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(37) What if I terminate my employment before I am vested in the Pension Plan?
If you have not vested before you terminate, you are not eligible for a benefit under the FRS Pension Plan. However, the service credit you earned is not lost and will be combined with any future service credit you may earn in covered employment in the future.

You are always fully vested in your own contributions and will be entitled to a refund of these contributions (3 calendar months after termination). However, taking such a refund may not be a sound financial decision because you will have to return to FRS-covered employment and earn one year of service credit to be able to purchase the refunded service and restore all service associated with the refund.


(39) What is normal retirement?
Normal retirement occurs when you retire with full (unreduced) benefits based on your age and/or length of service, as follows:

If you have FRS service prior to July 1, 2011:
  • Regular, Senior Management Service, Elected Officers', and Special Risk Administrative Support Classes - age 62 with 6 years of service or 30 years regardless of age; and
  • Special Risk Class - age 55 with 6 years of Special Risk Class service, or 25 years of Special Risk Class service regardless of age, or age 52 with 25 years of combined Special Risk Class service and military service).


If you first joined the FRS on or after July 1, 2011:
  • Regular, Senior Management Service, Elected Officers', and Special Risk Administrative Support Classes - Age 65 with 8 years of service or 33 years of service regardless of age.
  • Special Risk Class - Age 60 with 8 years of Special Risk Class service, or 30 years of Special Risk Class service regardless of age, or age 57 with 30 years of combined Special Risk Class service and military service.



(2058) What makes up the years of creditable service?
"Years of creditable service" means the total of all years and parts of years you worked in a retirement-covered position with an FRS employer. It also includes any additional service credit that you purchase before you retire or enter the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).


(70) What is the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)?
The DROP is a Pension Plan program under which you may retire and have your monthly retirement benefits remain in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Trust Fund instead of being paid directly to you or deposited in your bank. Your benefits will earn interest for you, tax deferred, for as long as you participate in the DROP. In the meantime you continue to work for your FRS employer for a specified and limited period up to the date you pre-selected to stop participation in DROP. When the DROP period ends, you must terminate employment. At that time, you will receive payment of the accumulated DROP benefits, and begin receiving your FRS monthly retirement benefit (in the same amount as determined at retirement, plus annual cost-of-living increases).


(72) When can I begin the DROP?
You can begin the DROP when you are vested and have reached your normal retirement date, as follows:

If you have FRS service prior to July 1, 2011:
Your normal retirement date is either when you are vested (6 years) and reach age 62, or when you complete 30 years of service, whichever comes first. If you become vested after age 62, your normal retirement date is the month following the month you reach 6 years of service. For Special Risk Class members, your normal retirement date is when you have at least 6 years of Special Risk Class service and are age 55, or 25 years of Special Risk Class service, whichever comes first; or age 52 and a total of 25 years of service including Special Risk Class service and active duty wartime military service. If you reach 6 years of Special Risk Class service after age 55, your normal retirement date is the month following the month you reached 6 years of Special Risk Class service.

If you first joined the FRS on or after July 1, 2011:
Your normal retirement date is either when you are vested (8 years) and reach age 65, or when you complete 33 years of service, whichever comes first. If you become vested after age 65, your normal retirement date is the month following the month you reach 8 years of service. For Special Risk Class members, your normal retirement date is when you have at least 8 years of Special Risk Class service and are age 60, or 30 years of Special Risk Class service, whichever comes first; or age 57 and a total of 30 years of service including Special Risk Class service and active duty wartime military service. If you reach 8 years of Special Risk Class service after age 60, your normal retirement date is the month following the month you reached 8 years of Special Risk Class service.


(73) Can I defer starting DROP?
You must elect DROP participation within 12 months after you first reach your normal retirement date unless you are eligible to defer as follows: *

If you have FRS service prior to July 1, 2011:
If you complete 30 years of service before age 57, you may defer DROP and elect to begin participation at any time between completing 30 years and reaching age 57. Special Risk members who complete 25 years of Special Risk service before age 52 may defer to age 52.

If you first joined the FRS on or after July 1, 2011:
If you complete 33 years of service before age 57, you may defer DROP and elect to begin participation at any time between completing 33 years and reaching age 57. Special Risk members who complete 30 years of Special Risk service before age 52 may defer to age 52.

* Elected officers who reach normal retirement while holding an elected office, may defer DROP until their next succeeding term of office and may participate for the lesser of 5 years or the length of that term. Members in Instructional positions defined by s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d), F.S., may begin DROP at any time after reaching normal retirement.


(101) If I use my one-time 2nd election to switch retirement plans and later terminate employment, can I get 100% of my employee contributions?
You are entitled to a refund or distribution of your employee contributions so long as you remain in your current retirement plan, as follows:
  • If you terminate employment from the Pension Plan, you are entitled to receive a refund of any employee contributions (without interest) paid while you were a member of the Pension Plan. You may repay the refund with interest by returning to FRS-covered employment for 1 year. A refund under the Pension Plan is not a retiring event.
  • If you terminate employment from the Investment Plan, you are entitled to receive a distribution of any employee contributions plus earnings paid while you were a member of the Investment Plan. If you take any distribution from the Investment Plan, you will be considered a retiree and not entitled to future FRS membership.
If you use your 2nd election to switch retirement plans, you will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
  • Transfer from Pension Plan to Investment Plan – A Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit will be calculated and transferred to the Investment Plan as your opening account balance. The Present Value calculation is an actuarial determination of your service credit; it is not the total of any employee or employer contributions paid into the Pension Plan.
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years) you will only be entitled to receive a distribution of:
      • If you have less than 1 year of total service, your employee contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan, or
      • If you have more than 1 year of total service, your employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan.
    • If you terminate employment after meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (6 years or more of total Pension Plan and Investment Plan service) you will be entitled to receive a distribution of your opening account balance (the Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit), and the employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid into the Investment Plan after the transfer.
    Note: Your Investment Plan quarterly statement and online account will only reflect employee contributions paid into your account after your transfer. The transferred Present Value will show under “DB Plan Transfer.”
  • Transfer from Investment Plan to Pension Plan – You will buy-in to the Pension Plan using the balance in your Investment Plan account (and any additional personal funds, if applicable).
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years of service) you will only be entitled to receive a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after your transfer.
    • If you terminate employment after becoming vested in the Pension Plan (6 years or more) you will be entitled to receive:
      • a lifetime monthly benefit from the Pension Plan, or
      • a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after the transfer
If you have any questions on the benefits you are entitled to after making a 2nd election, please contact the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 1-866-446-9377, Option 2.


(101) If I use my one-time 2nd election to switch retirement plans and later terminate employment, can I get 100% of my employee contributions?
You are entitled to a refund or distribution of your employee contributions so long as you remain in your current retirement plan, as follows:
  • If you terminate employment from the Pension Plan, you are entitled to receive a refund of any employee contributions (without interest) paid while you were a member of the Pension Plan. You may repay the refund with interest by returning to FRS-covered employment for 1 year. A refund under the Pension Plan is not a retiring event.
  • If you terminate employment from the Investment Plan, you are entitled to receive a distribution of any employee contributions plus earnings paid while you were a member of the Investment Plan. If you take any distribution from the Investment Plan, you will be considered a retiree and not entitled to future FRS membership.

If you use your 2nd election to switch retirement plans, you will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
  • Transfer from Pension Plan to Investment Plan – A Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit will be calculated and transferred to the Investment Plan as your opening account balance. The Present Value calculation is an actuarial determination of your service credit; it is not the total of any employee or employer contributions paid into the Pension Plan.
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years) you will only be entitled to receive a distribution of:
      • If you have less than 1 year of total service, your employee contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan, or
      • If you have more than 1 year of total service, your employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan.
    • If you terminate employment after meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (6 years or more of total Pension Plan and Investment Plan service) you will be entitled to receive a distribution of your opening account balance (the Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit), and the employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid into the Investment Plan after the transfer.
    Note: Your Investment Plan quarterly statement and online account will only reflect employee contributions paid into your account after your transfer. The transferred Present Value will show under “DB Plan Transfer.”
  • Transfer from Investment Plan to Pension Plan – You will buy-in to the Pension Plan using the balance in your Investment Plan account (and any additional personal funds, if applicable).
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years of service) you will only be entitled to receive a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after your transfer.
    • If you terminate employment after becoming vested in the Pension Plan (6 years or more) you will be entitled to receive:
      • a lifetime monthly benefit from the Pension Plan, or
      • a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after the transfer
If you have any questions on the benefits you are entitled to after making a 2nd election, please contact the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 1-866-446-9377, Option 2.



(101)
You are entitled to a refund or distribution of your employee contributions so long as you remain in your current retirement plan, as follows:
  • If you terminate employment from the Pension Plan, you are entitled to receive a refund of any employee contributions (without interest) paid while you were a member of the Pension Plan. You may repay the refund with interest by returning to FRS-covered employment for 1 year. A refund under the Pension Plan is not a retiring event.
  • If you terminate employment from the Investment Plan, you are entitled to receive a distribution of any employee contributions plus earnings paid while you were a member of the Investment Plan. If you take any distribution from the Investment Plan, you will be considered a retiree and not entitled to future FRS membership.

If you use your 2nd election to switch retirement plans, you will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
  • Transfer from Pension Plan to Investment Plan – A Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit will be calculated and transferred to the Investment Plan as your opening account balance. The Present Value calculation is an actuarial determination of your service credit; it is not the total of any employee or employer contributions paid into the Pension Plan.
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years) you will only be entitled to receive a distribution of:
      • If you have less than 1 year of total service, your employee contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan, or
      • If you have more than 1 year of total service, your employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan.
    • If you terminate employment after meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (6 years or more of total Pension Plan and Investment Plan service) you will be entitled to receive a distribution of your opening account balance (the Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit), and the employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid into the Investment Plan after the transfer.
    Note: Your Investment Plan quarterly statement and online account will only reflect employee contributions paid into your account after your transfer. The transferred Present Value will show under “DB Plan Transfer.”
  • Transfer from Investment Plan to Pension Plan – You will buy-in to the Pension Plan using the balance in your Investment Plan account (and any additional personal funds, if applicable).
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years of service) you will only be entitled to receive a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after your transfer.
    • If you terminate employment after becoming vested in the Pension Plan (6 years or more) you will be entitled to receive:
      • a lifetime monthly benefit from the Pension Plan, or
      • a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after the transfer
If you have any questions on the benefits you are entitled to after making a 2nd election, please contact the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 1-866-446-9377, Option 2.



(101) If I use my one-time 2nd election to switch retirement plans and later terminate employment, can I get 100% of my employee contributions?
You are entitled to a refund or distribution of your employee contributions so long as you remain in your current retirement plan, as follows:
  • If you terminate employment from the Pension Plan, you are entitled to receive a refund of any employee contributions (without interest) paid while you were a member of the Pension Plan. You may repay the refund with interest by returning to FRS-covered employment for 1 year. A refund under the Pension Plan is not a retiring event.
  • If you terminate employment from the Investment Plan, you are entitled to receive a distribution of any employee contributions plus earnings paid while you were a member of the Investment Plan. If you take any distribution from the Investment Plan, you will be considered a retiree and not entitled to future FRS membership.

If you use your 2nd election to switch retirement plans, you will be entitled to receive the following benefits:
  • Transfer from Pension Plan to Investment Plan – A Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit will be calculated and transferred to the Investment Plan as your opening account balance. The Present Value calculation is an actuarial determination of your service credit; it is not the total of any employee or employer contributions paid into the Pension Plan.
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years) you will only be entitled to receive a distribution of:
      • If you have less than 1 year of total service, your employee contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan, or
      • If you have more than 1 year of total service, your employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid after your transfer to the Investment Plan.
    • If you terminate employment after meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (6 years or more of total Pension Plan and Investment Plan service) you will be entitled to receive a distribution of your opening account balance (the Present Value of your Pension Plan benefit), and the employee and employer contributions plus earnings paid into the Investment Plan after the transfer.
    Note: Your Investment Plan quarterly statement and online account will only reflect employee contributions paid into your account after your transfer. The transferred Present Value will show under “DB Plan Transfer.”
  • Transfer from Investment Plan to Pension Plan – You will buy-in to the Pension Plan using the balance in your Investment Plan account (and any additional personal funds, if applicable).
    • If you terminate employment prior to meeting the Pension Plan vesting requirements (less than 6 years of service) you will only be entitled to receive a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after your transfer.
    • If you terminate employment after becoming vested in the Pension Plan (6 years or more) you will be entitled to receive:
      • a lifetime monthly benefit from the Pension Plan, or
      • a refund of your employee contributions (without interest) paid into the Pension Plan after the transfer
If you have any questions on the benefits you are entitled to after making a 2nd election, please contact the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at 1-866-446-9377, Option 2.