Schedule Form Reminders

The 2023 Schedule Form for relief associations with a defined-benefit lump-sum plan must be certified by the relief association on or before August 1, 2023. The certification must be made to the entity responsible for satisfying the minimum required contribution to the relief association’s special fund.

The 2023 Schedule Form is designed to help determine the relief association’s projected assets and liabilities for 2023 and the minimum required contribution for 2024. The Schedule Form is available for download from the State Auditor’s Form Entry System (SAFES).

Note that the 2023 Schedule Form contains a new Benefit Level Projections Tool that a relief association may use as a resource to estimate the impact that benefit level changes or investment rate of return changes could have on the relief association's funded status and financial requirements. This new tab is optional and provided solely as a resource, and is not required to be completed before submitting the form.

Following 2022 law changes that eliminated the requirement that each relief association with a defined benefit plan annually calculate its own maximum allowable benefit level, relief associations and municipalities have greater flexibility in setting benefit amounts. It is, and will continue to be, important for relief associations and municipal trustees to obtain information they need to make an informed decision when considering a benefit level change. The new Benefit Level Projections Tool is intended to be one such source of information, but should not be relied upon in lieu of individualized services provided by a relief association’s auditor, actuary, or financial advisor.

In addition, you may notice that calculated accrued liability amounts could be different for active members with similar lengths of service but different ages. A new method for calculating the liabilities was implemented beginning with the 2021 Schedule Form that is based on the current age and length of service of each member, and the requirement for full-vesting defined in the relief association’s bylaws. Liabilities for members who are younger than 50 are discounted, using an assumption that the relief association will earn three percent on its investments each year.

If the 2023 Schedule Form shows that a contribution is required, and if the relief association’s benefit level was ratified, the affiliated municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation is required to pay the contribution amount in full to the relief association during the 2024 calendar year.

Published last in the July 2023 Pension Newsletter