St. Pete firefighter wins case in fight for cancer benefits
This was the first lawsuit filed in the state over the new law granting benefits to firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer. Lt. Jason Francis with St. Petersburg Fire won his case against the City of St. Petersburg. He worked for the city's fire department for more than 16 years. He was diagnosed with cancer in January 2019. The city denied his requests for benefits because he was diagnosed prior to the law taking effect on July 1. Read More Read More
Retired detective says he got bad advice from DMS. Now he owes $541,000 in retirement payments
Michael A. Fewless, a 30-year law enforcement veteran with a spotless record, must pay back the $541,000 he received from the state's DROP, lawyers for the state's retirement system said. Fewless said that he got bad advice from David Kent, a retirement specialist with DMS whose job is to answer questions from pension members. DMS said the Department of Management Services, which runs the retirement program, doesn’t have a legal obligation to provide accurate information. Read More Read More
Dutch and Danes have best pensions
The Netherlands and Denmark have the best pension systems in the world, with Ireland trailing just outside the top 10 because its system may be too costly to sustain as the population ages, according to a global study that shines a light on countries’ preparations for ageing populations. The two countries took the top slots in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index, both earning points for the level of financial security provided in retirement. Australia came third, while the top 10 was rounded out with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Chile. Read More 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
- 1,104 – Retired members and beneficiaries
- 1,897 – 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 9-30-2018, the pension fund assets totaled $905 million.