No Changes for FRS !

The 2013 session of the Florida Legislature has ended with no changes to the Florida Retirement System

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FRS Florida legislature

The 2013 session of the Florida Legislature has ended with no changes to the Florida Retirement System.  The proposals were all allowed to die without support.  At least for this year, the pension is intact, and there will be no changes to benefits for members.  Great News for all!

  • 1abcde

    Question.

    I am a public safety officer who is currently in the DROP plan. I will retire from DROP at age 53. I was thinking of rolling my money over to the FRS investment plan and taking out money as needed.

    Am I exempt from the 10% IRS early withdrawal penalty?

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    Probably not. You may take a distribution from the Pension Plan without the penalty, but we believe once it is in the Investment Plan the only way to avoid the penalty is through the use of “72(T) distributions.

  • Cam

    House OK’s mashup of state and local pension plan rewrites
    by John Kennedy | April 25th, 2014
    A sweeping overhaul of state and local pension plans was approved 74-44 Friday by the state House, but faces long odds of clearing a Senate showing little support for changing the Florida Retirement System.
    The House has mashed-up two proposals — a generally popular bill which makes changes to municipal police and fire pensions, and a controversial FRS revamp. House Republican leaders are clearly trying to get the Senate to accept the FRS change as the only way to enact the local pension change.
    House Democrats blasted the tactic — and the FRS move.
    “The bill is a patchwork of ideas and should be voted down,” said Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Palm Harbor.
    But Republicans defended the move.
    “This bill is about the future,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, noting the FRS change will only effect new hires. “This bill keeps the promise, but it secures the future.”
    The FRS proposal is aimed at reducing the number of government workers joining the state’s traditional pension – pushing more into a 401(k)-style investment plan that is cheaper for the state to offer.
    Over fierce opposition from public employees’ unions, House Republicans have been intent on overhauling the $144 billion FRS, used by 622,000 government workers and another 300,000 retirees. The largest share of those covered are teachers and county school board employees.
    But enough Senate Republicans have refused to go along with earlier proposals that House leaders are now turning to a new approach.
    Under the House bill, everyone hired in the elected officer or senior manager category beginning in July 2015 could only join the investment plan. All employees who fail to select a plan eight months after being hired would be put into the investment plan, not the pension as current law allows.
    The measure also would increase the pension vesting period for all new employees to 10 years, up from the current 8-year standard.
    The local proposal gives cities more flexibility to use the state’s insurance premium tax to bolster police and fire pension funds. The bill relaxes a 1999 law that required cities to offer new benefits with insurance tax dollars, a move that has increasingly destabilized many funds.
    In a rare moment of harmony, after years of hostility over changing the 1999 law, unions and local governments have agreed on the police and fire pension change that is advancing as a stand-alone bill in the Senate.

  • Bryan Buchanan

    All current FRS Investment Plan members need to know this:
    We have been targeted by the Florida Legislature to fund the uncovered liability to the regular retirement class of the FRS. Since the passage of HB 5005 in July 2012 those of us in the Investment plan have been losing 30% of the money paid in by our employers to the FRS, which is supposed to go into our personal accounts. The Florida Legislature has by way of using an “actuarial” as their excuse decided to keep one-third of our money for themselves. If we don’t act on this we stand to lose the Billion dollars already taken from us and much more to come. Anyone with contacts in the legal field willing to work on a class-action that can take on the Florida Legislature and the FRS please “get to work” on it and let’s get our money back! You know that surplus our State recently discovered… it’s OUR money!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    We believe you are mistaken. The employer may contribute to unfunded liability, but it is not taken from the employer or employee contributions based on your pay. If you are a regular member, you get your full 6% (3% employer and 3% employee) minus a small admin fee, and the HIS contribution. We really don’t think you are being shorted by anything, let alone 30%

  • Jen mueller

    I was dumb enough to have an FRS person talk me into switching into the Investment Plan after he heard I was a military wife. I told him I was concerned with possibly having to move with my husbands career so he “encouraged” me to switch. No I am going into my 14th year and we have been blessed to be still stationed here. I feel foolish and very taken advantage of for agreeing to switch plans based on “possible” moves. I am told by FRS that I have no choice but to stay with the investment plan. This is shameful and I don’t have a choice due to the “1 time only 2nd choice”. This is absurd for people that want to change due to circumstances and are willing to buy back into the pension plan with hopes of a pension vs. a small “lump sum”. I feel as though I have let my family and myself down. There is nothing I can do to change this so I have nothing to do but quit teaching vs. serving my time if I want to make enough money elsewhere to have a retirement. Thanks for swindling me FRS!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    Based on the information provided, the fact that you had the real possibility of moving, the Investment Plan was most likely the correct choice for portability. The fact that things did not work out that way is hardly the “FRS person’s” fault, nor do we see how FRS has screwed you. You are still in the Investment Plan, and your employer is still making contributions into the plan we presume? We are hard pressed to understand how providing you with options shameful. Sorry!

  • Math4U

    FRS has not properly updated our fiscal year end 2014. The service record salaries have been uploaded but the estimate page is still showing last year’s “high five” average. I’ve written to them. Of course, the online site is for informational purposes only but it is usually accurate. Therefore, if you are calculating your current estimate or future estimate, you’ll have to first compute your high five, then plug that number in. Hopefully, they will resolve this soon.

  • Bryan Buchanan

    Let me try once again, here are the numbers for your clarification: my employer and I paid into the FRS a total of $13,906. for the July 2013 to June 2014 year. Of that total only $8,870. made it into my investments as shown on the official FRS website. That’s a loss of $5,036. or 36.2% by my math, well over the stated loss we have of 30% currently. I assure you my math is correct as I have been keeping track since the Legislature authorized the lowered amount in July 2012 from 17% (employer) to 11%. They are keeping over 30% of what is being paid into them to cover something… which benefits the investment plan members zero, and in fact is taking money, and a lot of it from our retirement plans. They did indeed take over $5000. from me personally over the given year, and are continuing to do so, since the HB5005 passed in July 2012. [Please post this copy as you have refused to do so for the 3 prior attempts.]

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    It would seem you may be alone in your issue. We have tried to verify with other members, and no one seems to have that same issue. We will post your comment, but still believe it may not be accurate.

  • Bryan Buchanan

    For your investment members to check themselves here are the 9 easy steps to verify that this is correct: 1: login to the myfrs.com website and enter your password. 2: Go to “account details” button. 3: Go to “more” button. 4: Go to Balances “Details”. 5: Go to “Change Date/Fund”. 6: Switch the time period to “last calendar year”. 7: hit “update”. 8: Add the two amounts shown for “IP Employer” and “IP Employee”. 9: Find your final payroll stub or tax return to see your gross for the year (2013) and divide the first sum into your gross. This will be ~14% for anyone in the high risk category, or roughly 30% less than what was going into your account prior to the July 2012 change. Your next step is to make everyone aware and contact your Legislators and the FRS and demand an explanation and to change it back. [I thank frsoptions for posting these to help educate members who were unaware of the change]

  • Carol711

    As retirees, should we be worried about the notices that the pension is only 85% funded? Particularly with new changes that allow companies to reduce pension payments?

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    85% funding is very good funding for a pension plan. It means that 85% of ALL their obligations for the next 30 years are actuarially accounted for today, and they have 30 years to make up any difference. That said, the bigger threat is that the politicians use it as an excuse to mess with the plan, and in that sense, all members need to be concerned. As a retiree, you have little or nothing to worry about, there is plenty of money there for your pensions, and in the absence of the state going financially belly up, you are safe. Don’t mistake corporate rules for government rules when it comes to pensions, as a retiree you have fulfilled your obligation, and now the state will fulfill theirs.

  • Carol711

    I have a question about survivor benefits. If a married couple are both teachers and are covered under the defined frs pension system – and both selected option 3. How do benefits work when one member dies? Does the survivor chose between the spouse benefits or his or her own? Can the person collect both their own pension and the survivor benefits?

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info FRS Options

    We believe you will find that your benefits are separate. If you sign up for spousal benefits, you will each receive them regardless, in addition to you own. Each spouse will receive the benefits chosen by the member, as well as the members own benefit.