Welcome to the FRSWPF Newsletter!
Welcome to the first issue of the Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund Newsletter. We want to take this opportunity to communicate important information and deadline dates, plus some fun facts to all FRSWPF members, departments and squads.
If you have any suggested topics of interest for future newsletters, or you want to add or update your email address to ensure that you receive future FRSWPF communications, please contact NC.Fire&Rescue@nctreasurer.com.
HOT OFF THE PRESS: You may also want to read more about the Treasurer's recent initiative to better prepare public servants for retirement.
Important Dates to Ensure FRSWPF Credit for 2015
Mid-January 2016 - Each unit should submit a roster to the association
January 31, 2016 - Deadline date for associations to submit rosters to FRSWPF
Mid-February 2016 - FRSWPF will use information from rosters to create turnaround documents (TADs) which will be sent to all units who have properly submitted rosters
March 31, 2016 - Deadline date for payments and completed TADs to be received by FRSWPF from units in order to credit roster service for 2015
State law requires rosters to be filed electronically with FRSWPF by the North Carolina Association of Rescue & EMS (NCAREMS) and the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association (NCSFA) on January 31 of each year. FRSWPF service reported on the rosters is referred to as “roster service.” To receive credit for one year of roster service, eligible squad members and firefighters must meet all FRSWPF requirements including attending 36 hours of training sessions each year and serving the departments or squads for the entire calendar year.
Each squad and department must certify on their respective rosters the names of the squad members and firefighters meeting the requirements. A new squad member or firefighter who performed less than one year of service during 2015 as a result of beginning service on or after February 2015, who meets all FRSWPF requirements, may be reported on the roster and receive a partial year of FRSWPF service credit.
Each department and squad should submit their roster information to their respective associations by mid-January (or as dictated by the associations) to be sure their members are included on the rosters the associations will submit to FRSWPF on January 31, 2016.
If your 2015 rosters are not included in the information electronically uploaded to FRSWPF by the Associations on January 31, 2016, members of your squad or department will not receive roster service for 2015.
Turnaround Documents (aka TADs)
FRSWPF uses the information reported on the rosters to generate TADs which are documents that list the names of each certified FRSWPF member currently enrolled under a squad or department. FRSWPF sends TADs to squads and departments in mid-February.
Squads and departments complete the TADs to report information for members who have paid their $10.00 per month contribution and/or to report the monies a squad or department will be submitting to FRSWPF on behalf of their members. The squad or department should complete the TAD and return it to our office along with a check for the entire amount reported on the TAD by the deadline date of March 31, 2016.
Departments and squads can report FRSWPF contributions to our office monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. However, if contributions are received after the required deadline of March 31, 2016, we cannot accept these contributions and cannot grant FRSWPF service for 2015 for the members listed on the TAD. If contributions for 2015 are not received by FRSWPF by March 31, 2016, credit for 2015 must be purchased, and our office will send a letter to the squad or department advising of the process for purchasing the 2015 FRSWPF credit. The department or squad will be given the option either to have their check returned or to have it posted for current year FRSWPF contributions.
We Need Your Help!
We are trying to reach non-retired FRSWPF members who are out of service and may be eligible to receive a refund of their contributions. If you know non-retired former members of your department or squad who are no longer in service as a firefighter or rescue squad member, please ask them to call us at 1-877-NCSECURE (1-877-627-3287) and press #5 to speak with a FRSWPF representative. Thank you in advance for helping us reach these individuals.
The present FRSWPF benefit is $170 per month. An eligible firefighter or rescue squad worker may apply for a monthly benefit after reaching age 55 with 20 years of eligible creditable service. Once a member meets these requirements and begins receiving the Pension Fund benefit, the member can continue to receive the benefit while continuing to work or return to work as a paid or volunteer firefighter or rescue squad worker.
Benefits do not begin automatically at age 55. Eligible members must complete a Form 6FR (Retiring from the Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund), and have their respective department or squad chief or captain sign the form before submitting it to our office.
Benefits for eligible members can be effective in the month in which a properly completed Form 6FR is received by our office. However, benefits cannot be paid retroactively for any month before the month in which the properly completed Form 6FR is received by FRSWPF.
Our office requires a copy of the member’s Social Security card (or other document from Social Security with the member’s complete Social Security number and name listed) and a copy of the member’s driver’s license or birth certificate in order to confirm your Social Security number and date of birth.
The member should also complete a Form 170 (Authorizing Direct Deposit). This form can be downloaded from the ORBIT forms page on our website at the link below, or it can be requested from our office.
The first monthly benefit will be mailed. Thereafter, it is the policy of the Retirement Systems Division to directly deposit monthly benefits into the member’s bank account on the 25th day of each month. In December, the benefit will be deposited on the 20th. If the pay date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deposit will be made on the last work day before the pay date.
Retirees are encouraged to keep their mailing address, email address and phone number up-to-date with FRSWPF to make sure they receive important communications from our office.
We recommend that you discuss with your family the benefits that may be payable from FRSWPF upon your death. Any contributions in your account at your death will be paid to your family.
By retirement law, your spouse is the beneficiary of your FRSWPF account. Prompt notification of your death will help us expedite payment of your contributions. Upon notification, we will request a death certificate and a copy of your spouse’s Social Security card and driver’s license to process payment directly to your spouse.
If you do not have a surviving spouse as of your date of death, your contributions will be paid to your children or guardian of your children. We will need the same information for children if they are over 18 years old. If you have a child(ren) under age 18, payments can be made to the person responsible for the care of the child(ren). That person (even if it is a parent) must obtain guardianship papers from the Clerk of Superior Court. Once we receive this paperwork, along with the minor beneficiary(ies) birth certificate(s), and a copy of the minor beneficiary(ies) Social Security card, we will process payment of any monies in the member’s account to the guardian of the minor beneficiary(ies). Alternately, the guardian can obtain a letter of acceptance from the Clerk of the Superior Court advising that they will accept payment on behalf of the minor.
If you do not have a surviving spouse or children, the proceeds will be paid to your “heirs at law” or to your “estate, if it is administered and there are no heirs.”
If you die before beginning to receive your pension, your beneficiary will receive the amount you paid and contributions paid on your behalf into FRSWPF.
If you die after beginning to receive your benefits, your beneficiary will be paid the amount you contributed to FRSWPF, minus the benefits you collected.
If you die after collecting more from FRSWPF than you contributed, payments stop. No additional benefits are paid.
Line of Duty Death Benefit
A $50,000 line-of-duty death benefit is provided to dependents of North Carolina law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue squad workers, and senior Air Patrol members killed in the discharge of their official duties. This lump sum benefit is administered jointly by the North Carolina Industrial Commission and the Retirement Systems Division.
The Industrial Commission approves eligibility for payment of the line-of-duty death benefit and sends documentation of the eligibility to the Retirement Systems Division. The documentation provides our office with the name of the beneficiary(ies) and other applicable information. After our review, our office will issue the one-time $50,000 lump sum payment to the beneficiary(ies).
By law, the surviving spouse is the beneficiary. If there is no surviving spouse, payment is issued to the surviving dependent child(ren). If there is no surviving dependent child(ren), payment is issued to the surviving dependent parent(s). If none of the beneficiaries listed above are surviving, the benefit is paid to the estate of the deceased.
Why Was the Fund Established?
Public Policy Purpose of the Pension Fund
The Pension Fund was established to promote the general welfare of all citizens of North Carolina by providing firefighters and rescue squad workers with incentive, inducement, and recognition for participating in the activities listed below by providing pension allowances to eligible firefighters and rescue squad workers who elect to become members.
Rescue Squad Workers:
- Protection of citizens from consequences of loss or damage by fire
- Increasing protection of life and all property against loss or damage
- Incentivizing and inducing participation in fire departments
- Increasing training of personnel in fire departments
- Increasing the number of fire departments
- Protection from injury by serious illness
- Improving life saving techniques
- Incentivizing and inducing participation in rescue squads
- Increasing training of personnel in rescue squads
- Increasing the number of rescue squads