Fire & Rescue Pension News - January 2018

<p>In this Issue: Rosters; Turnaround Documents (TADs); Data Cleanup Continues; Overpayments Now Subject to Pension Offsets; Important Dates</p>

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State law requires rosters to be filed electronically with the FRSWPF by the North Carolina Association of Rescue & EMS (NCAREMS) and the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association (NCSFA) on January 31 of each year. FRSWPF service reported on the rosters is referred to as “roster service.”

To receive credit for one year of roster service, eligible squad members and firefighters must meet all FRSWPF requirements including attending 36 hours of training sessions each year and serving the departments or squads for the entire calendar year.

Each squad and department must certify on their respective rosters the names of the squad members and firefighters meeting the requirements. A new squad member or firefighter who performed less than one year of service during 2017 as a result of beginning service on or after February 2017, who meets all FRSWPF requirements, may be reported on the roster and receive a partial year of FRSWPF service credit.

Each department and squad should submit their roster information to their respective associations by mid-January (or as dictated by their association) to be sure their members are included on the rosters the associations will submit to FRSWPF on January 31, 2018.

If your 2017 rosters are not included in the information electronically uploaded to FRSWPF by the Associations on January 31, 2018, members of your squad or department will not receive roster service for 2017.

Turnaround Documents (TADs)

FRSWPF uses the information reported on the rosters to generate TADs, which are documents that list the names of each certified FRSWPF member currently enrolled under a squad or department. FRSWPF sends TADs to squads and departments in mid-February.

Squads and departments complete the TADs to report information for members who have paid their $10.00 monthly contribution and/or to report the monies a squad or department will be submitting to FRSWPF on behalf of their members. Each squad or department should complete the TAD and return it to our office along with a check for the entire amount reported on the TAD by the March 31, 2018 deadline.

Squads and departments can report FRSWPF contributions to our office monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. However, if contributions are received after the March 31, 2018 deadline, we cannot accept these contributions and cannot grant FRSWPF service credit for 2017 for the members listed on the TAD.

If contributions for 2017 are not received by FRSWPF by March 31, 2018, then credit for 2017 must be purchased. If payment is received after this date, our office will send a letter to the squad or department advising of the process for purchasing the 2017 FRSWPF credit. The squad or department will be given the option either to have their check returned or to have it posted for current year FRSWPF contributions.

Date Cleanup Continues

Members Nearing Retirement Age:

Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund staff continue to perform “data cleanup” to ensure all service data is verified for members nearing retirement age by performing service audits for members age 50 and older.

If you are approaching retirement age (age 55) and you have been told by your department or squad that you have “paid in full” (meaning you have paid in contributions for 240 months), please contact our office to verify that you have 240 months of roster service with the Pension Fund. This step will ensure a
smooth transition when you retire.

Along with the “data cleanup” efforts, our staff is also focusing on identifying members who have not contributed to the Pension Fund within 24 months (considered to have lapsed service) as of May 2017. We reached out to these members with a letter of explanation advising them they have contributions in our system that are available to be refunded directly to them if they do not intend on continuing to serve a fire department or rescue squad.

Since May 2017, more than 3,100 of the members contacted have chosen a refund of their accounts. Once lapsed members receive refunds, we can more accurately determine the appropriate amount of funding for the Pension Fund to provide benefits for members who will likely meet retirement age and applicable requirements to retire. This keeps the Pension Fund financially sound for generations to come.

Once we have contacted all members identified, we will run this report again and continue to try to work with these members to determine if they plan to return to service as an eligible firefighter or rescue squad worker in the Fund or if a refund is more applicable for them.

Overpayments Now Subject to Pension Offsets

Due to recent legislation, members who are overpaid for benefits or who receive a payment in error (or claims paid on behalf of) and who are later determined to be ineligible for that amount or payment may have to repay that amount through deductions from any retirement allowance or return of contributions to that member, the member’s estate or designated beneficiary(ies). This includes any overpayment received by the member from the following:

  • Any of the seven state-administered retirement systems (TSERS, LGERS, CJRS, LRS, F&R Pension
  • Fund, National Guard Pension Fund, Register of Deeds Supplemental Pension Fund or Supplemental
  • Retirement Income Plan),
  • the Disability Salary Continuation Plan,
  • the Disability Income Plan of North Carolina,
  • or State Health Plan premiums

Any member determined to have received an overpayment will be notified by mail. Please note that payment plans are available to minimize the monthly impact of a repayment.

Important Dates to Ensure FRSWPF Credit for 2017

Mid-January, 2018 – Each unit should submit roster to their Association.

January 31, 2018 – Deadline date for Associations to submit rosters to FRSWPF.

Mid-February, 2018 – FRSWPF will use information from rosters to create turnaround documents (TADs) which will be sent to all units who properly submitted rosters.

March 31, 2018 – Deadline date for payments and completed TADs to be received by FRSWPF from units in order to credit roster service for 2017.

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