Currently, an active member of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) who is a war veteran is eligible for up to five years of service credit for overseas deployments. An unintentional loophole in Oklahoma statutes, however, did not extend this benefit to certain veterans of the Vietnam or Gulf Wars.
Senate Bill 616, by Sen. John Sparks, addresses the problem ensuring these veterans get the benefits they deserve.
"The service credit benefit for war veterans is a way for our state to thank those brave men and women for their selfless service and sacrifice to their country in times of war," said Sparks, D-Norman. "This was a matter of simple oversight in statute language that wasn't brought to the legislature's attention until this year. My bill will ensure our Vietnam and Gulf War veterans get the benefits they rightfully earned and deserve.”
Retirement credit will be extended for certain military service for eligible members who joined OPERS prior to July 1, 2000, and their military service was earned before joining OPERS.
SB 616 will next be heard in a House committee.