FAQ

Active Members

Q. Where can I find when Board Meetings are being held?

Go to the www.pbpfpf.org. The meeting schedule, agendas and minutes are under Administration Meeting Schedule.

Q. What contribution percent do I pay into the Plan?

You contribute 8.76% of your pensionable biweekly compensation from the date-of-hire.

Q. Where does the money to pay for the Plan come from?

  • Your Contributions
  • City Contributions
  • State Funding
  • Investment Earnings

Q. When do I contact Palm Bay Police and Firefighters’ Pension Fund?

  • To change your address
  • To change your beneficiary
  • If you plan to leave employment with the City of Palm Bay
  • When you plan to retire
  • If you need to file for a retirement disability

Q. Can I borrow money from my contributions in the Pension Fund?

No

Q. How do I change my beneficiary form?

  • Go to www.pbpfpf.org
  • If you are a Firefighter, click the Fire Patch; if you are a Police Officer, click the Police Patch.
  • Open and Print the Application and Beneficiary Form
  • The original completed form may be hand-delivered or mailed to the Pension Office (address located on the website) or give it to any of the Board of Trustees for delivery to the Pension Office.

Q. How do I change my address?

Fill out a new Beneficiary Form by clicking on Police or Fire Patch. The original completed form may be hand-delivered or mailed to the Pension Office (address located on the website) or give it to any of the Board of Trustees for delivery to the Pension Office.

Q. How often will I receive my Employee Benefit Statement?

Annually

Q. How often will I receive a Summary Plan Description?

You receive one at New Hire Orientation; then every two (2) years unless there are major changes made. You also receive one if you terminate employment with the City of Palm Bay.

Q. When can I do a Buyback?

Firefighter members may buyback time any time up to retirement. You may purchase up to four (4) years of qualified military time or qualified prior full-time firefighter service. You are responsible for paying the actuarial fee for the calculation of the buyback.

Police Officer members may buyback prior time after they have reached ten (10) years credited service. You may purchase up to four (4) years of qualified military time or qualified prior full-time law enforcement time. You must complete the process and purchase within three (3) years, thirty-six (36) months of reaching your ten (10) years of credited service. You are responsible for paying the actuarial fee for the calculation of the buyback.

Q. What do I need to do a Buyback?

Call the Pension Office at (321) 724-8877 and make an appointment.

Q. What is a Break in Service?

If you terminate employment and later return to work for the City, your previous employment may be included in your credited service provided you repay the contributions you have withdrawn, from the Fund, with interest within ninety (90) days of re-employment. If you left your contributions in the Fund, you will retain credit for all past service; however, you will not receive credited service for time not employed with the City. A break in service is also considered any time you make reduced or no contributions for any reason while employed.

Q. What if I think I might have an injury or illness that may result in a Non-Line or Line-of-Duty Disability that will prevent me from permanent and total service as a Police Officer or Firefighter?

Go to www.pbpfpf.org and click on the Police or Fire Patch and select the Summary Plan Description that applies to you. Read the Disability section of that document.  You must have a Disability Application on file with the Pension Office prior to separation from the City.  Once you separate you are no longer eligible to file for any benefit, including disability retirement.  You may file a Disability Application prior to separation and ask that it be held in abeyance.

Call (321) 724-8877 to schedule an immediate appointment with pension staff.

Q. What is a forfeiture?

If you are convicted of the offenses listed in Pension Ordinance 55.22 prior to retirement, or your employment is terminated by reason of your admitted commission, aid or abetment of those listed offenses, you shall forfeit or give up all rights and benefits under the Plan, except that you will receive the return of your accumulated contributions as of the date of termination. If it is determined that you might meet these guidelines, a Forfeiture Hearing may be held to determine your benefits, if any. Also pertinent to any Plan member is Pension Ordinance 55.23 Conviction and Forfeiture; False, Misleading or Fraudulent Statements. You may view a copy of the Pension Ordinance by going on www.pbpfpf.org to Administration then to Resources & Links.

Q. What can I do with my money when terminating?

If you are not vested you can leave your money in the pension fund up to five (5) years, then you must withdraw your funds. You must have at least five (5) years of credited service in the Plan to be considered as being vested. For Police Officers and those Firefighters hired before 03/15/2012 you must have (10) years of credited service in the Plan for Firefighters hired on or after 03/15/2012.

If you are vested you may leave your money in the Pension Fund up until you reach early or normal retirement. You may then apply for retirement, if eligible. You may roll the money over into a qualified plan or IRA or you may request a lump sum, less 20% Federal Withholding.

Q. What is a Pre-Retirement Selection?

Each year we review our records and send a Pre-Retirement Selection Form to members who have reached the following eligibility: Normal or earlier retirement guidelines set forth in ordinance. At the present time for Police Officers and Firefighters it is age 55, 25 years of credited service, age 45 and 20 years of credited service or age 50 with 10 years of credited service. However, Firefighters hired on or after March 15, 2012 it is age 55 with 10 years vesting (credited service), 25 years of credited service regardless of age, age 45 and 20 years of credited service or age 50 with 10 years of credited service.

This form allows you to choose 1 of 2 benefit options if you were to die prior to reaching retirement. Option 1 is a Ten Year and Certain Life Thereafter Annuity that provides a guaranteed 120 payments to your beneficiary in the event of your death; or Option 2 which is 100% Joint and Last Survivor Annuity that provides an equal payment to your beneficiary that you would have been eligible to receive prior to your death.

Q. How do I know if I am making the right decision to retire?

Discuss it with your tax advisor and financial planner. The pension office cannot and will not give any tax advice.

Q. How is my Benefit for Average Final Compensation Calculated?

  1. Police Officers: One-twelfth (1/12) of the average annual compensation of the best five (5) years of the last ten (10) years of credited service prior to retirement, termination or death.
  2. Firefighters: One-twelfth (1/12) of the average annual compensation of the best five (5) years of the last ten (10) years of credited service prior to retirement, termination or death.
  3. Firefighters Hired On or After March 15, 2012: One-twelfth (1/12) of the average annual compensation of the best five (5) years of the last ten (10) years of credited service prior to retirement, termination or death.
  4. A year shall be twelve (12) consecutive months or such other consecutive period of time as is used and consistently applied.
  5. Please note the Pension Ordinance above listing the highest five (5) years out of the last ten (10) years. When calculating the compensation, the Board’s Actuary looks at each pay period to determine the highest one, and then they must go forward for that year in a consecutive 12 month period, as per ordinance. For example, if a member’s highest pay period in a given year is September 7, 2007, they count that pay period as the beginning of the first year of the five (5) highest and go forward consecutively to August 22, 2008. The following year (second year) could be December 8, 2008-November 27, 2009, especially if that person received their longevity pay the end of each year boosting that pay period to the highest within that calendar year.
  6. Whatever compensation is used, the data for the five (5) year period is included in your Benefits Election Form in the top right-hand corner.

Q. When can I Retire or enter the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP)?

  1. Firefighters Normal Retirement for those hired before March 15, 2012 is at age 55, at age 52 with 25 years, 25 years at 85% and 28 years at 100%
  2. Firefighters Normal Retirement for those hired on or after March 15, 2012 is at age 55 with 25 years of credited service at 80%.
  3. Police Officers Normal retirement is 25 years of service or age 55.

Q. How do I apply for a DROP?

Call (321) 724-8877 to make an appointment with the pension staff about a month ahead of your tentative retirement date. Some of the documents you need to bring with you are: certified copy of your birth certificate; certified copy of your marriage license (if applicable); and a certified copy of your beneficiary’s birth certificate.  If you are divorced and your former spouse is entitled to any portion of your retirement or DROP income, you must provide us with a copy of your divorce decree.  You may select a primary and contingent DROP beneficiaries that are different from the individual you select for your monthly retirement income.  You will need their names, addresses, social security numbers, dates-of-birth, phone numbers, and email addresses in order to complete a DROP beneficiary form.

Q. What is the process for retiring and entering the DROP?

The process takes about 6-12 weeks.

  • Choose a date for retirement and file the paperwork.
  • After pension staff receives your final contribution from the City, we create a 10-year spreadsheet which is a review of you pension compensation and contributions. A package is sent to the Board’s Actuary which takes about two (2) weeks. Upon receipt of your Benefits Election Form, you meet with pension staff and are then advised to take the election form to your financial, tax, and or legal advisor.
  • You review your Benefits Election Form and make a selection. You must return the election form to the pension office within two (2) weeks.
  • A DROP account is set up and you will start receiving quarterly statements showing your balance and interest postings.

Q. How do I apply for Retirement?

Call (321) 724-8877 to make an appointment with the pension staff about a month ahead of your tentative retirement date. Some of the documents you need to bring with you are: certified copy of your birth certificate; certified copy of your marriage license (if applicable); and a certified copy of your beneficiary’s birth certificate.  If you are divorced and your former spouse is entitled to any portion of your retirement or DROP income, you must provide us with a copy of your divorce decree.  Your retirement income will be paid to your bank or credit union account by direct deposit; therefore we need the name of your financial institution, the institution's address, ABA and routing numbers.  If the account is a joint account, the joint owner must sign the Plan's direct deposit form.  You may select one beneficiary for your retirement income.  You will need their name, address, social security number, date-of-birth, phone numbers, and email address in order to complete a retirement beneficiary form.

Q. What is the retirement process?

The process takes about 6-12 weeks.

Choose a date for retirement and file the paperwork

After pension staff receives your final contribution from the City, we create a 10-year spreadsheet which is a review of you pension compensation and contributions. A package is sent to the Board’s Actuary which takes about two (2) weeks. Upon receipt of your Benefits Election Form, you meet with pension staff and are then advised to take the election form to your financial, tax, and or legal advisor.

You review your Benefits Election Form and make a selection. You must return the election form to the pension office within two (2) weeks.

Your pension payments are processed by the Board’s Bank, Regions Trust. You may receive more than one check in your first payment for retro pay. All members are required to have their payments paid by Direct Deposit.

Q. How long does the Retirement Process take?

6-12 weeks

Q. How long does the DROP Process take?

6-12 weeks

Retired and/or DROP Members

Q. Once I am retired, what kind of communication can I expect?

Firefighters’ Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) is in the sixth (6th) year of retirement.

Police Officers’ Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) is in the third (3rd) year of retirement.

If you chose the City’s Health Insurance, Annual Direct Deposit Deduction instructions for any changes that may occur due to open enrollment.

Annual 1099R’s and monthly statements (called "advices") from Regions Bank.

Annual Affidavits-These are sent out around June of each year and are required by State Statute as a necessary fraud prevention tool for the Plan. They let the Board know that you are still alive and allow us to make sure we have all of your current information. We give you thirty (30) days to return them to the office; however, if we do not receive it we WILL stop your retirement check until contact can be made.

At age 65-When you reach age 65 for Police Officers or age of Medicare for Firefighters, your supplement (if applicable) ceases. You will receive a notification in advance from the Pension Office.

Social Security Options-If you chose one of the two Social Security Benefits Election options, you will receive a notification in advance from the Pension Office as to when your monthly payment will be reduced.

Q. When do I receive my 1099R from Regions Bank?

You will receive your 1099R (statement of earnings) from Regions Bank in January or February each year. If you receive more than one it may mean that you moved out of the State of Florida during the tax year. One will reflect earnings from the Plan while living in Florida and the other earnings from the Plan while living in your new home state. The state you move to may or may not have State Income Tax. Box 11 will reflect a State ID Code that provides the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with your state’s code that will help them determine if State Income Tax applies.

Q. How do I change my address?

Fill out a Change of Address Form. They are available on www.pbpfpf.org under menu item “Retirees” or you may call (321) 724-8877 and request one to be emailed, faxed, or mailed to you.  You must send us the signed original Change of Address Form in order for us to make the changes to your account.

Q. When does my COLA start?

Police Officers’ Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) is in the third (3rd) year of retirement. They are processed each October in a group. This means if you have a retirement date between October 2nd and September 1st you will receive a pro-rated amount for the number of months that fall between your initial retirement date and September 30th. Then the COLA increase will start with the following October 1st payment. For example, if your retirement date is November 15, 2008, with your first pension check due December 1, 2008 then your COLA would start October 1, 2012. Plus, you will receive a one-time pro-rated amount for the payments between December and September.

Firefighters’ Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) is in the sixth (6th) year of retirement. They are processed each October in a group. This means if you have a retirement date between October 2nd and September 1st you will receive a pro-rated amount for the number of months that fall between your initial retirement date and September 30th. Then the COLA increase will start with the following October 1st payment. For example, if your retirement date is November 15, 2008, with your first pension check due December 1, 2008 then your COLA would start October 1, 2015. Plus, you will receive a one-time pro-rated amount for the payments between December and September.

Q. How is the DROP rate of return determined and where can I find it?

DROP rate of return is the rate of the return for the Fund, net of investment fees on those investments under management.

DROP returns are adopted by the Board of Trustees at their quarterly meetings held in February, May, August, and November.

Once the return is posted to your individual account, you will be mailed a DROP Statement.

DROP returns are posted on www.pbpfpf.org under menu item “Retirees.”

Q. When I exit the DROP what options do I have for withdrawing my DROP funds?

You have a few choices that are only available at the time of exiting DROP:

Leave the money in the Plan and receive annual installments, which are processed on December 1st of each year until your DROP funds have been depleted.

Rollover the balance to another qualified plan.

Request the balance in cash to be deposited to your account of choice. Our bank will withhold 20% for Federal Withholding as required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Or a combination of any or all of the above.

Q. How do I update or change my health insurance?

Contact the City’s Benefit Coordinator at (321) 952-3421. Complete a Direct Deposit-Monthly Deduction Form. Obtain that form on www.pbpfpf.org under menu item “Retirees” or call (321) 724-8877 and request one to be emailed, faxed, or mailed to you.

Q. Can I change my Federal Tax Withholding election?

Yes, on www.pbpfpf.org under menu item “Retirees” click on the W4 P Form. Complete the form and mail the original to the Pension Office. Be advised pension staff will not give tax advice. Please consult with your personal tax advisor.

Q. Once I retire, can I change my Benefits Election Option?

No

Q. What does my family do if I die?

Call (321) 724-8877 immediately to notify pension staff. As soon as it is available provide a certified copy of the death certificate to the Pension Office.

Q. What do I do if my beneficiary dies?

Call (321) 724-8877 immediately to notify pension staff. As soon as it is available provide a certified copy of the death certificate to the pension office.

Q. Can I change my beneficiary after retirement?

Yes, up to two (2) times; however, there is an actuarial fee to calculate your new benefit which may then reduce your monthly retirement benefit. You must provide a certified copy of your new beneficiary’s birth certificate in order for the analysis to be conducted.

Current as of June 17, 2014