Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 9. Management of Benefit Payments

Execution Or Withholding For Support Obligation -- Rulemaking

19-2-909. Execution or withholding for support obligation -- rulemaking. (1) Benefits in the retirement systems or plans provided for in chapters 3, 5 through 9, 13, and 17 are subject to execution and income withholding for the payment of a participant's support obligation.

(2) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(a) "Execution" means a warrant for distraint issued or a writ of execution obtained by the department of public health and human services when providing support enforcement services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

(b) "Income withholding" means an income-withholding order issued under the provisions of Title 40, chapter 5, part 3 or 4, or an income-withholding order issued in another state as provided in 40-5-1046 through 40-5-1051.

(c) "Participant" means an identified person who is a member or an actual or potential beneficiary, survivor, or contingent annuitant of a retirement system or plan designated pursuant to Title 19, chapter 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, or 17.

(d) "Support obligation" has the meaning provided in 40-5-403 for a support order.

(3) The execution or income-withholding order may not require:

(a) a type or form of benefit, option, or payment not available to the affected participant under the appropriate retirement system or plan; or

(b) an amount or duration of payment greater than that available to a participant under the appropriate retirement system or plan.

(4) An execution or income-withholding order applied to a defined benefit retirement plan may provide for payment only as follows:

(a) Retirement benefit payments or refunds may be apportioned by directing payment of a percentage of the amount payable or payment of a fixed amount of no more than the amount payable to the participant.

(b) The maximum amount of disability or survivorship benefits that may be paid under this section is the monthly benefit amount that would have been payable on the date of termination of service if the member had retired without disability or death. The maximum amount paid may be zero, depending on the member's age and service credit at the time of disability or death.

(c) Retirement benefit adjustments for which a participant is eligible after retirement may be apportioned only if existing benefit payments are apportioned. The adjustments must be apportioned in the same ratio as existing benefit payments.

(5) With respect to a defined contribution plan, an execution or income-withholding order may provide for payment to an alternate payee only as follows:

(a) The vested account of the participant may be apportioned by directing payment of either a percentage or a fixed amount. The total amount paid may not exceed the amount in the participant's vested account. The alternate payee may receive the payment only as a direct payment, rollover, or transfer. A new account may be established for an alternate payee, but money in the account must be totally disbursed to the alternate payee as soon as feasible upon the participant's termination of service or death.

(b) If the participant is receiving periodic payments or an annuity provided under the plan, those payments may be apportioned as a percentage of the amount payable to the participant. Payments to the alternate payee may be limited to a specific amount each month if the number of payments is specified. Payments may not total more than the amount payable to the payee.

(6) The duration of monthly or other periodic payments paid from a defined benefit or defined contribution plan participant to an alternate payee may not exceed the lifetime of the appropriate participant. The duration of the monthly payments may be further limited only to a specified maximum time, the life of the alternate payee, or the life of another specified participant. The alternate payee's rights and interests survive the alternate payee's death and may be transferred by inheritance.

(7) The board shall adopt rules to provide for the administration of execution or income-withholding orders.

History: En. Sec. 14, Ch. 552, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 22, Ch. 471, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 99, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 490, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 429, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 329, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 128, L. 2007.