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(1) Exempted from levy, sale, etc.; City offset. Except as otherwise provided in this Section or in the Tax Code, the right of a person to benefits, the return of contributions or any benefit or right accrued or accruing to any persons under the provisions of this Title, and the moneys in the funds of the Retirement System, are hereby exempt from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, execution, sequestration or any other process whatsoever, except that the City shall have the authority to assert or offset any claim of the City against such person and the rights or benefits arising from membership under this Title.
(2) Designated payees. The Director of Finance is authorized, when directed in writing by any member, survivor or beneficiary, to pay from that person's benefits, such sum or sums as that person may authorize to any designated payee or representative thereof among the following organizations:
(a) Associated Hospital Service of Philadelphia (Blue Cross and Blue Shield);
(b) Internal Revenue Service;
(c) Municipal Workers' Union - District Council 33;
(d) Philadelphia City Employees' Federal Credit Union;
(e) Philadelphia Lodge No. 5, Fraternal Order of Police;
(f) Police Beneficiary Association of Philadelphia;
(g) Policemen, Firemen and Park Guard Federal Credit Union;
(h) Police and Firemen's Medical Association;
(i) City Fire Fighters Association;
(j) Philadelphia Fire Department Relief Association;
(k) Philadelphia Police Widow's Pension Fund;
(l) The Guardian Civic League, Inc.;
(m) District Council 33 Health and Welfare Fund;
(n) Health Maintenance Organizations;
(o) The Golden Age Club;
(p) APTA 47 Health and Welfare;
(q) Custodes Pacis Lodge No. 2085;
(r) Philadelphia Emerald Society;
(s) Law Enforcement Health Benefits;
(t) Retired Fire Fighters' Association of Philadelphia;
(u) German American Police Association; 187
(v) Local 22 Fire Political Action Committee (FIREPAC); 188
(w) AFSCME PEOPLE PAC Qualified Committee. 189
(3) Authorization for deductions. Authorization for deductions from retirement benefits payments shall be made in writing by the person entitled to such payments from the Retirement System upon forms prescribed and furnished by the Director of Finance. Any authorized deductions shall be made at such time and in such manner as the Director of Finance may establish. Authorization for deductions from retirement benefit payments may be revoked in writing by the authorizing person in such manner as the Director of Finance may establish. Any sum or sums withheld by the Director of Finance and not paid over to the designated payee before the effectiveness of the revocation shall be refunded to the person entitled to such sums.
(4) City to be held harmless. The designated payee of such deductions shall have no right to nor interest in any sums so deducted and withheld nor any right to claim the same or any part thereof until the sums deducted are actually paid over to the designated payee, nor shall the City be liable to any member for any mistake in the amount deducted and withheld.
(5) Domestic relations orders in general. A domestic relations order authorizing the payment of benefits to a child or former spouse of a member shall be accepted by the executive director of the Board, or by the executive director's designated representative, as an approved domestic relations order if such order meets all of the following:
(a) does not require the Retirement System to provide any type or form of benefit or any options not already provided under this Title;
(b) requires the Retirement System to provide no more than the total amount of benefits that the member would otherwise receive (determined on the basis of actuarial values) unless increased benefits are paid to the member or alternate payee based upon cost-of-living increases or increases based on other than actuarial value;
(c) specifies the amount or percentage of the member's benefits to be paid by the Retirement System to each such alternate payee or the manner in which the amount or percentage is to be determined;
(d) specifies the retirement option to be selected by the member upon retirement or states that the member may select any retirement option offered by this Title upon retirement;
(e) specifies the name and last known mailing address, if any, of the member and the name and last known mailing address of each alternate payee covered by the order and states that it is the responsibility of each alternate payee to keep a current mailing address on file with the Retirement System;
(f) does not grant an alternate payee any of the rights, options or privileges of a member under this Title; and
(g) requires the member to execute an authorization allowing each alternate payee to monitor the member's compliance with the terms of the domestic relations order through access to information concerning the member maintained by the Retirement System.
(6) Approval of domestic relations order. Within a reasonable period of time after receipt of a domestic relations order, the executive director of the Board, or the executive director's designated representative, shall determine whether the order is an approved domestic relations order and notify the member and each alternate payee of this determination. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the exclusive remedy of any member or alternate payee aggrieved by a decision of the executive director of the Board, or the director's designated representative, shall be the right to an adjudication by the Board pursuant to Section 22-1202 (Hearings and Appeals).
(7) Exceptions. The requirements and conditions for the acceptance of a domestic relations order as set forth in subsection (5) shall not apply to any domestic relations order which is an order for support as that term is defined in 23 Pa. C.S. § 4302 (relating to definitions) or an order for the enforcement of arrearages as provided in 23 Pa. C.S. § 3703 (relating to enforcement of arrearages). These orders shall be accepted to the extent that they do not attach moneys in excess of the limits on attachments as established by the laws of this Commonwealth and the United States.
(8) Irrevocable beneficiary. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Title, a domestic relations order may provide for an irrevocable beneficiary. A domestic relations order requiring the nomination of an irrevocable beneficiary shall be deemed to be one that requires a member to nominate an alternate payee as a beneficiary and that prohibits the removal or change of that beneficiary without approval of a court of competent jurisdiction, except by operation of law. Such a domestic relations order may be certified as an approved domestic relations order by the executive director of the Board, or the director's designated representative, after the member makes such nomination, in which case the irrevocable beneficiary so ordered by the court cannot be changed by the member without approval by the court.
(9) Irrevocable survivor. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Title, a domestic relations order may provide for an irrevocable survivor. A domestic relations order requiring the designation of an irrevocable survivor shall be deemed to be one that requires a member to designate an alternate payee as a survivor and that prohibits the removal or change of that survivor without approval of a court of competent jurisdiction, except by operation of law. Such a domestic relations order may be certified as an approved domestic relations order by the executive director of the Board, or the executive director's designated representative, in which case the irrevocable survivor so ordered by the court cannot be changed by the member without approval by the court.
(10) Ineligible designations of beneficiary or survivor; exception. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (8) and (9) of this Section 22-1303, a person ineligible to be designated as a survivor may not be designated an irrevocable survivor and a person ineligible to be designated as a beneficiary may not be designated an irrevocable beneficiary, except that a former spouse named as either an irrevocable beneficiary or an irrevocable survivor in a domestic relations order shall be deemed to be a "person whom the member is legally obligated to support" for purposes of Section 22-501 (Service-Connected Death and Health Care Benefits), Section 22-502 (Ordinary Death Benefits), Section 22-701 (Designation of Beneficiaries) and Section 22-702 (Designation of Survivors).
(11) Designation of survivor by domestic relations order; prohibition. Although the designation of a survivor pursuant to Section 22-306 (Retirement and Survivorship Benefit Options) is irrevocable (unless made in accordance with Section 22-702 (Designation of Survivors)), the Board may implement the provisions of a domestic relations order requiring a member to designate a former spouse or a child of the member as a survivor under Option 1, Option 2 or Option 3 of Section 22-306 (Retirement and Survivorship Benefit Options). In no event shall the Board recognize the designation of any survivor not otherwise qualified as a survivor under Option 4 of Section 22-306.
(12) Amendment of approved domestic relations orders.
(a) Deceased alternate payee. If the alternate payee predeceases the member and benefits are payable to the alternate payee, the divorce court may amend the approved domestic relations order to substitute a person for the deceased alternate payee to receive any benefits payable to the deceased alternate payee.
(b) Recertification of amended order. If a divorce court amends the approved domestic relations order for any reason, then the amended order must be submitted for reconsideration as an approved domestic relations order as set forth in this Title.
Added, Bill No. 000122 (approved April 11, 2000).
Added, Bill No. 060627 (approved November 16, 2006).