2022 Pension and Retirement Bill Passed

The 2022 Pension and Retirement Omnibus Policy Bill, which includes the State Auditor’s Volunteer Fire Relief Association Working Group proposals, was passed by both the House and Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Walz on May 22.

We would like to thank the Working Group members for their work on this legislation and also thank all of those who attended the meetings to provide input.

In addition to making some technical changes, the bill:

  • Modifies the limit on maximum benefit levels to be the lesser of $15,000 per year of service (for lump sum plans), or the existing limit determined in statute if the benefit increase was not ratified by the affiliated municipality;
  • Authorizes payment to a former spouse under a qualified domestic relations order and allows relief associations to amend their bylaws to pay the benefit to an alternate payee immediately, rather than waiting until the firefighter reaches age 50;
  • Provides greater transparency by requiring that a fire chief provides a written explanation and documentation of service credit amounts when a firefighter appeals his or her certified amount of service credit; and
  • Permits a supplemental benefit to be paid for each distribution from a relief association, including instances when a firefighter receives more than one lump sum distribution, and authorizes the Department of Revenue to reimburse relief associations for each benefit.

The bill also includes language, which was not part of the Working Group proposals but added by legislators, that requires the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) to provide additional information on the annual “Investment Report Card” emailed to each relief association, showing a comparison of relief association and State Board of Investment rates of return. Each relief association’s board of trustees will be required to review this investment information and certify to the OSA that the information has been reviewed.

The “Investment Report Card” for the year ended December 31, 2021, has been updated to include the additional comparison now required in statute. A certification that the investment information has been reviewed by the board of trustees will be added to the 2022 FIRE Form filed with our office during 2023.

Published last in the May 2022 Pension Newsletter