Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 3. Eligibility, Membership, and Vesting

Active Membership -- Inactive Vested Member -- Inactive Nonvested Member

19-13-301. Active membership -- inactive vested member -- inactive nonvested member. (1) A full-paid firefighter becomes an active member of the retirement system:

(a) on the first day of the firefighter's service with an employer;

(b) on July 1, 1981, if the firefighter is employed by an employer on that date; or

(c) in the case of an employer who elects to join the retirement system, as provided in 19-13-211, on the effective date of the election if the firefighter is employed by the employer on that date.

(2) Upon becoming eligible for membership, the firefighter shall complete the forms and furnish any proof required by the board.

(3) A part-paid firefighter may elect to become a member of the retirement system by filing an irrevocable written election with the board within 90 days of becoming a part-paid firefighter.

(4) An active member becomes an inactive member upon the occurrence of the earliest of the following:

(a) the date on which the member ceases service with an employer;

(b) the 31st day of an approved absence from active duty with an employer; or

(c) the date on which the member ceases to be employed because of a reduction of the number of firefighters in the fire department as provided in 7-33-4125.

(5) (a) An inactive member with at least 5 years of membership service is an inactive vested member and retains the right to purchase service credit and to receive a retirement benefit under the provisions of this chapter.

(b) If an inactive vested member chooses to take a lump-sum payment rather than a retirement benefit, the lump-sum payment consists of only the member's accumulated contributions and not the employer's contributions.

(6) (a) An inactive member with less than 5 years of membership service is an inactive nonvested member and is not eligible for any benefits from the retirement system.

(b) An inactive nonvested member is eligible only for a refund of the member's accumulated contributions.

History: En. Sec. 14, Ch. 566, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 212, Ch. 265, L. 1993; amd. Secs. 1, 2, Ch. 254, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 457, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 109, Ch. 99, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 106, Ch. 429, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 64, Ch. 329, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 299, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 23, Ch. 284, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 36, Ch. 99, L. 2011.