State Auditor's Working Group (November 2021 Meetings)

The Volunteer Fire Relief Association Working Group met on November 3 and November 16. The Working Group members are considering changes to maximum service pension amounts for relief associations with a defined benefit pension plan. The Working Group is considering a proposal that would eliminate the flexible service pension maximums that a relief association must calculate annually. Under the proposal being considered, relief associations could make changes to their benefit levels so long as the levels do not exceed the $15,000 maximum lump sum benefit amount and the $100 maximum monthly benefit amount, and the benefit changes are ratified by the municipality. (Note that limited authority currently exists for relief associations to increase their benefit levels without municipal ratification if certain conditions are met.)

The Working Group agreed to move forward with a clarification that would permit a supplemental benefit to be paid with each qualified lump sum distribution, so that firefighters who receive more than one distribution may receive a supplemental benefit with each payment.

The Working Group is also considering a change that would permit distributions to former spouses immediately upon finalization of a divorce, so that payments can be made before the relief association member separates from active service and is paid.

Upcoming Working Group meetings are scheduled for November 30 and December 14. Meeting materials and recordings are available on the Working Group page of the Office of the State Auditor (OSA)’s website.

Published last in the November 2021 Pension Newsletter