FAQ: Participants

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  • What does vesting mean?

    An employee is vested once they have participated in the General Employees’ Plan for five years. Vesting means that they have earned the right to retirement benefits. If you leave city employment after five years of service, you can leave your contributions in the plan and collect a monthly pension benefit upon eligibility. Police and Firefighter’s are vested once they have participated for ten years.

  • Can a current employee purchase previous city service?

    Eligible participants can purchase prior city service by repaying any refunds plus interest for the time they left until rehired.

  • Can I borrow against my pension?

    No, there are no loan provisions in either Plan.

  • What if I terminate employment before reaching normal retirement?

    If you terminate employment after you are vested, but before you are eligible for normal retirement, you may choose to retire early, defer receiving your monthly retirement benefit or request a refund of your contributions.

  • If I leave the city, how do I get my contributions refunded?

    Paperwork will be generated upon your departure. You will receive a package to sign and return. It is usually 4-6 weeks after your final paycheck is issued. You will be given the choice of rolling your money over to another qualified plan without any tax implications or cashing out and paying 20% in federal taxes.

  • Can I purchase military time?

    Yes, you may purchase up to three years of active duty military service after the completion of five years credited service. You are responsible for the full cost of all Actuarial calculations performed. The necessary forms for completion are available for printing under the Forms section on this website.

  • How is the pension administered?

    The Plans are governed by a Board of Trustees who has a responsibility under Florida law for stewardship of the Plans’ assets. The trustees operate as a public body subject to the Sunshine Law and Florida statutes governing operation of public pension plans.

    Investments are administered in accordance with applicable state statutes and local ordinances and resolutions, which are included in the Plans’ Statement of Investment Policy. (See under Resources on this website.)

  • What happens when an active employee dies?

    If an active employee dies the beneficiary would be entitled to a death benefit for either a service connected or non-service connected death. Please contact the Pension Administrator for more information on this.

  • What would happen if an active member became disabled?

    The employee would be able to file for a disability retirement benefit. The plan requires the applicant be totally and permanently disabled from gainful occupation. The employee would have to apply for a disability retirement through the pension administrator’s office. (This also includes a full medical examination along with approval by the Board of Trustees.

  • Will I have to pay income tax on my disability benefits?

    We recommend that you contact your local Internal Revenue Service office or call the toll-free number (800) 829-1040 for tax information on disability income.

  • I plan on retiring at the end of this fiscal year, what do I have to do and when?

    Please see the Pension Administrator two – three months prior to your retiring. At this time you will receive a rundown of the entire process along with the necessary forms needed for completion. Benefit estimates will be provided illustrating the different options available to you. Please note you will need to furnish proof of your age. I.E. copy of your birth certificate and if married a copy of your marriage certificate.

  • What is Early Retirement?

    If you are vested, but not yet eligible to retire with full unreduced benefits based on your age and/or length of service, you may be able to elect to retire early and receive a reduced lifetime benefit. General Employees’ benefit will be reduced 5% for each year retiring early. Police and Firefighters’ benefit will be reduced 3% for each year retiring early.

  • What is normal retirement?

    For General Employees:

    • Prior to October 5, 2010, age 60 with ten years credited service or thirty year’s credited service regardless of age.
    • Effective October 5, 2010 age 60 with ten years credited service if within 10 years of retirement prior to October 6, 2010 or thirty years credited service regardless of age. One needs to be age 50 or have 20 years credited service on October 5, 2010.
    • Age 62 and ten years credited service if hired prior to October 6, 2010 but not within 10 years of retirement or thirty years credited service regardless of age.
    • Age 65 for all new hires effective October 6, 2010. (Thirty years credited service is not applicable.)

    For Police Officers and Firefighters:

    • Age 55 with at least 10 years of credited service or twenty years of service regardless of age.
  • What is the retirement formula used to determine the amount of my monthly pension benefit?

    For General Employee participants employed on October 6, 2010, and retire or terminate employment on or after October 6, 2010, averaged earnings from the best 3 consecutive years within the last 10 years of employment will be used, times the multiplier of 2.5% (or enhanced multiplier of 3.0%), times years of service.

    For General Employee participants hired on or after October 6, 2010, averaged earnings from the best 5 consecutive years within the last 10 years of employment will be used, times the multiplier of 2.5% (or enhanced multiplier of 3.0%), times years of service.

    For Police Officers and Firefighters averaged earnings from the best 3 consecutive years within the last 10 years of employment, times the multiplier of 3.0% (or enhanced of 3.50%), times years of service.

  • What is the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)?

    DROP is a program under which one may retire while continuing working. Your monthly retirement benefits remain in the ICMA plan instead of being paid directly to you. Your benefits will be invested as you so choose for as long as you participate in the DROP. In the meantime you continue to work as you would normally. When the DROP period ends, you terminate employment and your monthly benefit will then start coming directly to you (or direct deposited into your bank account as you choose).

  • Who is eligible to participate in the DROP?

    One must be fully vested and have reached normal retirement.

  • How long can I participate in the DROP?

    One may participate for a maximum of 60 months. Police Officers and Firefighters must leave the DROP upon their 30th year of employment.

  • Can I change my option while participating in the DROP?

    No, once your participation in the DROP begins, your retirement is final and you cannot change you option.

  • If I get a raise while in the DROP, will that increase my monthly benefit?

    No, once you enter the DROP, your monthly benefit will not change should your wages change.

  • Does enrolling in the DROP require my employer to keep me employed for the participation period that I choose?

    No, your employment status is not changed by the DROP. You may quit or your employer may terminate you in the same manner as before DROP participation.

  • Who is entitled to my DROP benefits if I should die while participating in the DROP?

    Upon completing the necessary documents to participate, you will designate a beneficiary (ies). That beneficiary (ies) will receive any moneys in your DROP account.

  • How do I receive my DROP account money?

    Once you leave City employment from the DROP, you will be responsible for contacting ICMA for any payouts. There are many options; you may request a lump sum payout, partial lump sum, monthly, quarterly, or annual payments. You will set this up with ICMA directly.