New employees filling a regular position are enrolled in the Florida Retirement System, a dual system offering coverage under the Federal Social Security System. The Okaloosa County School Board contributes to the Social Security System and the Florida Retirement System for all employees. In addition, a mandatory 3% pretax contribution is directed from your paycheck into your retirement account, regardless of the Plan you choose.
The Florida Retirement System currently offers two retirement plan options for employees to choose from:
The pension plan, often referred to as a defined benefit plan, guarantees a retirement benefit that is predetermined. The employer contributes a specified percentage or amount to the plan. The amount of retirement benefit is based on a formula that takes into account the years of service and average final salary.
Normal Retirement under the FRS is thirty years of creditable service regardless of age or age 62 with six years of creditable service if initially employed under FRS prior to July 1, 2011. OR, if initially employed under FRS on or after July 1, 2011, thirty-three years of creditable service regardless of age or age 65 with eight years of creditable service. Four years of eligible military service may be included as part of the thirty years if proper application is made to the Division of Retirement.
The FRS Investment Plan is a defined contribution plan, in which employer and employee contributions are defined by law, but your ultimate benefit depends in part on the performance of your investment funds.
The FRS Investment Plan is funded by employer and employee contributions that are based on your salary and your FRS membership class (Regular Class, Special Risk Class, etc.). The Investment Plan directs contributions to individual member accounts, and you allocate your contributions and account balance among various investment funds. (Participant contributions are not allowed.)
Your Investment Plan retirement benefit is the value of your account at termination. Unlike the Pension Plan, there is no fixed benefit level at retirement. However, a guaranteed lifetime cost of living payment option (based on the benefit to be distributed) can be purchased and is available with annual 3% cost of living increases, like the Pension Plan.
Reemployment/Renewed Membership After July 1, 2010
Members with a retirement date of July 1, 2010, or after must stay terminated for six months before returning to work. There is an option to return to work after the six months but the member would have to suspend their retirement benefit for the remaining months (seven-twelve months). There are no exceptions to this rule. If a member decides to return to work in an FRS covered position after being retired for the first twelve months, they would still continue to receive their monthly benefit check. Anyone who retires after July 1, 2010, and takes a distribution from his or her retirement will not be eligible for renewed membership in the Florida Retirement System. To be eligible to participate in a 2nd retirement with the FRS you must be initially reemployed in an FRS covered position no later than June 30, 2010.
Important Phone Numbers
- Financial Guidance Line - 1.866.44.MyFRS (1.866.446.9377)
- Retired Payroll - 1.844.377.1888
- Okaloosa County Insurance Department - 850.833.5820
- Continuing Employee Benefits as a Retiree
- Using the FRS to Plan for Your Retirement
- Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones
- Nearing Retirement in the FRS
- Understanding the FRS Investment Plan
Carol Wright, Retirement Analyst