the DROP frozen benefit under the terms of this retirement plan.

No cost of living increase is applied to a DROP frozen benefit while the participant is in the DROP. After the participant retires on the DROP retirement date, cost of living increases determined under the Excise, Gaming and Conservation Plan apply to the participant’s annual retirement allowance.

For more information regarding DROP for the Excise, Gaming and Conservation Plan, please contact (888) 526-1687.

Early Retirement (IC 5-10-5.5-11 and 12)

You are eligible for early retirement if you:

  • Are age forty-five (45) and have accrued at least fifteen (15) years of creditable service (reduced benefit)
  • Are at least age fifty-five (55) and your age plus years of service equal eighty-five (85) (unreduced benefit)
  • Are at least age fifty (50) and have accrued at least twenty-five (25) years of service (unreduced benefit)

A reduced benefit is calculated the same as a regular retirement but is reduced by one-fourth (1/4) percent for each full month that your early retirement date precedes the attainment of your 60th birthday.

Disability Benefits

Upon a petition from a participant, the department, or the commission, the Board of Trustees of INPRS, or its designee, shall make the determinations required by the statute and shall also determine:

  • The degree of impairment of any officer determined to be disabled; and
  • Whether the disability arose in the line of duty (as defined in the statute).

The impairment standards contained in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ Schedule for Rating Disabilities in effect at the time the application for disability benefits is filed with the board of trustees shall be used to determine the degree of impairment.

Any participant who becomes permanently or temporarily disabled from performing all suitable and available work on the force for which he or she is or may be capable of becoming qualified, considering reasonable accommodation to the extent required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, shall be entitled (as determined by the Board of Trustees of INPRS, or its designee) to disability benefits in the amount provided by this retirement plan.

Disability benefits may not be provided for any disability:

  • Resulting from an intentionally self-inflicted injury or attempted suicide while sane or insane.
  • Resulting from the member’s commission or attempted commission of a felony.
  • That begins within two years after a member’s entry or re-entry into active service on the force and which was caused or contributed to by a mental or physical condition, which manifested itself before the member entered or re-entered active service.

A participant whose disability arose in the line of duty is entitled to a monthly benefit equal to the participant’s monthly salary on the date of disability multiplied by the degree of impairment (expressed as a percentage impairment of the person as a whole). However, the monthly benefit must be at least:

  • Twenty percent (20%) of the participant’s monthly salary on the date of the disability if the participant has more than five years of service, or
  • Ten percent (10%) of the participant’s monthly salary on the date of the disability if the participant has five or fewer years of service.

A disability is to be considered to have arisen in the line of duty if the disability is the direct result of:

  • A personal injury that occurs while the participant is on duty.
  • A personal injury that occurs while the participant is off duty and responding to an offense or an emergency, or a reported offense or emergency.
  • If the disability is a result of an exposure risk disease that is presumed under state law (IC 5-10-13) to have been incurred in the line of duty.

A participant whose disability did not arise in the line of duty is entitled to a monthly benefit equal to one-half of the participant’s monthly salary on the date of disability multiplied by the degree of impairment (expressed as a percentage of the person as a whole). However, the monthly benefit must be at least:

  • Ten percent (10%) of the participant’s monthly salary on the date of the disability if the participant has more than five years of service, or
  • Five percent (5%) of the participant’s monthly salary on the date of the disability if the participant has five or fewer years of service.

Survivor Benefits

If you die after accruing fifteen (15) or more years of creditable service under the plan, your nominated beneficiary is entitled to receive survivor benefits. You may designate any one of the following individuals as your beneficiary:

  • Your spouse
  • Your unmarried child or children under the age of eighteen (18)
  • Your surviving parent

If you nominated your spouse as your beneficiary, he or she would be entitled to a monthly survivor benefit for life. This benefit would be equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount that you would have received at your retirement under the plan. If your spouse is more than five years younger than you, the amount of the spousal survivor benefit is actuarially reduced.

If you nominated an unmarried child under age eighteen (18) to receive your survivor benefits, that child would be entitled to a monthly survivor benefit until he or she reaches age 18 or marries, whichever occurs first. This benefit would be equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount that you would have received at your retirement under the plan.

If you name more than one child to receive your survivor benefits, the benefit will be divided equally between or among all of the designated children. Benefits will cease at the time that a child becomes age eighteen (18) or is married, and the survivor benefit will then be divided equally between or among the remaining children who are still eligible for benefits.

If you designated your surviving mother or father as your beneficiary, the parent would be entitled to a monthly survivor benefit for life. This benefit would be equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount that you would have received at your retirement under the plan.

In the event that no one is nominated to receive your survivor benefits, or those nominated predecease you, your estate will receive a lump sum payment of your contributions and accrued interest.

If a retired member and his or her beneficiary die prior to recovering contributions plus interest, there is no lump sum payment of your contributions and interest to the estate of the last beneficiary.

You can log in to the enhanced PERF Online to manage your personal and pension benefit information. You will need your Social Security number (SSN) and passcode to get started. If you do not have your SSN or passcode, call our office at (888) 526-1687.

Distributions

If you have less than fifteen (15) years of service when you terminate employment or you became a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have less than ten (10) years of service, you are not eligible for retirement benefits under the State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan. You would then have three options as to how you can handle your account with the plan.

Option Number 1

If you terminate service before accruing fifteen (15) years of service and become a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF), you may transfer creditable service from the plan to PERF. If you transfer your account and service credit to PERF, you will be eligible for PERF retirement benefits when you:

  • Are age sixty-five (65) and
  • Have ten (10) or more years of creditable service.

If you are not vested and elect to withdraw your contribution account, you will permanently forfeit the service and the right to transfer this service to the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Option Number 2

Leave your member account balance with the State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan. If you leave your contributions with the plan, you will receive the same interest-crediting rate that is paid under the PERF Guaranteed Fund option.

Option Number 3

Receive a distribution of your account with the State Excise Police, Gaming Agent, Gaming Control Officer and Conservation Enforcement Officers’ Retirement Plan. (See the Distribution of Member Contributions section below.)

If your employment is terminated before you accumulate fifteen (15) years of creditable service and attain the age of forty-five (45), or you became a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have less than ten (10) years of service, you are entitled to a lump sum distribution of all your contributions and accrued interest. However, if you transfer to another position with the state of Indiana, you are not eligible for a distribution of your member account at that time due to IRS regulations. You will only receive a distribution of your account (your contributions and accrued interest) when you have separated from service with the state of Indiana.

When you elect a distribution, your account would receive any eligible interest credit as provided under the laws in effect at the time of the distribution.

When you become vested with at least fifteen (15) years of service, or if you became a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have at least ten (10) years of service, there is no member account because that account will be part of the funding for your future retirement benefit. You are not eligible to elect a distribution once you have accrued fifteen (15) years of creditable service, or if you became a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have accrued ten (10) years or more of creditable service.

If you die before accumulating fifteen (15) years of creditable service and have no named beneficiary, your contributions and accumulated interest will be paid to your estate.

You will not receive a distribution of the employer contributions under any circumstances. These employer contributions fund your benefits if you become eligible for retirement or disability.

If you terminate employment after accumulating fifteen (15) years of creditable service but are not eligible for benefits, you will not be entitled to receive a distribution of your contributions and interest. You will be entitled to apply for early retirement benefits after reaching age forty-five (45) or normal retirement benefits, either upon reaching age sixty (60), or upon meeting the requirements of IC 5-10-5.5-11. If you became a participant in the retirement plan after age fifty (50) and have accrued ten years (10) or more of creditable service, you are entitled to apply for retirement upon separation of employment.

Distribution of Member Contributions

If you are eligible for a distribution under the plan, you can withdraw your member contributions and accumulated interest. You may elect to have the distribution paid directly to you, or you may direct the plan to make a direct rollover of the distribution amount.

Income Tax Consequences

Payment Directly to You
If you elect to withdraw your member contributions and you do not make a direct rollover of the distribution, it is subject to a mandatory twenty percent (20%) federal income tax withholding on the taxable portion (state tax withholding may also apply). The payment is taxed in the year you receive it unless, within sixty (60) days, you roll it over to a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or an eligible employer plan that accepts rollovers. If you receive a distribution of your member contributions before you reach age fifty-five (55) and you do not roll it over, then, in addition to the regular income tax, you may have to pay an early distribution tax penalty equal to ten percent (10%) of the taxable portion of the payment. The early distribution tax penalty equal to ten percent (10%) does not apply to a distribution from a governmental defined benefit plan made to a qualified public safety employee who separates from service after reaching age fifty (50). To initiate a request for a distribution, you can log in to your PERF Online account. You may also call (888) 526-1687 to initiate a distribution request by phone with a customer service representative.

Direct Rollover
A direct rollover is a direct payment of some or all of the amount of your distribution of your member contributions to a traditional IRA or an eligible employer plan (such as a 403(b) tax sheltered annuity, a 457 deferred compensation plan), or a 401(a) qualified plan that will accept it. You can choose a direct rollover of all or any portion of your payment that is an eligible rollover distribution. You are not taxed on any taxable portion of your payment for which you choose a direct rollover until you elect a distribution from that plan. In addition, there is no income tax withholding on the amount you roll over. To initiate a request for a distribution, you can log in to your PERF Online account. You may also call (888) 526-1687 to initiate a distribution request by phone with a customer service representative.

Retirement Benefits

When you retire, you will be taxed on all of your benefit payments when they are received, except a portion attributable to your "tax basis" (the amount of your four percent (4%) member contributions that you were taxed on when the contributions were paid to the plan). A portion of your non-taxable amount will be recovered from each benefit payment over a pre-determined number of payments based on your age at the time your benefits start. This schedule is set by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Once all non-taxable amounts have been excluded from your benefit payments, one hundred percent (100%) of all remaining benefit payments will be included as taxable income. The plan will report to you each year on a form 1099-R the taxable and non-taxable (if any) portion of your benefits.

Tax Withholding

The plan is required to withhold income taxes on distributions. It is also required to withhold taxes on monthly payments unless you elect not to have taxes withheld. When applying for the benefits, make sure you complete the tax withholding forms.

CAUTION:  You should consult the trustee of your qualified plan or IRA or your professional tax advisor if you need further information regarding the taxes on your distribution.

The Administrative Review Process

Appeals of the State Excise and Conservation Plan initial determination will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge in compliance with the Indiana Administrative Orders and Procedures Act IC 4-21.5.

You must have standing as a party or a right to intervention to request administrative review. The steps of administrative review are http://www.in.gov/inprs/adminreview.htm.

The appeal process will allow for additional evidence to be presented by all parties. The Administrative Law Judge will submit findings to INPRS. INPRS will review the findings of the Administrative Law Judge and issue a final determination.

All parties will be advised of the final determination.


Every attempt has been made to verify that the information in this handbook is correct and up-to-date. Published content does not constitute legal advice. If a conflict arises between information contained in this publication and the law, the applicable law shall apply.