Pre-Retirement Benefits

There are two primary pre-retirement benefits offered: Disability and Death. The details are below showing information on both on-the-job and off-the-job benefits.

Death Benefits:

SERVICE INCURRED
If you die before retirement from causes directly related to your job, your spouse would receive a monthly payment equal to 50% of your earnings as of the last date of active employment.  An additional 10% will be paid for each child under the age of 18 to a maximum total payment of 80%. Your children will receive benefits until the earlier of attaining age 18, marriage, or death. Your spouse will receive benefits until the earlier of remarriage or death.

If your spouse and/or minor children become ineligible before the minimum benefit has been paid, the balance will be paid to your named contingent beneficiary(s).

If you are not married and you do not have children under the age of 18, your beneficiary(s) will receive a monthly payment equal to 50% of your earnings as of the last date of active employment.  The payments will be made for 96 months. Should the last named beneficiary die before 96 months have been paid then no further benefits are paid.  Benefits cannot be paid to a member's estate.

NON-SERVICE INCURRED
If you die before retirement from causes not directly related to your job, your beneficiary(s) would receive a monthly payment equal to 50% of your earnings as of the last date of active employment.  The payments will be made for 96 months.  Should the last named beneficiary die before 96 months have been paid then no further benefits are paid. Benefits cannot be paid to a member's estate.

If you were a member of the prior plan (hired before January 3, 1973), you may direct that death benefits be paid in a lump sum in lieu of the monthly payment described above.

Disability Benefits:

Effective 10/1/2007 (Teamsters) and 11/7/07 (FPE), City employees covered by either Union Contract will now be terminated from employment upon approval of any Disability Benefit from the GERS.

If you suffer a service connected injury or illness while working for the City which prevents you from performing the regular and continuous duties of your job with the City or a non-service connected injury, disease, or disability which totally incapacitates you from the regular and continuous duties of your job or any other gainful employment, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Contact the Pension Office for information on how to file a claim for disability benefits.

The Board approves or denies claims for disability benefits based on the medical facts in the situation and requires at least 2 concurring medical doctor's opinions substantiating the disability.  The Board may also request an additional medical opinion through an Independent Medical Review.

Members receiving disability benefits continue to accrue service credit, however contributions are not required during periods of approved disability.

Duration of Benefits:
Disability benefits will be paid until you return to work for the City, until you die, or until you become eligible for a normal retirement pension. If you return to employment on a graduated part-time basis and are working toward returning to a full-time basis, the Board has the authority to reduce the disability benefit for up to 6 months. The combination of your disability benefit and part-time earnings may not exceed 100% of your earnings as of the date of your disability.

Early Retirement Pension:
You may convert from a disability benefit to an early retirement pension any time you are eligible, i.e. attainment of age 50 with 15 or more years of service.  The early retirement benefit will be calculated as shown in Retirement Benefits, Early Retirement.

Normal Retirement Pension:
You must convert to a normal retirement pension as soon as you meet the eligibility requirements for normal retirement unless the disability benefit exceeds the normal retirement pension.  In that case, the disability benefit will be extended as follows:

  • 1) For an additional 5 years beyond the normal retirement date, or
  • 2) When the normal retirement pension equals the disability benefit based upon the further accrual of service credit after the attainment of your normal retirement date.
  • 3) If you become disabled after your eligibility for a normal retirement, you are entitled to receive the disability benefit upon Board approval for 5 years after which you will convert to a regular pension benefit.

The normal retirement pension is computed on your earnings at the date you became disabled and your years of credited service accrual, including the period of disability.  Any cost-of-living adjustments applied to disability benefits will be carried forward to your retirement pension.

If you were a member of the prior plan (hired before January 3, 1973), you may elect to receive disability benefits until age 65.  At that time, the normal retirement pension will be paid.

Service Incurred Disability Benefit:
Service incurred disability benefits are equal to 65% of your monthly earnings, beginning on the 91st day you are off the job. If you receive Workers' Compensation benefits, your disability benefit is offset to the extent allowed by law.

Non-Service Incurred Disability Benefit:
Non-service incurred disability benefits are equal to 50% of your monthly earnings, beginning on the 91st day you are off the job. If you receive Social Security Disability benefits, your disability benefit is reduced by the primary amount of the Social Security payment.


EXCLUSIONS FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH BENEFITS
Disability benefits or death benefits will not be paid if the Pension Board determines that any of the following conditions exist:

1) That disability or death resulted from an intentionally self-inflicted injury within the first two years of employment, even if the disability or death occurs beyond that first two year period.

2) That disability or death was the direct result of habitual, intentional use of alcohol, narcotics or drugs without an intervening cause.

3) That disability or death resulted from unlawful participation or unlawful involvement in riots, insurrection, or assembly; or

4) That disability or death resulted from participation or involvement in the commission of a felony as defined by the laws of the State of Florida, or the United States of America.

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