Who Receives The Pension?
When you become employed by an institution that is member of the FRS you will be signed up into one of two plans.
In general to receive a pension you will have to be in the system for a certain period of time called “vesting period”.
As of January 2018 these are the new default rules:
Effective July 1, 2017, this legislation changes the default membership option to the FRS Investment Plan for members initially enrolled in the FRS on or after Jan. 1, 2018, excluding Special Risk Class members who would still default into the FRS Pension Plan
Does this mean you can get into the pension? No… it means you need to chose to start on the pension. Most employees when they start they are not very familiar with what options they have.
So if you know someone that is going to start as an FRS system employee (teacher, police officer, firefighter, etc), they should call us to get a free consultation before they start.
What is my Pension vesting period?
Vesting period is the time required for you to be employed to receive a pension.
Pension vesting requirements changed in July 1st of 2011:
If you enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011, you need to have 6 years of service with an FRS employer to be vested in your Pension Plan benefit. If you enrolled in the FRS on or after July 1, 2011, you must have 8 years of service to vest. If you terminated FRS-covered employment before July 1, 2001, the vesting period varied.
So for new employees you will need to work 8 years of service to be eligible to receive a pension.
How long do I have to work to retire?
In order to receive a pension you will need to meet a required age or years of service. This requirement will be different for high risk jobs than for regular risk jobs.
High risk: 25 years of service or age 55
Regular risk: 33 years of service or age 65
If you reach either of those 2 marks, you will be able to retire an receive a pension. The amount you will receive will vary depending on how many years of service you worked.
What happens to my pension if I leave early?
The years you earned working will remain, but if you never come back to finish your vesting period, you will lose all of your pension.
Tip: If you know you are leaving and not coming back, then you should probably look into switching to the investment plan.
Can I switch to or from the pension plan?
There is an option you will have called second election, that will allow you to switch between the pension plan and the investment plan once. Be very careful if you decide to take this option as there is no way of going back.
As a matter of fact there is an active FRS class action lawsuit to a company that advised FRS employees to switch to the investment plan. The lawsuit states that most of those employees didn’t fully understand the impact of the switch.
Schedule a Free Consultation with us
We can help you understand how your FRS works. We are a third party that can help you understand your benefits.