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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Optional forms of retirement income.
Section 175.171, Florida Statutes 2004

175.171  Optional forms of retirement income.--For any municipality, special fire control district, chapter plan, local law municipality, local law special fire control district, or local law plan under this chapter:

(1)  In lieu of the amount and form of retirement income payable in the event of normal or early retirement as specified in s. 175.162, a firefighter, upon written request to the board of trustees and subject to the approval of the board of trustees, may elect to receive a retirement income or benefit of equivalent actuarial value payable in accordance with one of the following options:

(a)  A retirement income of larger monthly amount, payable to the firefighter for his or her lifetime only.

(b)  A retirement income of a modified monthly amount, payable to the firefighter during the joint lifetime of the firefighter and a joint pensioner designated by the firefighter, and following the death of either of them, 100 percent, 75 percent, 662/3 percent, or 50 percent of such monthly amounts payable to the survivor for the lifetime of the survivor.

(c)  Such other amount and form of retirement payments or benefits as, in the opinion of the board of trustees, will best meet the circumstances of the retiring firefighter.

1.  The firefighter upon electing any option of this section will designate the joint pensioner or beneficiary (or beneficiaries) to receive the benefit, if any, payable under the plan in the event of his or her death, and will have the power to change such designation from time to time, but any such change shall be deemed a new election and will be subject to approval by the board of trustees. Such designation will name a joint pensioner or one or more primary beneficiaries where applicable. If a firefighter has elected an option with a joint pensioner or beneficiary and his or her retirement income benefits have commenced, the firefighter may thereafter change the designated joint pensioner or beneficiary, but only if the board of trustees consents to such change and if the joint pensioner last previously designated by the firefighter is alive when the firefighter files with the board of trustees a request for such change.

2.  The consent of a firefighter's joint pensioner or beneficiary to any such change shall not be required.

3.  The board of trustees may request such evidence of the good health of the joint pensioner that is being removed as it may require and the amount of the retirement income payable to the firefighter upon designation of a new joint pensioner shall be actuarially redetermined taking into account the age and sex of the former joint pensioner, the new joint pensioner, and the firefighter. Each such designation will be made in writing on a form prepared by the board of trustees and on completion will be filed with the board of trustees. In the event that no designated beneficiary survives the firefighter, such benefits as are payable in the event of the death of the firefighter subsequent to his or her retirement shall be paid as provided in s. 175.181

(2)  Retirement income payments shall be made under the option elected in accordance with the provisions of this section and shall be subject to the following limitations:

(a)  If a firefighter dies prior to his or her normal retirement date or early retirement date, whichever first occurs, no retirement benefit will be payable under the option to any person, but the benefits, if any, will be determined under s. 175.201

(b)  If the designated beneficiary (or beneficiaries) or joint pensioner dies before the firefighter's retirement under the plan, the option elected will be canceled automatically and a retirement income of the normal form and amount will be payable to the firefighter upon retirement as if the election had not been made, unless a new election is made in accordance with the provisions of this section or a new beneficiary is designated by the firefighter prior to retirement and within 90 days after the death of the beneficiary.

(c)  If both the retired firefighter and the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) designated by him or her die before the full payment has been effected under any option providing for payments for a period certain and life thereafter, made pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1)(c), the board of trustees may, in its discretion, direct that the commuted value of the remaining payments be paid in a lump sum and in accordance with s. 175.181

(d)  If a firefighter continues beyond his or her normal retirement date pursuant to the provisions of s. 175.162(1) and dies prior to actual retirement and while an option made pursuant to the provisions of this section is in effect, monthly retirement income payments will be made, or a retirement benefit will be paid, under the option to a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) designated by the firefighter in the amount or amounts computed as if the firefighter had retired under the option on the date on which death occurred.

(3)  No firefighter may make any change in his or her retirement option after the date of cashing or depositing the first retirement check.

History.--s. 1, ch. 63-249; s. 2, ch. 65-58; s. 10, ch. 81-168; s. 12, ch. 86-41; s. 924, ch. 95-147; s. 17, ch. 99-1.