Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund

Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund

Benefits

§ 47-7-100.  Eligibility for full pension benefits; eligibility for partial benefits; optional pension benefits; vesting of rights to pension benefits; early retirement provisions

    (a) As used in this Code section, the term:

   (1) "Selected beneficiary" means any person designated from time to time before or after the approval of an application for retirement by the member in writing on forms prescribed by the board to receive benefits which continue to be payable upon the death of the member.

   (2) "Spouse" means the husband or wife to whom the member is validly married under the laws of this state at the time of the approval by the board of an application for retirement or at the time of the approval of a later exercise by such member of an option granted by this Code section and who holds such status at the time benefits became payable to such person on account of the death of a member.
   (b)(1) Any eligible member who has attained the age of 55 years and who terminates service as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter after at least 25 years of service, upon application to and approval by the board, shall have a vested right in an amount equal to the maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect on the date the board approves such application. Such benefits shall commence on the date of the member's termination of service.

   (2) Any eligible member who terminates service as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter after 25 years of service, but before reaching the age of 55 years, may, upon filing an application with the board, cease payment of such member's monthly dues following such termination of service and, upon reaching the age of 55 years and being otherwise eligible, shall be paid a monthly benefit equal to the maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect on the date such member attains the age of 55 years.

(c) Any eligible member who terminates service as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter after at least 15 years of service, upon application to and approval by the board, shall have a vested right in and to a monthly benefit payable for the member's lifetime equal to a pro rata amount of the maximum monthly retirement benefit provided in subsection (b) of this Code section in effect on the date of such termination of service, which amount shall be determined by the ratio of years served, being not less than 15 nor more than 25, to the full 25 year service retirement. Such benefits shall become payable when the member reaches 55 years of age or when he or she terminates employment as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter, whichever is later.

(d) At any time prior to approval by the board of an application for retirement, a member may elect or may revoke a previous election and make a new election to have monthly benefits payable under one of the options set forth in this subsection, in lieu of the benefits payable under subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section. The benefits shall be paid in accordance with the terms of the option elected. Election of any option shall be made by the member on forms provided by the board and shall be subject to approval by the board, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. No optional election is available for payment of disability benefits.

   (1) Option A, the joint and survivor option, shall consist of a decreased retirement benefit which shall be payable during the joint lifetime of both the member and the member's spouse and which shall continue after the death of the member during the lifetime of the spouse in the amount chosen by the member, which amount shall be 100 percent, 75 percent, 66 2/3 percent, or 50 percent of the member's benefits. Any member who has completed 15 years of creditable service may elect that, in the event of the member's death prior to receiving any retirement benefits under this chapter, the member's spouse shall receive decreased retirement benefits in the amount elected by the member, which amount shall be 100 percent, 75 percent, 66 2/3 percent, or 50 percent of the benefits to which the member would have been entitled based upon the member's creditable service as of the time of the member's death. The decreased retirement benefits payable to the spouse of a member who dies prior to receiving any retirement benefits under this chapter shall commence on the date the member would have become 55 years of age and shall not be payable unless, prior to the member's death, the member had elected such benefits in the form and manner prescribed by the board and had filed such election with the board.

   (2) Option B, the ten years' certain and life option, shall consist of a decreased retirement benefit payable to the member during the member's lifetime; and, in the event of the member's death within ten years after the member's retirement, the same monthly benefits shall be payable to the member's selected beneficiary, or, if the member so elects, the total monthly benefit may be divided equally among up to five selected beneficiaries, for the balance of such ten-year period.

   (3) If a member selects Option A, then, after the approval of the application for retirement, the following provisions apply:

      (A) If the member's spouse shall predecease the member, the member may, in writing on forms prescribed by the board and subject to approval by the board, revoke Option A and thereafter receive during the member's lifetime a monthly retirement benefit commencing on the date on which the board approves such revocation, but not for any period prior to such approval, equal to the maximum monthly benefit which would have been payable to him had such option not been exercised;

      (B) If there is entered a final judgment of complete divorce between the member and the member's spouse, the member may, in writing on forms prescribed by the board and subject to approval by the board, revoke Option A and thereafter receive during the member's lifetime a monthly retirement benefit commencing on the date on which the board approves such revocation, but not for any period prior to such approval, equal to the maximum monthly benefit which would have been payable had such option not been exercised; and

      (C) If, following the death of the member's spouse or the entry of a final judgment of divorce between the member and the member's spouse, the member remarries, the member may, in writing on forms prescribed by the board and subject to approval by the board, elect Option A with respect to the member's new spouse. The joint and survivor benefit shall be determined as of the date of the election.

   (4) The amount of any optional retirement benefit set forth in this subsection shall be the actuarial equivalent of the amount of the benefit that would otherwise be payable to the member under subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section based upon the interest rate and mortality basis approved from time to time by the board, the age of the member, and, if applicable, the age of his spouse as of the date benefits are to commence or as of the date benefits would have commenced if the member had retired after first becoming eligible for full benefits, whichever is earlier, but the optional benefits available under Option A shall be calculated without regard to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection.
   (e)(1) Any eligible member who retires after July 1, 1984, shall be entitled to an increase in the maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect at the time of his or her retirement under this Code section equal to 1 percent of the monthly retirement benefit for which the member would have been otherwise eligible for each full year of creditable service while a member of the fund as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter in excess of 25 years of creditable service.

   (2) Any eligible member who retires after July 1, 2002, shall be entitled to an increase in the maximum monthly retirement benefit in effect at the time of his or her retirement under this Code section equal to 2 percent of the monthly retirement benefit for which the member would have been otherwise eligible for each full year of creditable service while a member of the fund as a firefighter or volunteer firefighter in excess of 25 years of creditable service. Such increase shall be the total increase allowed by this subsection.

(f) Any eligible member who would be entitled to the commencement of retirement benefits upon reaching age 55 under subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section may elect to retire after reaching the age of 50 but before reaching the age of 55 and immediately commence the drawing of retirement benefits and in that event the member shall be eligible immediately upon retirement for a reduced monthly pension benefit in an amount determined by multiplying the benefit for which the member would have been otherwise entitled under subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this Code section had the member delayed retirement or the commencement of benefits until the member reached age 55, such benefit to be determined as of the date of the member's actual retirement or first receipt of the monthly retirement benefit by the factor set forth below:

If the Member's Age At                                   The Early Retirement
Retirement (determined by                                     Factor Is:     
the member's age at the                                                      
member's immediately                                                         
preceding birthday) Is:                                                      
          50                                                      .70        
          51                                                      .76        
          52                                                      .82        
          53                                                      .88        
          54                                                      .94        

The option available under this subsection may also be exercised by a surviving spouse who is the beneficiary of an Option A election with respect to the benefits payable to the spouse in the event the member dies prior to receiving any benefits and would have been able to exercise the option available under this subsection.
   (g)(1) Effective July 1, 1988, the maximum monthly retirement benefit for any person who retires on or after that date shall be $500.00.

   (2) Effective July 1, 1988, the maximum monthly retirement benefit which was payable under this Code section immediately prior to that date shall be increased in the amount of $85.00 per month, and the monthly retirement benefit of each person who retired under this chapter prior to that date or the monthly benefit of any surviving spouse or selected beneficiary who was receiving a benefit prior to that date shall be increased by a percentage of $85.00 which is equal to the percentage that the retired person's, surviving spouse's, or selected beneficiary's monthly benefit payable immediately prior to July 1, 1988, bore to the maximum monthly benefit payable under this Code section immediately prior to July 1, 1988.

   (3) Effective July 1, 1990, the monthly retirement benefit for any person who retires on or after that date under this Code section shall be $570.00.

   (4) Effective July 1, 1990, the maximum monthly retirement benefit which would otherwise be payable to persons retired under this Code section prior to July 1, 1990, shall be increased by the amount of $40.00 per month, and the monthly retirement benefit of each person who retired under this chapter prior to that date or the monthly benefit of any surviving spouse or selected beneficiary who was receiving a benefit prior to that date shall be increased by a percentage of $40.00 which is equal to the percentage that the retired person's, surviving spouse's, or selected beneficiary's monthly benefit payable immediately prior to July 1, 1990, bore to the maximum monthly benefit otherwise payable to such person under this Code section prior to July 1, 1990.

   (5) Effective July 1, 2000, the monthly benefit for any member who retired on or before February 25, 1976, under subsection (b) of this Code section shall be no less than $500.00. The monthly benefit of any member retiring on or before such date under a retirement option providing for less than a full service pension, or the beneficiary of any such member, shall be calculated on an amount not less than $500.00.
   (h)(1) If any member who has not elected an option under subsection (d) of this Code section dies after accruing at least 15 years of creditable service but before applying for retirement as provided in this Code section, and such member is survived by a spouse, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to receive a benefit as if the member had elected to receive 100 percent of the member's benefits under Option A as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of this Code section. Such benefits shall commence on the date the deceased member would have reached the age of 55 years or, at the option of the surviving spouse, on the date the deceased member would have reached the age of 50 years in accordance with the provisions of subsection (f) of this Code section.

   (2) If any member who has not elected an option under subsection (d) of this Code section dies after accruing at least 15 years of creditable service but before applying for retirement as provided in this Code section, and such member is not survived by a spouse, up to five selected beneficiaries shall be entitled to receive a benefit, equally apportioned among the selected beneficiaries, as if the member had elected to receive Option B as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of this Code section.

   (3) If any member who has elected an option under subsection (d) of this Code section dies after accruing at least 15 years of creditable service but before applying for retirement as provided for in this Code section, the benefits shall be paid in accordance with the option so elected.


History

Ga. L. 1955, p. 339, § 7; Ga. L. 1957, p. 323, § 1; Ga. L. 1960, p. 991, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 242, § 1; Ga. L. 1968, p. 441, § 4; Ga. L. 1970, p. 334, § 1; Ga. L. 1971, p. 332, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 186, § 1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 235, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 364, §§ 2, 3; Ga. L. 1981, p. 608, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 47; Ga. L. 1984, p. 990, § 5; Ga. L. 1988, p. 338, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 554, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 130, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 755, § 9; Ga. L. 1992, p. 3010, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 86, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 703, § 4; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1376, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 149, § 1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 562, §§ 6, 7; Ga. L. 2002, p. 590, § 2; Ga. L. 2010, p. 438, § 5/HB 1150; Ga. L. 2015, p. 898, § 10/HB 266.