Frequently Asked Questions
do I find out how much I have contributed to the retirement system?
Simply submit your request in writing with your
signature and social security number. We will then forward the information to you by mail or fax.
2. Can I withdraw my contributions in the system? If so, how?
If you are mandated to contribute
to Social Security there is a provision that allows you to opt out of the
retirement system and take a refund.
If not, you must actually terminate employment before you are eligible
to withdraw your contributions.
You must fill out a refund form and mail it to our office, if everything
is correct and in order you will receive a check 90 days after your date of
termination. If you assigned your
contributions in consideration of a loan we must receive written notification
from the credit union that the loan has been paid in full before a refund can
be issued. Should the credit union
certify to us that you are 60 days or more delinquent, the refund will be
issued to the credit union and any surplus shall be returned to you by the
credit union. (See forms)
3. How do I sign up for Direct Deposit?
Simply fill out an Authorization for Direct Deposit
form. Bring it to your bank or
financial institution and have them fill out the appropriate sections and mail
it to our office. If we receive
the form prior to the 15th of the month the direct deposit will go
into effect the first of the following month. Direct deposit guarantees that
your benefit will be in your bank account on the first of each month unless the
first falls on Saturday, Sunday or holiday, then the next bank working
day. (See forms)
4. What is the eligibility for retirement?
You are eligible to receive a benefit if you have at least
12 years of service and at least age 55, at least 20 years and at least age 50
or at least 25 years at any age.
5. What is the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)?
In lieu of terminating employment and retiring and you
have at least 20 years of service and at least age 50 you are eligible to
participate in DROP and defer receipt of benefits. You can participate only once for a maximum of 3 years. You continue working but no longer contribute
to the retirement system. Your
benefit amount is then calculated and deposits are made monthly to your DROP
account. You will receive
quarterly statements showing your balance.
6. How can I make withdrawals from my DROP account?
There are a number of ways you can make withdrawals from
your DROP account. Monthly,
quarterly or yearly are all options.
You can also elect to withdraw just the interest in a lump sum or into
monthly withdrawals. We do require
a 30-day notice on all withdrawals.
Your DROP withdrawal amount will be sent along with your normal
retirement benefit at the first of the month. (You must terminate employment and retire before you are
eligible to make withdrawals). (See forms)
7. Can I roll over my DROP account into an IRA or money market account?
Because FRS is now a qualified plan, DROP or IBO accounts can be rolled over to another qualified plan.
8. How is interest on my DROP account calculated and when is it posted to my account?
Drop accounts earn interest at a rate equal to the
percentage rate of return of the System’s investment portfolio. Interest is compounded monthly and paid
annually in December. Members have
access to the interest in January.
(You must terminate employment and retire before your DROP
account starts accruing interest.)
9. When am I eligible to receive a cost of living raise (COLA) on my retirement benefit?
You must be retired one full year in order to receive a
cost of living raise. You can
actually have a retirement effective date of January 1, 2000 and if granted,
receive your first COLA on January 1, 2001.
is the Initial Benefit Option (IBO) referred to as a “partial lump sum
The initial benefit option is an optional benefit
allowance as provided under R.S. 11:2259 for members that have not participated
in DROP or retired under disability retirement. The member may receive a lump
sum amount up to thirty-six months of the maximum monthly retirement allowance.
The initial lump sum may be paid as a lump sum or placed in an account.
Interest will be credited and the member may make monthly withdrawals (same as
DROP Accounts). If the initial benefit option is chosen, the member will
receive an actuarially reduced monthly benefit. (See forms)
I have been a member of another public retirement system can I transfer my
service credit to Firefighters’ Retirement System?
Yes. Once you have been an “active contributing member”
for six (6) months you may make application to transfer your creditable service
from a state or statewide retirement system to Firefighters’ Retirement System.
(Please complete an Application for Transfer of Creditable Service). (See
I have military service may I purchase my military service in Firefighters’
Yes. If you have served in any branch of the United States
military you may be eligible to purchase up to four (4) years of military
service credit in FRS. In order to purchase your military service you must have
been “honorably” discharged. (Please complete an Application for Purchase of
Military Service Credit). (See forms)