Risk for Unratified Benefit Levels
Generally, relief associations are required to obtain ratification from the affiliated municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation of a benefit level change before the change becomes effective. There is authority, if certain conditions are met, for a relief association to increase its benefit level without obtaining ratification.
There is a risk if a relief association decides to increase benefits on its own. If the benefit level is increased without ratification and a municipal contribution subsequently becomes required, the benefit level is no longer effective without ratification and any future benefits can only be paid using the ratified benefit level (i.e., the relief association must lower its benefit level to the last ratified level.)
There currently are a handful of relief associations operating at unratified benefit levels. If your relief association is in this position and has questions about the possibility of needing to lower its benefit level, please contact Pension Division staff for assistance.
Published last in the April 2020 Pension Newsletter