The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico’s Executive Director Natalie Jaresko met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, Maite D. Oronoz, to address the Chief Justice’s concerns related to the treatment of the Judiciary Retirement System (JRS) in the proposed Plan of Adjustment for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Jaresko clarified that acting judges will accumulate benefits under a defined contribution plan and will keep at least a portion of their accrued retirement benefits from the defined benefit system. In addition, the Plan of Adjustment proposes that judges will gain access to Social Security benefits depending on a judge's age. Under the current system, judges do not accumulate Social Security benefits.
"We recognize that judicial independence is aided by the judges’ financial security as they
consider whether and when to retire,” Jaresko said in a statement. “We hope this provides clarity and reassurance regarding the treatment of JRS retirement benefits."
The Oversight Board also met with staff from the Office of Court Administration to clarify that judges’ pensions will not be affected before the Plan of Adjustment is confirmed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and becomes effective. Given the ongoing process, the Oversight Board does not expect this to happen until sometime in 2020. Nothing will change about judges’ pensions on or before Dec. 31, 2019, the FOMB said.