National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Virginia

Most public employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia receive retirement benefits from the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). The system administers four pension plans:

  • VRS: Covers all participants who are not public safety personnel or judges;

  • SPORS: Covers state police;

  • VALORS: Covers other law enforcement personnel and correctional officers;

  • JRS: Covers judges.

More than 96 percent of active participants participate in the VRS plan. Additionally, VRS administers life insurance, retiree health insurance, and a disability plan.

Authorizing Statutes

Title 51.1 of the Code of Virginia establishes retirement systems in the state. Chapter 2 creates the State Police Officers' Retirement System; Chapter 2.1 creates the Virginia Law Officers' Retirement System; Chapter 3 creates the Judges Retirement System.

In 2012, the Governor signed a law which included reforms to various provisions of the Virginia Retirement System. In addition to creating a hybrid retirement system for new members, the law made changes to the benefit calculations and cost-of-living adjustments for new and current employees, respectively.

Board Composition

Plan

Board Size

Appointed

Elected

Plan Members

Ex Officio

Virginia Retirement System

9

4

5

4

0

Contributions

Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2014, employer contributions to Virginia government pension plans were 3.47 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

No explicit constitutional protection for public pension benefits, but courts provide limited protection based on impairment of contract principles for fully vested employees who performed all employee obligations. Pitts v. City of Richmond, 366 S.E.2d 56 (Va. 1988)(holding that inchoate rights to retirement benefits do not vest until a member qualifies for retirement). (VA CONST., Article 1, §11) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of Virginia (January 31, 1861)

Population (2016) 8,411,808

Virginia public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2016 ($ in 000s)

Assets

$82,711,198

Active Members

406,682

Annuitants

243,937

Benefits Paid

$5,499,268

Employee Contributions

$1,009,944

Employer Contributions

$3,165,961

Systems

34

More Data

Other Resources