NEW PSOB LEGISLATION EXPANDS DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS
Congress passed legislation significantly expanding and improving Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) for fire fighters who die or are disabled in the line of duty. President Biden signed the bill on November 18. Public Law 117-61 ensures fire fighters and EMS personnel who are permanently disabled in the line of duty receive PSOB benefits even if they are able to work in a job that provides therapeutic benefits to them or involves simple tasks. It extends the line-of-duty presumption for COVID-19 deaths and disabilities for two years. Read More
New IRS Pension Limits for 2022
The IRS announced new pension limits based on the COLA for 2021. These new limits begin on January 1, 2022. Contribution to 457, 401(k)): Increases from $19,500 to $20,500 Maximum annual benefit from a DB plan: Increases from $230,000 to $245,000 Catch-up contributions: No change - $6,500 and an additional $3,500 if over age 50 Read More
Social Security Stabilizes Local Economies
Social Security’s great achievement for retirees is a guarantee that they’ll get a check every month, without fail. Less appreciated is the stability the program brings to local economies and businesses. Retirees use their Social Security benefits to patronize establishments that sell goods and services locally such as restaurants, car repair shops, banks, and hospitals. The stabilizing effect is duplicated by guaranteed monthly income from defined benefit plans, especially those of state and local government retirees. During these downtimes in the economy, retirees still have income and spend money, thus bolstering the local economy. Read More
The City of Fort Lauderdale is the sponsor of the Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System. All Fort Lauderdale sworn police officers and firefighters are eligible to participate in the plan. A seven-member Board of Trustees, who are either elected by the employees or appointed by the Mayor, administers the pension plan. The plan is a defined benefit plan that promises to pay a guaranteed benefit at retirement.
- 793 – Active members
- 1,167 – Retired members and beneficiaries
- 1,930 – TOTAL PLAN PARTICIPANTS
FUNDING Public safety officers contribute 10% of earnings into the pension plan. Members also pay 7.65% of earnings into Social Security and Medicare. Additional revenue to the pension plan comes from the State of Florida insurance premium tax, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and earnings generated on the invested assets. The plan’s investment returns provide 67% of the plan’s funding. Over the past 28 years, the plan had an average total return of 8.75% – greater than the assumed 7.4% rate of return.
BENEFITS Retirement benefits are based on (1) average final earnings, (2) years of service, and (3) a benefit formula. Public safety officers can retire after 20 years of creditable service (or after 10 years at age 55). Overtime and unused leave do not increase retirement benefits. After 20 years of service, public safety officers are eligible to receive a retirement benefit equaling 60% of their monthly earnings. Retirement benefits are not automatically adjusted annually for cost of living changes. Retirees have not received a COLA since 2001.
DISABILITY Service-related disability benefits provided by the plan cannot exceed 65% of current monthly earnings. Non-service benefits cannot exceed 50% of monthly earnings, with reductions for Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, or other earned income. The Fort Lauderdale Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System was established by City Ordinance and became effective January 3, 1973. As of 9-30-2019, the pension fund assets totaled $927 million.
For more information, see the Annual Report Newsletter