We will focus this page on the most common Frequestly Asked Questions that members have regarding the GERS.  Hopefully, as you wend your way through these pages, all your questions are answered.  However, if you find something is not covered, send us an e-mail and we will add it to this page or, if necessary, devote a whole section to the topic.

Q.  I have money in another pension plan from previous employment.  Can I move that money into GERS and purchase those years of service?
No, unfortunately.  There are no provisions in the Ordinance that allows members to purchase service either prior City time or from another retirement system.

Q. I won't stay long enough to retire, why do I have to join a Pension Plan?
A. Joining a Pension Plan is a requirement for employment with the City. Since 2007, the GERS has been closed to new employees and the only option available at your hiring is now a Defined Contribution 401(a) savings plan.

Q. I need some money for an emergency.  May I borrow money from my Pension Fund?
A. No. There are no provisions within the Ordinance to allow for members to borrow their Pension Fund money for any reason.

Q. I see the Pension Fund is getting good returns. Can I make arrangements to pay additional money into the Fund to enhance my future retirement benefit?
A. No.  The amount of your contribution is set within the Ordinance at 6% of your regular salary.  Besides, paying more into the Fund would not improve your future retirement benefit.  Your benefit will be based upon the formula at retirement and not the total amount dollars in your Pension Account.

Q. When will I be eligible for an early retirement?
A.  You must have completed 15 years of service and reached age 50 to be eligible for an early retirement.

Q.  I'm not married but have lived with my significant other for many years.  Will they be eligible for spouse benefits in the event of my death?
A.  Florida does not recognize common-law spouses and so therefore they are not eligible for spousal benefits.  However, you may protect your significant other by opting for one of the "Optional Retirement Benefits".  Click here for further information.

Q.  I haven't been at work due to an injury or illnes. When can I apply for the disability benefit?
A.  You may apply for disability benefits usually after being off work for 60 days.  If approved, disability benefits begin on the 91st day of being off work.

Q.  I'm applying for a new mortgage. What is the proper way to get the amount of money in my pension account?
A.  For your account balance, simply call the Pension Office or send an e-mail request.  Just let us know the information you need and where you want it sent.

Send your questions, thoughts, and ideas relating to this FAQ page to the Pension Administrator, Nick Schiess .

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