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The Florida Statutes

The 2003 Florida Statutes

Title X
PUBLIC OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND RECORDS
Chapter 121
FLORIDA RETIREMENT SYSTEM
View Entire Chapter
Section 121.091, Florida Statutes 2003

121.091  Benefits payable under the system.--Benefits may not be paid under this section unless the member has terminated employment as provided in s. 121.021(39)(a) or begun participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Program as provided in subsection (13), and a proper application has been filed in the manner prescribed by the department. The department may cancel an application for retirement benefits when the member or beneficiary fails to timely provide the information and documents required by this chapter and the department's rules. The department shall adopt rules establishing procedures for application for retirement benefits and for the cancellation of such application when the required information or documents are not received.

(1)  NORMAL RETIREMENT BENEFIT.--Upon attaining his or her normal retirement date, the member, upon application to the administrator, shall receive a monthly benefit which shall begin to accrue on the first day of the month of retirement and be payable on the last day of that month and each month thereafter during his or her lifetime. The normal retirement benefit, including any past or additional retirement credit, may not exceed 100 percent of the average final compensation. The amount of monthly benefit shall be calculated as the product of A and B, subject to the adjustment of C, if applicable, as set forth below:

(a)1.  For creditable years of Regular Class service, A is 1.60 percent of the member's average final compensation, up to the member's normal retirement date. Upon completion of the first year after the normal retirement date, A is 1.63 percent of the member's average final compensation. Following the second year after the normal retirement date, A is 1.65 percent of the member's average final compensation. Following the third year after the normal retirement date, and for subsequent years, A is 1.68 percent of the member's average final compensation.

2.  For creditable years of special risk service, A is:

a.  Two percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years prior to October 1, 1974;

b.  Three percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after September 30, 1974, and before October 1, 1978;

c.  Two percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after September 30, 1978, and before January 1, 1989;

d.  Two and two-tenths percent of the member's final monthly compensation for all creditable years after December 31, 1988, and before January 1, 1990;

e.  Two and four-tenths percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after December 31, 1989, and before January 1, 1991;

f.  Two and six-tenths percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after December 31, 1990, and before January 1, 1992;

g.  Two and eight-tenths percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after December 31, 1991, and before January 1, 1993;

h.  Three percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years after December 31, 1992; and

i.  Three percent of the member's average final compensation for all creditable years of service after September 30, 1978, and before January 1, 1993, for any special risk member who retires after July 1, 2000, or any member of the Special Risk Administrative Support Class entitled to retain the special risk normal retirement date who was a member of the Special Risk Class during the time period and who retires after July 1, 2000.

3.  For creditable years of Senior Management Service Class service after January 31, 1987, A is 2 percent;

4.  For creditable years of Elected Officers' Class service as a Supreme Court Justice, district court of appeal judge, circuit judge, or county court judge, A is 31/3 percent of the member's average final compensation, and for all other creditable service in such class, A is 3 percent of average final compensation;

(b)  B is the number of the member's years and any fractional part of a year of creditable service earned subsequent to November 30, 1970; and

(c)  C is the normal retirement benefit credit brought forward as of November 30, 1970, by a former member of an existing system. Such normal retirement benefit credit shall be determined as the product of X and Y when X is the percentage of average final compensation which the member would have been eligible to receive if the member had attained his or her normal retirement date as of November 30, 1970, all in accordance with the existing system under which the member is covered on November 30, 1970, and Y is average final compensation as defined in s. 121.021(25). However, any member of an existing retirement system who is eligible to retire and who does retire, become disabled, or die prior to April 15, 1971, may have his or her retirement benefits calculated on the basis of the best 5 of the last 10 years of service.

(d)  A member's average final compensation shall be determined by formula to obtain the coverage for the 5 highest fiscal years' salaries, calculated as provided by rule.

(2)  BENEFITS PAYABLE FOR DUAL NORMAL RETIREMENT AGES.--If a member accumulates retirement benefits to commence at different normal retirement ages by virtue of having performed duties for an employer which would entitle him or her to benefits as both a member of the Special Risk Class and a member of either the Regular Class, Senior Management Service Class, or Elected Officers' Class, the amount of benefits payable shall be computed separately with respect to each such age and the sum of such computed amounts shall be paid as provided in this section.

(3)  EARLY RETIREMENT BENEFIT.--Upon retirement on his or her early retirement date, the member shall receive an immediate monthly benefit that shall begin to accrue on the first day of the month of the retirement date and be payable on the last day of that month and each month thereafter during his or her lifetime. Such benefit shall be calculated as follows:

(a)  The amount of each monthly payment shall be computed in the same manner as for a normal retirement benefit, in accordance with subsection (1), but shall be based on the member's average monthly compensation and creditable service as of the member's early retirement date. The benefit so computed shall be reduced by five-twelfths of 1 percent for each complete month by which the early retirement date precedes the normal retirement date of age 62 for a member of the Regular Class, Senior Management Service Class, or the Elected Officers' Class, and age 55 for a member of the Special Risk Class, or age 52 if a Special Risk member has completed 25 years of creditable service in accordance with s. 121.021(29)(b)3.

(b)  If the employment of a member is terminated by reason of death subsequent to the completion of 20 years of creditable service, the monthly benefit payable to the member's beneficiary shall be calculated in accordance with subsection (1), but shall be based on average monthly compensation and creditable service as of the date of death. The benefit so computed shall be reduced by five-twelfths of 1 percent for each complete month by which death precedes the normal retirement date specified above or the date on which the member would have attained 30 years of creditable service had he or she survived and continued his or her employment, whichever provides a higher benefit.

(4)  DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFIT.--

(a)  Disability retirement; entitlement and effective date.--

1.a.  A member who becomes totally and permanently disabled, as defined in paragraph (b), after completing 5 years of creditable service, or a member who becomes totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty regardless of service, shall be entitled to a monthly disability benefit; except that any member with less than 5 years of creditable service on July 1, 1980, or any person who becomes a member of the Florida Retirement System on or after such date must have completed 10 years of creditable service prior to becoming totally and permanently disabled in order to receive disability retirement benefits for any disability which occurs other than in the line of duty. However, if a member employed on July 1, 1980, with less than 5 years of creditable service as of that date, becomes totally and permanently disabled after completing 5 years of creditable service and is found not to have attained fully insured status for benefits under the federal Social Security Act, such member shall be entitled to a monthly disability benefit.

b.  Effective July 1, 2001, a member of the defined benefit retirement program who becomes totally and permanently disabled, as defined in paragraph (b), after completing 8 years of creditable service, or a member who becomes totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty regardless of service, shall be entitled to a monthly disability benefit.

2.  If the division has received from the employer the required documentation of the member's termination of employment, the effective retirement date for a member who applies and is approved for disability retirement shall be established by rule of the division.

3.  For a member who is receiving Workers' Compensation payments, the effective disability retirement date may not precede the date the member reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), unless the member terminates employment prior to reaching MMI.

(b)  Total and permanent disability.--A member shall be considered totally and permanently disabled if, in the opinion of the administrator, he or she is prevented, by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, from rendering useful and efficient service as an officer or employee.

(c)  Proof of disability.--The administrator, before approving payment of any disability retirement benefit, shall require proof that the member is totally and permanently disabled as provided herein:

1.  Such proof shall include the certification of the member's total and permanent disability by two licensed physicians of the state and such other evidence of disability as the administrator may require, including reports from vocational rehabilitation, evaluation, or testing specialists who have evaluated the applicant for employment.

2.  It must be documented that:

a.  The member's medical condition occurred or became symptomatic during the time the member was employed in an employee/employer relationship with his or her employer;

b.  The member was totally and permanently disabled at the time he or she terminated covered employment; and

c.  The member has not been employed with any other employer after such termination.

3.  If the application is for in-line-of-duty disability, in addition to the requirements of subparagraph 2., it must be documented by competent medical evidence that the disability was caused by a job-related illness or accident which occurred while the member was in an employee/employer relationship with his or her employer.

4.  The unavailability of an employment position that the member is physically and mentally capable of performing will not be considered as proof of total and permanent disability.

(d)  Election on appeal.--A member whose application for regular disability retirement has been denied and who has filed an appeal to the State Retirement Commission may, if eligible, elect to receive normal or early service retirement benefits while he or she is awaiting the decision on the appeal. However:

1.  If the member elects to receive service retirement benefits and disability benefits are later approved as a result of the appeal, the payment option chosen by the member may not be changed.

2.  If the member elects to receive early service retirement and the appeal is later denied, the member may not change his or her election of early retirement.

Before such regular or early retirement benefits may be paid by the division, the member must provide to the division a written statement indicating that the member understands that such changes are not permitted after he or she begins receiving the benefits.

(e)  Disability retirement benefit.--Upon the retirement of a member on his or her disability retirement date, the member shall receive a monthly benefit that shall begin to accrue on the first day of the month of disability retirement and shall be payable on the last day of that month and each month thereafter during his or her lifetime and continued disability.

(f)  Computation of disability retirement benefit.--The amount of each monthly payment shall be computed in the same manner as for a normal retirement benefit, in accordance with subsection (1), but shall be based on disability option actuarial equivalency tables and the average monthly compensation and creditable service of the member as of the disability retirement date, subject to the following conditions:

1.  If the member's disability occurred in the line of duty, the monthly Option 1 benefit shall not be less than:

a.  Forty-two percent of average monthly compensation as of the disability retirement date; or

b.  Sixty-five percent of the average monthly compensation as of the disability retirement date for a member of the special risk class who retires on or after July 1, 2000; or

2.  If the member's disability occurred other than in the line of duty, the monthly Option 1 benefit shall not be less than 25 percent of average monthly compensation as of the disability retirement date.

(g)  Reapplication.--A member, whose initial application for disability retirement has been denied, may reapply for disability benefits. However, such member's reapplication will be considered only if the member presents new medical evidence of a medical condition that existed prior to the member's termination of employment. The division may prescribe by rule procedures for reapplication and for review and approval or disapproval of reapplication.

(h)  Recovery from disability.--The administrator may require periodic reexaminations at the expense of the retirement fund. The division may adopt rules establishing procedures for conducting and review of such reexaminations.

1.  If the administrator finds that a member who is receiving disability benefits is, at any time prior to his or her normal retirement date, no longer disabled, the administrator shall direct that the benefits be discontinued. The decision of the administrator on this question shall be final and binding. If such member:

a.  Does not reenter the employ of an employer and was not vested as of the disability retirement date, he or she shall be entitled to the excess, if any, of his or her accumulated contributions over the total disability benefits received up to the date of recovery.

b.  Does not reenter the employ of an employer, but was vested as of the disability retirement date, he or she may elect to receive:

(I)  The excess, if any, of his or her accumulated contributions over the total disability benefits received up to the date of recovery; or

(II)  A deferred benefit commencing on the last day of the month of the normal retirement date which shall be payable on the last day of the month thereafter during his or her lifetime. The amount of such monthly benefit shall be computed in the same manner as for a normal retirement benefit, in accordance with subsection (1), but shall be based on average monthly compensation and creditable service as of the member's disability retirement date.

c.  Reenters employment of an employer within 6 months after recovery, the member's service will be deemed to have been continuous, but the period beginning with the first month for which he or she received a disability benefit payment and ending with the date he or she reentered employment will not be considered as creditable service for the purpose of computing benefits except as provided in sub-subparagraph d. As used in this section, the term "accumulated contributions" for such member means the excess of the member's accumulated contributions as of the disability retirement date over the total disability benefits received under paragraph (e).

d.  Terminates his or her disability benefit, reenters covered employment, and is continuously employed for a minimum of 1 year of creditable service, he or she may claim as creditable service the months during which he or she was receiving a disability benefit, upon payment of the required contributions. Contributions shall equal the total required employee and employer contribution rate applicable during the period the retiree received retirement benefits, multiplied times his or her rate of monthly compensation prior to the commencement of disability retirement for each month of the period claimed, plus 4 percent interest until July 1, 1975, and 6.5 percent interest thereafter, compounded annually each June 30 to the date of payment. If the member does not claim credit for all of the months he or she received disability benefits, the months claimed must be the most recent months of retirement. Such credit for periods of disability, when purchased under the Florida Retirement System, shall apply toward vesting requirements for eligibility to purchase additional credit for other service.

2.  Both the member receiving disability benefits who reenters employment and the employer employing such disability retiree shall notify the division immediately upon reemployment, and the division shall terminate such member's disability benefits, effective the first day of the month following the month in which notification of recovery is received. If the member is reemployed with a Florida Retirement System employer at the time of benefit termination, and he or she has received disability retirement benefit and salary payments concurrently prior to notifying the division, he or she may elect within 30 days to:

a.  Retain the retirement benefits received prior to termination of disability benefits and begin receiving retirement service credit effective upon the date of termination of benefits; or

b.  Repay, within 12 months after his or her decision to receive service credit, the retirement benefits received for each month of reemployment prior to termination of disability benefits and begin receiving retirement service credit effective upon the date of reemployment. Any such unpaid benefits shall have compound interest of 6.5 percent added June 30.

A member may not receive both retirement service credit for employment and retirement benefits for the same month.

3.  If, after recovery of disability and reentry into covered employment, the member again becomes disabled and is again approved for disability retirement, the Option 1 monthly retirement benefit shall not be less than the Option 1 monthly benefit calculated at the time of the previous disability, plus any cost of living increases up to the time the disability benefit was terminated upon his or her reentry into covered employment.

(i)  Nonadmissible causes of disability.--A member shall not be entitled to receive any disability retirement benefit if the disability is a result of any of the following:

1.  Injury or disease sustained by the member while willfully participating in a riot, civil insurrection, or other act of violence or while committing a felony;

2.  Injury or disease sustained by the member after his or her employment has terminated; or

3.  Intentional, self-inflicted injury.

(j)  Disability retirement of justice or judge by order of Supreme Court.--

1.  If a member is a justice of the Supreme Court, judge of a district court of appeal, circuit judge, or judge of a county court who has served for 6 years or more as an elected constitutional judicial officer, including service as a judicial officer in any court abolished pursuant to Art. V of the State Constitution, and who is retired for disability by order of the Supreme Court upon recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission pursuant to the provisions of Art. V of the State Constitution, the member's Option 1 monthly benefit as provided in subparagraph (6)(a)1. shall not be less than two-thirds of his or her monthly compensation as of the member's disability retirement date. Such a member may alternatively elect to receive a disability retirement benefit under any other option as provided in paragraph (6)(a).

2.  Should any justice or judge who is a member of the Florida Retirement System be retired for disability by order of the Supreme Court upon recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission pursuant to the provisions of Art. V of the State Constitution, then all contributions to his or her account and all contributions made on his or her behalf by the employer shall be transferred to and deposited in the General Revenue Fund of the state, and there is hereby appropriated annually out of the General Revenue Fund, to be paid into the Florida Retirement System Fund, an amount necessary to pay the benefits of all justices and judges retired from the Florida Retirement System pursuant to Art. V of the State Constitution.

(5)  TERMINATION BENEFITS.--A member whose employment is terminated prior to retirement retains membership rights to previously earned member-noncontributory service credit, and to member-contributory service credit, if the member leaves the member contributions on deposit in his or her retirement account. If a terminated member receives a refund of member contributions, such member may reinstate membership rights to the previously earned service credit represented by the refund by completing 1 year of creditable service and repaying the refunded member contributions, plus interest.

(a)  A member whose employment is terminated for any reason other than death or retirement prior to becoming vested is entitled to the return of his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of termination.

(b)  A member whose employment is terminated for any reason other than death or retirement after becoming vested may elect to receive a deferred monthly benefit which shall begin to accrue on the first day of the month of normal or early retirement and shall be payable on the last day of that month and each month thereafter during his or her lifetime. The amount of monthly benefit shall be computed in the same manner as for a normal retirement benefit in accordance with subsection (1) or early retirement benefit in accordance with s. 121.021(30), but based on average monthly compensation and creditable service as of the date of termination.

(c)  In lieu of the deferred monthly benefit provided in paragraph (b), the terminated member may elect to receive a lump-sum amount equal to his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of termination.

(d)  If any retired member dies without having received in benefit payments an amount equal to his or her accumulated contributions, there shall be payable to his or her designated beneficiary an amount equal to the excess, if any, of the member's accumulated contributions over the total monthly payments made to the member prior to the date of death.

(e)  A member shall be deemed a terminated member when termination of employment has occurred as provided in s. 121.021(39).

(f)  Any member who has been found guilty by a verdict of a jury, or by the court trying the case without a jury, of committing, aiding, or abetting any embezzlement or theft from his or her employer, bribery in connection with the employment, or other felony specified in chapter 838, except ss. 838.15 and 838.16, committed prior to retirement, or who has entered a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere to such crime, or any member whose employment is terminated by reason of the member's admitted commitment, aiding, or abetting of an embezzlement or theft from his or her employer, bribery, or other felony specified in chapter 838, except ss. 838.15 and 838.16, shall forfeit all rights and benefits under this chapter, except the return of his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of termination.

(g)  Any elected official who is convicted by the Senate of an impeachable offense shall forfeit all rights and benefits under this chapter, except the return of his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of the conviction.

(h)  Any member who, prior to retirement, is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated any state law against strikes by public employees, or who has been found guilty by such court of violating any state law prohibiting strikes by public employees, shall forfeit all rights and benefits under this chapter, except the return of his or her accumulated contributions as of the date of the conviction.

(i)  Any beneficiary who by a verdict of a jury or by the court trying the case without a jury is found guilty, or who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, of unlawfully and intentionally killing or procuring the death of the member forfeits all rights to the deceased member's benefits under this chapter, and the benefits will be paid as if such beneficiary had predeceased the decedent.

(j)  Benefits shall not be paid by the division pending final resolution of such charges against a member or beneficiary if the resolution of such charges could require the forfeiture of benefits as provided in paragraph (f), paragraph (g), paragraph (h), or paragraph (i).

(6)  OPTIONAL FORMS OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFITS.--

(a)  Prior to the receipt of the first monthly retirement payment, a member shall elect to receive the retirement benefits to which he or she is entitled under subsection (1), subsection (2), subsection (3), or subsection (4) in accordance with one of the following options:

1.  The maximum retirement benefit payable to the member during his or her lifetime.

2.  A decreased retirement benefit payable to the member during his or her lifetime and, in the event of his or her death within a period of 10 years after retirement, the same monthly amount payable for the balance of such 10-year period to his or her beneficiary or, in case the beneficiary is deceased, in accordance with subsection (8) as though no beneficiary had been named.

3.  A decreased retirement benefit payable during the joint lifetime of both the member and his or her joint annuitant and which, after the death of either, shall continue during the lifetime of the survivor in the same amount, subject to the provisions of subsection (12).

4.  A decreased retirement benefit payable during the joint lifetime of the member and his or her joint annuitant and which, after the death of either, shall continue during the lifetime of the survivor in an amount equal to 662/3 percent of the amount that was payable during the joint lifetime of the member and his or her joint annuitant, subject to the provisions of subsection (12).

The spouse of any member who elects to receive the benefit provided under subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. shall be notified of and shall acknowledge any such election. The division shall establish by rule a method for selecting the appropriate actuarial factor for optional forms of benefits selected under subparagraphs 3. and 4., based on the age of the member and the joint annuitant.

(b)  The benefit payable under any option stated above shall be the actuarial equivalent, based on tables adopted by the administrator for this purpose, of the amount to which the member was otherwise entitled.

(c)  A member who elects the option in subparagraph (a)2. shall, in accordance with subsection (8), designate one or more persons to receive the benefits payable in the event of his or her death. Such persons shall be the beneficiaries of the member. The member may also designate one or more contingent beneficiaries to receive any benefits remaining upon the death of the primary beneficiary.

(d)  A member who elects the option in subparagraph (a)3. or subparagraph (a)4. shall, on a form provided for that purpose, designate a joint annuitant to receive the benefits which continue to be payable upon the death of the member. After benefits have commenced under the option in subparagraph (a)3. or subparagraph (a)4., the following shall apply:

1.  A retired member may change his or her designation of a joint annuitant only twice. If such a retired member desires to change his or her designation of a joint annuitant, he or she shall file with the division a notarized "change of joint annuitant" form and shall notify the former joint annuitant in writing of such change. Effective the first day of the next month following receipt by the division of a completed change of joint annuitant form, the division shall adjust the member's monthly benefit by the application of actuarial tables and calculations developed to ensure that the benefit paid is the actuarial equivalent of the present value of the member's current benefit. The consent of a retired member's first designated joint annuitant to any such change shall not be required. However, if either the member or the joint annuitant dies before the effective date of the request for change of joint annuitant, the requested change shall be void, and survivor benefits, if any, shall be paid as if no request had been made.

2.  In the event of the dissolution of marriage of a retired member and a joint annuitant, such member may make an election to nullify the joint annuitant designation of the former spouse, unless there is an existing qualified domestic relations order preventing such action. The member shall file with the division a written, notarized nullification which shall be effective on the first day of the next month following receipt by the division. Benefits shall be paid as if the former spouse predeceased the member. A member who makes such an election may not reverse the nullification but may designate a new joint annuitant in accordance with subparagraph 1.

(e)  The election of an option shall be null and void if the member dies before the effective date of retirement.

(f)  A member who elects to receive benefits under the option in subparagraph (a)3. may designate one or more qualified persons, either a spouse or other dependent, as his or her joint annuitant to receive the benefits after the member's death in whatever proportion he or she so assigns to each person named as joint annuitant. The division shall adopt appropriate actuarial tables and calculations necessary to ensure that the benefit paid is the actuarial equivalent of the benefit to which the member is otherwise entitled under the option in subparagraph (a)1.

(g)  Upon the death of a retired member or beneficiary receiving monthly benefits under this chapter, the monthly benefits shall be paid through the last day of the month of death and shall terminate, or be adjusted, if applicable, as of that date in accordance with the optional form of benefit selected at the time of retirement.

(h)  The option selected or determined for payment of benefits as provided in this section shall be final and irrevocable at the time a benefit payment is cashed or deposited or credited to the Deferred Retirement Option Program as provided in subsection (13).

(7)  DEATH BENEFITS.--

(a)  If the employment of a member is terminated by reason of his or her death prior to being vested, except as provided in paragraph (f), there shall be payable to his or her designated beneficiary the member's accumulated contributions.

(b)  If the employment of an active member who may or may not have applied for retirement is terminated by reason of his or her death subsequent to becoming vested and prior to his or her effective date of retirement, if established, it shall be assumed that the member retired as of the date of death in accordance with subsection (1) if eligible for normal retirement benefits, subsection (2) if eligible for benefits payable for dual normal retirement, or subsection (3) if eligible for early retirement benefits. Benefits payable to the designated beneficiary shall be as follows:

1.  For a beneficiary who qualifies as a joint annuitant, the optional form of payment provided in accordance with subparagraph (6)(a)3. shall be paid for the joint annuitant's lifetime.

2.  For a beneficiary who does not qualify as a joint annuitant, no continuing monthly benefit shall be paid and the beneficiary shall be entitled only to the return of the member's personal contributions. If there is no monetary interest in the member's retirement account for which such beneficiary is eligible, the beneficiary shall be the next named beneficiary or, if no other beneficiary is named, the beneficiary shall be the next eligible beneficiary according to subsection (8).

(c)  If a retiring member dies on or after the effective date of retirement, but prior to a benefit payment being cashed or deposited, or credited to the Deferred Retirement Option Program, benefits shall be paid as follows:

1.  For a designated beneficiary who qualifies as a joint annuitant, benefits shall be paid in the optional form of payment provided in subparagraph (6)(a)3. for the joint annuitant's lifetime or, if the member chose the optional form of payment provided in subparagraph (6)(a)2., the joint annuitant may select the form provided in either subparagraph (6)(a)2. or subparagraph (6)(a)3.

2.  For a designated beneficiary who does not qualify as a joint annuitant, any benefits payable shall be paid as provided in the option selected by the member; or if the member has not selected an option, benefits shall be paid in the optional form of payment provided in subparagraph (6)(a)1.

(d)  Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter to the contrary, with the exception of the Deferred Retirement Option Program, as provided in subsection (13):

1.  The surviving spouse of any member killed in the line of duty may receive a monthly pension equal to one-half of the monthly salary being received by the member at the time of death for the rest of the surviving spouse's lifetime or, if the member was vested, such surviving spouse may elect to receive a benefit as provided in paragraph (b). Benefits provided by this paragraph shall supersede any other distribution that may have been provided by the member's designation of beneficiary.

2.  If the surviving spouse of a member killed in the line of duty dies, the monthly payments which would have been payable to such surviving spouse had such surviving spouse lived shall be paid for the use and benefit of such member's child or children under 18 years of age and unmarried until the 18th birthday of the member's youngest child.

3.  If a member killed in the line of duty leaves no surviving spouse but is survived by a child or children under 18 years of age, the benefits provided by subparagraph 1., normally payable to a surviving spouse, shall be paid for the use and benefit of such member's child or children under 18 years of age and unmarried until the 18th birthday of the member's youngest child.

4.  The surviving spouse of a member whose benefit terminated because of remarriage shall have the benefit reinstated beginning July 1, 1993, at an amount that would have been payable had the benefit not been terminated.

(e)  The surviving spouse or other dependent of any member, except a member who participated in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, whose employment is terminated by death shall, upon application to the administrator, be permitted to pay the required contributions for any service performed by the member which could have been claimed by the member at the time of his or her death. Such service shall be added to the creditable service of the member and shall be used in the calculation of any benefits which may be payable to the surviving spouse or other surviving dependent.

(f)  Notwithstanding any other provisions in this chapter to the contrary and upon application to the administrator, an eligible joint annuitant, of a member whose employment is terminated by death within 1 year of such member satisfying the service requirements for vesting and retirement eligibility, shall be permitted to purchase only the additional service credit necessary to vest and qualify for retirement benefits, not to exceed a total of 1 year of credit, by one or a combination of the following methods:

1.  Such eligible joint annuitant may use the deceased member's accumulated hours of annual, sick, and compensatory leave to purchase additional creditable service, on an hour by hour basis, provided that such deceased member's accumulated leave is sufficient to cover the additional months required. For each month of service credit needed prior to the final month, credit for the total number of work hours in that month must be purchased, using an equal number of the deceased member's accumulated leave hours. Service credit required for the final month in which the deceased member would have become vested shall be awarded upon the purchase of 1 hour of credit. Such eligible joint annuitant shall pay the contribution rate in effect for the period of time being claimed for the deceased member's class of membership, multiplied by such member's monthly salary at the time of death, plus 6.5 percent interest compounded annually. The accumulated leave payment used in the average final compensation shall not include that portion of the payment that represents any leave hours used in the purchase of such creditable service.

2.  Such eligible joint annuitant may purchase additional months of creditable service for any periods of out-of-state service as provided in s. 121.1115, and in-state service as provided in s. 121.1122, that the deceased member would have been eligible to purchase prior to his or her death.

Service purchased under this paragraph shall be added to the creditable service of the member and used to vest for retirement eligibility, and shall be used in the calculation of any benefits which may be payable to the eligible joint annuitant. Any benefits paid in accordance with this paragraph shall only be made prospectively.

(g)  Notwithstanding any other provisions in this chapter to the contrary, if any member who is vested dies and the surviving spouse receives a refund of the accumulated contributions made to the retirement trust fund, such spouse may pay to the Division of Retirement an amount equal to the sum of the amount of the deceased member's accumulated contributions previously refunded plus interest at 4 percent compounded annually each June 30 from the date of refund until July 1, 1975, and 6.5 percent interest compounded annually thereafter, until full payment is made, and receive the monthly retirement benefit as provided in paragraph (b).

(h)  The designated beneficiary who is the surviving spouse or other dependent of a member whose employment is terminated by death subsequent to becoming vested, but prior to actual retirement, may elect to receive a deferred monthly benefit as if the member had lived and had elected a deferred monthly benefit, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), calculated on the basis of the average final compensation and creditable service of the member at his or her death and the age the member would have attained on the commencement date of the deferred benefit elected by the beneficiary, paid in accordance with option 3 of paragraph (6)(a).

(8)  DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARIES.--

(a)  Each member may, on a form provided for that purpose, signed and filed with the division, designate a choice of one or more persons, named sequentially or jointly, as his or her beneficiary who shall receive the benefits, if any, which may be payable in the event of the member's death pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. If no beneficiary is named in the manner provided above, or if no beneficiary designated by the member survives the member, the beneficiary shall be the spouse of the deceased, if living. If the member's spouse is not alive at his or her death, the beneficiary shall be the living children of the member. If no children survive, the beneficiary shall be the member's father or mother, if living; otherwise, the beneficiary shall be the member's estate. The beneficiary most recently designated by a member on a form or letter filed with the division shall be the beneficiary entitled to any benefits payable at the time of the member's death, except that benefits shall be paid as provided in paragraph (7)(d) when death occurs in the line of duty. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this subsection to the contrary, for a member who dies prior to his or her effective date of retirement on or after January 1, 1999, the spouse at the time of death shall be the member's beneficiary unless such member designates a different beneficiary as provided herein subsequent to the member's most recent marriage.

(b)  A designated beneficiary of a retirement account for whom there is a monetary interest may disclaim his or her monetary interest as provided in s. 689.21, and in accordance with division rules governing such disclaimers. Such disclaimer must be filed within 24 months after the event that created the interest, that is, the death of the member or annuitant.

(c)  Notwithstanding the member's designation of benefits to be paid through a trust to a beneficiary that is a natural person as provided in s. 121.021(46), and notwithstanding the provisions of the trust, benefits shall be paid directly to the beneficiary if such person is no longer a minor or incapacitated as defined in s. 744.102(10) and (11).

1(9)  EMPLOYMENT AFTER RETIREMENT; LIMITATION.--

(a)  Any person who is retired under this chapter, except under the disability retirement provisions of subsection (4), may be employed by an employer that does not participate in a state-administered retirement system and may receive compensation from that employment without limiting or restricting in any way the retirement benefits payable to that person.

(b)1.  Any person who is retired under this chapter, except under the disability retirement provisions of subsection (4), may be reemployed by any private or public employer after retirement and receive retirement benefits and compensation from his or her employer without any limitations, except that a person may not receive both a salary from reemployment with any agency participating in the Florida Retirement System and retirement benefits under this chapter for a period of 12 months immediately subsequent to the date of retirement. However, a DROP participant shall continue employment and receive a salary during the period of participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, as provided in subsection (13).

2.  Any person to whom the limitation in subparagraph 1. applies who violates such reemployment limitation and who is reemployed with any agency participating in the Florida Retirement System before completion of the 12-month limitation period shall give timely notice of this fact in writing to the employer and to the division and shall have his or her retirement benefits suspended for the balance of the 12-month limitation period. Any person employed in violation of this paragraph and any employing agency which knowingly employs or appoints such person without notifying the Division of Retirement to suspend retirement benefits shall be jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to the retirement trust fund of any benefits paid during the reemployment limitation period. To avoid liability, such employing agency shall have a written statement from the retiree that he or she is not retired from a state-administered retirement system. Any retirement benefits received while reemployed during this reemployment limitation period shall be repaid to the retirement trust fund, and retirement benefits shall remain suspended until such repayment has been made. Benefits suspended beyond the reemployment limitation shall apply toward repayment of benefits received in violation of the reemployment limitation.

3.  A district school board may reemploy a retired member as a substitute or hourly teacher, education paraprofessional, transportation assistant, bus driver, or food service worker on a noncontractual basis after he or she has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). A district school board may reemploy a retired member as instructional personnel, as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a), on an annual contractual basis after he or she has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). Any other retired member who is reemployed within 1 calendar month after retirement shall void his or her application for retirement benefits. District school boards reemploying such teachers, education paraprofessionals, transportation assistants, bus drivers, or food service workers are subject to the retirement contribution required by subparagraph 7.

4.  A community college board of trustees may reemploy a retired member as an adjunct instructor, that is, an instructor who is noncontractual and part-time, or as a participant in a phased retirement program within the Florida Community College System, after he or she has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). Any retired member who is reemployed within 1 calendar month after retirement shall void his or her application for retirement benefits. Boards of trustees reemploying such instructors are subject to the retirement contribution required in subparagraph 7. A retired member may be reemployed as an adjunct instructor for no more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement. Any retired member reemployed for more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall give timely notice in writing to the employer and to the division of the date he or she will exceed the limitation. The division shall suspend his or her retirement benefits for the remainder of the first 12 months of retirement. Any person employed in violation of this subparagraph and any employing agency which knowingly employs or appoints such person without notifying the Division of Retirement to suspend retirement benefits shall be jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to the retirement trust fund of any benefits paid during the reemployment limitation period. To avoid liability, such employing agency shall have a written statement from the retiree that he or she is not retired from a state-administered retirement system. Any retirement benefits received by a retired member while reemployed in excess of 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall be repaid to the Retirement System Trust Fund, and retirement benefits shall remain suspended until repayment is made. Benefits suspended beyond the end of the retired member's first 12 months of retirement shall apply toward repayment of benefits received in violation of the 780-hour reemployment limitation.

5.  The State University System may reemploy a retired member as an adjunct faculty member or as a participant in a phased retirement program within the State University System after the retired member has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). Any retired member who is reemployed within 1 calendar month after retirement shall void his or her application for retirement benefits. The State University System is subject to the retired contribution required in subparagraph 7., as appropriate. A retired member may be reemployed as an adjunct faculty member or a participant in a phased retirement program for no more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of his or her retirement. Any retired member reemployed for more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall give timely notice in writing to the employer and to the division of the date he or she will exceed the limitation. The division shall suspend his or her retirement benefits for the remainder of the first 12 months of retirement. Any person employed in violation of this subparagraph and any employing agency which knowingly employs or appoints such person without notifying the Division of Retirement to suspend retirement benefits shall be jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to the retirement trust fund of any benefits paid during the reemployment limitation period. To avoid liability, such employing agency shall have a written statement from the retiree that he or she is not retired from a state-administered retirement system. Any retirement benefits received by a retired member while reemployed in excess of 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall be repaid to the Retirement System Trust Fund, and retirement benefits shall remain suspended until repayment is made. Benefits suspended beyond the end of the retired member's first 12 months of retirement shall apply toward repayment of benefits received in violation of the 780-hour reemployment limitation.

6.  The Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind may reemploy a retired member as a substitute teacher, substitute residential instructor, or substitute nurse on a noncontractual basis after he or she has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). Any retired member who is reemployed within 1 calendar month after retirement shall void his or her application for retirement benefits. The Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind reemploying such teachers, residential instructors, or nurses is subject to the retirement contribution required by subparagraph 7. Reemployment of a retired member as a substitute teacher, substitute residential instructor, or substitute nurse is limited to 780 hours during the first 12 months of his or her retirement. Any retired member reemployed for more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall give timely notice in writing to the employer and to the division of the date he or she will exceed the limitation. The division shall suspend his or her retirement benefits for the remainder of the first 12 months of retirement. Any person employed in violation of this subparagraph and any employing agency which knowingly employs or appoints such person without notifying the Division of Retirement to suspend retirement benefits shall be jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to the retirement trust fund of any benefits paid during the reemployment limitation period. To avoid liability, such employing agency shall have a written statement from the retiree that he or she is not retired from a state-administered retirement system. Any retirement benefits received by a retired member while reemployed in excess of 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall be repaid to the Retirement System Trust Fund, and his or her retirement benefits shall remain suspended until payment is made. Benefits suspended beyond the end of the retired member's first 12 months of retirement shall apply toward repayment of benefits received in violation of the 780-hour reemployment limitation.

7.  The employment by an employer of any retiree or DROP participant of any state-administered retirement system shall have no effect on the average final compensation or years of creditable service of the retiree or DROP participant. Prior to July 1, 1991, upon employment of any person, other than an elected officer as provided in s. 121.053, who has been retired under any state-administered retirement program, the employer shall pay retirement contributions in an amount equal to the unfunded actuarial liability portion of the employer contribution which would be required for regular members of the Florida Retirement System. Effective July 1, 1991, contributions shall be made as provided in s. 121.122 for retirees with renewed membership or subsection (13) with respect to DROP participants.

8.  Any person who has previously retired and who is holding an elective public office or an appointment to an elective public office eligible for the Elected Officers' Class on or after July 1, 1990, shall be enrolled in the Florida Retirement System as provided in s. 121.053(1)(b) or, if holding an elective public office that does not qualify for the Elected Officers' Class on or after July 1, 1991, shall be enrolled in the Florida Retirement System as provided in s. 121.122, and shall continue to receive retirement benefits as well as compensation for the elected officer's service for as long as he or she remains in elective office. However, any retired member who served in an elective office prior to July 1, 1990, suspended his or her retirement benefit, and had his or her Florida Retirement System membership reinstated shall, upon retirement from such office, have his or her retirement benefit recalculated to include the additional service and compensation earned.

9.  Any person who is holding an elective public office which is covered by the Florida Retirement System and who is concurrently employed in nonelected covered employment may elect to retire while continuing employment in the elective public office, provided that he or she shall be required to terminate his or her nonelected covered employment. Any person who exercises this election shall receive his or her retirement benefits in addition to the compensation of the elective office without regard to the time limitations otherwise provided in this subsection. No person who seeks to exercise the provisions of this subparagraph, as the same existed prior to May 3, 1984, shall be deemed to be retired under those provisions, unless such person is eligible to retire under the provisions of this subparagraph, as amended by chapter 84-11, Laws of Florida.

10.  The limitations of this paragraph apply to reemployment in any capacity with an "employer" as defined in s. 121.021(10), irrespective of the category of funds from which the person is compensated.

11.  An employing agency may reemploy a retired member as a firefighter or paramedic after the retired member has been retired for 1 calendar month, in accordance with s. 121.021(39). Any retired member who is reemployed within 1 calendar month after retirement shall void his or her application for retirement benefits. The employing agency reemploying such firefighter or paramedic is subject to the retired contribution required in subparagraph 8. Reemployment of a retired firefighter or paramedic is limited to no more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of his or her retirement. Any retired member reemployed for more than 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall give timely notice in writing to the employer and to the division of the date he or she will exceed the limitation. The division shall suspend his or her retirement benefits for the remainder of the first 12 months of retirement. Any person employed in violation of this subparagraph and any employing agency which knowingly employs or appoints such person without notifying the Division of Retirement to suspend retirement benefits shall be jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to the Retirement System Trust Fund of any benefits paid during the reemployment limitation period. To avoid liability, such employing agency shall have a written statement from the retiree that he or she is not retired from a state-administered retirement system. Any retirement benefits received by a retired member while reemployed in excess of 780 hours during the first 12 months of retirement shall be repaid to the Retirement System Trust Fund, and retirement benefits shall remain suspended until repayment is made. Benefits suspended beyond the end of the retired member's first 12 months of retirement shall apply toward repayment of benefits received in violation of the 780-hour reemployment limitation.

(10)  FUTURE BENEFITS BASED ON ACTUARIAL DATA.--It is the intent of the Legislature that future benefit increases enacted into law in this chapter shall be financed concurrently by increased contributions or other adequate funding, and such funding shall be based on sound actuarial data as developed by the actuary or state retirement actuary, as provided in ss. 121.021(6) and 121.192.

(11)  A member who becomes eligible to retire and has accumulated the maximum benefit of 100 percent of average final compensation may continue in active service, and, if upon the member's retirement the member elects to receive a retirement compensation pursuant to subsection (2), subsection (6), or subsection (7), the actuarial equivalent percentage factor applicable to the age of such member at the time the member reached the maximum benefit and to the age, at that time, of the member's spouse shall determine the amount of benefits to be paid.

(12)  SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN SURVIVOR BENEFITS.--Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, for members with an effective date of retirement, or date of death if prior to retirement, on or after January 1, 1996, the named joint annuitant, as defined in s. 121.021(28)(b), who is eligible to receive benefits under subparagraph (6)(a)3. or subparagraph (6)(a)4., shall receive the maximum monthly retirement benefit that would have been payable to the member under subparagraph (6)(a)1.; however, payment of such benefit shall cease the month the joint annuitant attains age 25 unless such joint annuitant is disabled and incapable of self-support, in which case, benefits shall cease when the joint annuitant is no longer disabled. The administrator may require proof of disability or continued disability in the same manner as is provided for a member seeking or receiving a disability retirement benefit under subsection (4).

2(13)  DEFERRED RETIREMENT OPTION PROGRAM.--In general, and subject to the provisions of this section, the Deferred Retirement Option Program, hereinafter referred to as the DROP, is a program under which an eligible member of the Florida Retirement System may elect to participate, deferring receipt of retirement benefits while continuing employment with his or her Florida Retirement System employer. The deferred monthly benefits shall accrue in the System Trust Fund on behalf of the participant, plus interest compounded monthly, for the specified period of the DROP participation, as provided in paragraph (c). Upon termination of employment, the participant shall receive the total DROP benefits and begin to receive the previously determined normal retirement benefits. Participation in the DROP does not guarantee employment for the specified period of DROP. Participation in the DROP by an eligible member beyond the initial 60-month period as authorized in this subsection shall be on an annual contractual basis for all participants.

(a)  Eligibility of member to participate in the DROP.--All active Florida Retirement System members in a regularly established position, and all active members of either the Teachers' Retirement System established in chapter 238 or the State and County Officers' and Employees' Retirement System established in chapter 122 which systems are consolidated within the Florida Retirement System under s. 121.011, are eligible to elect participation in the DROP provided that:

1.  The member is not a renewed member of the Florida Retirement System under s. 121.122, or a member of the State Community College System Optional Retirement Program under s. 121.051, the Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program under s. 121.055, or the optional retirement program for the State University System under s. 121.35.

2.  Except as provided in subparagraph 6., election to participate is made within 12 months immediately following the date on which the member first reaches normal retirement date, or, for a member who reaches normal retirement date based on service before he or she reaches age 62, or age 55 for Special Risk Class members, election to participate may be deferred to the 12 months immediately following the date the member attains 57, or age 52 for Special Risk Class members. For a member who first reached normal retirement date or the deferred eligibility date described above prior to the effective date of this section, election to participate shall be made within 12 months after the effective date of this section. A member who fails to make an election within such 12-month limitation period shall forfeit all rights to participate in the DROP. The member shall advise his or her employer and the division in writing of the date on which the DROP shall begin. Such beginning date may be subsequent to the 12-month election period, but must be within the 60-month or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, the 96-month limitation period as provided in subparagraph (b)1. When establishing eligibility of the member to participate in the DROP for the 60-month or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, the 96-month maximum participation period, the member may elect to include or exclude any optional service credit purchased by the member from the total service used to establish the normal retirement date. A member with dual normal retirement dates shall be eligible to elect to participate in DROP within 12 months after attaining normal retirement date in either class.

3.  The employer of a member electing to participate in the DROP, or employers if dually employed, shall acknowledge in writing to the division the date the member's participation in the DROP begins and the date the member's employment and DROP participation will terminate.

4.  Simultaneous employment of a participant by additional Florida Retirement System employers subsequent to the commencement of participation in the DROP shall be permissible provided such employers acknowledge in writing a DROP termination date no later than the participant's existing termination date or the 60-month limitation period as provided in subparagraph (b)1.

5.  A DROP participant may change employers while participating in the DROP, subject to the following:

a.  A change of employment must take place without a break in service so that the member receives salary for each month of continuous DROP participation. If a member receives no salary during a month, DROP participation shall cease unless the employer verifies a continuation of the employment relationship for such participant pursuant to s. 121.021(39)(b).

b.  Such participant and new employer shall notify the division on forms required by the division as to the identity of the new employer.

c.  The new employer shall acknowledge, in writing, the participant's DROP termination date, which may be extended but not beyond the original 60-month or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, the 96-month period provided in subparagraph (b)1., shall acknowledge liability for any additional retirement contributions and interest required if the participant fails to timely terminate employment, and shall be subject to the adjustment required in sub-subparagraph (c)5.d.

6.  Effective July 1, 2001, for instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), election to participate in the DROP shall be made at any time following the date on which the member first reaches normal retirement date. The member shall advise his or her employer and the division in writing of the date on which the Deferred Retirement Option Program shall begin. When establishing eligibility of the member to participate in the DROP for the 60-month or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, the 96-month maximum participation period, as provided in subparagraph (b)1., the member may elect to include or exclude any optional service credit purchased by the member from the total service used to establish the normal retirement date. A member with dual normal retirement dates shall be eligible to elect to participate in either class.

(b)  Participation in the DROP.--

1.  An eligible member may elect to participate in the DROP for a period not to exceed a maximum of 60 calendar months or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 calendar months, 96 calendar months immediately following the date on which the member first reaches his or her normal retirement date or the date to which he or she is eligible to defer his or her election to participate as provided in subparagraph (a)2. However, a member who has reached normal retirement date prior to the effective date of the DROP shall be eligible to participate in the DROP for a period of time not to exceed 60 calendar months or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 calendar months, 96 calendar months immediately following the effective date of the DROP, except a member of the Special Risk Class who has reached normal retirement date prior to the effective date of the DROP and whose total accrued value exceeds 75 percent of average final compensation as of his or her effective date of retirement shall be eligible to participate in the DROP for no more than 36 calendar months immediately following the effective date of the DROP.

2.  Upon deciding to participate in the DROP, the member shall submit, on forms required by the division:

a.  A written election to participate in the DROP;

b.  Selection of the DROP participation and termination dates, which satisfy the limitations stated in paragraph (a) and subparagraph 1. Such termination date shall be in a binding letter of resignation with the employer, establishing a deferred termination date. The member may change the termination date within the limitations of subparagraph 1., but only with the written approval of his or her employer;

c.  A properly completed DROP application for service retirement as provided in this section; and

d.  Any other information required by the division.

3.  The DROP participant shall be a retiree under the Florida Retirement System for all purposes, except for paragraph (5)(f) and subsection (9) and ss. 112.3173, 112.363, 121.053, and 121.122. However, participation in the DROP does not alter the participant's employment status and such employee shall not be deemed retired from employment until his or her deferred resignation is effective and termination occurs as provided in s. 121.021(39).

4.  Elected officers shall be eligible to participate in the DROP subject to the following:

a.  An elected officer who reaches normal retirement date during a term of office may defer the election to participate in the DROP until the next succeeding term in that office. Such elected officer who exercises this option may participate in the DROP for up to 60 calendar months or a period of no longer than such succeeding term of office, whichever is less.

b.  An elected or a nonelected participant may run for a term of office while participating in DROP and, if elected, extend the DROP termination date accordingly, except, however, if such additional term of office exceeds the 60-month limitation established in subparagraph 1., and the officer does not resign from office within such 60-month limitation, the retirement and the participant's DROP shall be null and void as provided in sub-subparagraph (c)5.d.

c.  An elected officer who is dually employed and elects to participate in DROP shall be required to satisfy the definition of termination within the 60-month or, with respect to members who are instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and who have received authorization by the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, or who are instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and who have received authorization by the district school superintendent to participate in the DROP beyond 60 months, the 96-month limitation period as provided in subparagraph 1. for the nonelected position and may continue employment as an elected officer as provided in s. 121.053. The elected officer will be enrolled as a renewed member in the Elected Officers' Class or the Regular Class, as provided in ss. 121.053 and 121.22, on the first day of the month after termination of employment in the nonelected position and termination of DROP. Distribution of the DROP benefits shall be made as provided in paragraph (c).

(c)  Benefits payable under the DROP.--

1.  Effective with the date of DROP participation, the member's initial normal monthly benefit, including creditable service, optional form of payment, and average final compensation, and the effective date of retirement shall be fixed. The beneficiary established under the Florida Retirement System shall be the beneficiary eligible to receive any DROP benefits payable if the DROP participant dies prior to the completion of the period of DROP participation. In the event a joint annuitant predeceases the member, the member may name a beneficiary to receive accumulated DROP benefits payable. Such retirement benefit, the annual cost of living adjustments provided in s. 121.101, and interest shall accrue monthly in the System Trust Fund. Such interest shall accrue at an effective annual rate of 6.5 percent compounded monthly, on the prior month's accumulated ending balance, up to the month of termination or death.

2.  Each employee who elects to participate in the DROP shall be allowed to elect to receive a lump-sum payment for accrued annual leave earned in accordance with agency policy upon beginning participation in the DROP. Such accumulated leave payment certified to the division upon commencement of DROP shall be included in the calculation of the member's average final compensation. The employee electing such lump-sum payment upon beginning participation in DROP will not be eligible to receive a second lump-sum payment upon termination, except to the extent the employee has earned additional annual leave which combined with the original payment does not exceed the maximum lump-sum payment allowed by the employing agency's policy or rules. Such early lump-sum payment shall be based on the hourly wage of the employee at the time he or she begins participation in the DROP. If the member elects to wait and receive such lump-sum payment upon termination of DROP and termination of employment with the employer, any accumulated leave payment made at that time cannot be included in the member's retirement benefit, which was determined and fixed by law when the employee elected to participate in the DROP.

3.  The effective date of DROP participation and the effective date of retirement of a DROP participant shall be the first day of the month selected by the member to begin participation in the DROP, provided such date is properly established, with the written confirmation of the employer, and the approval of the division, on forms required by the division.

4.  Normal retirement benefits and interest thereon shall continue to accrue in the DROP until the established termination date of the DROP, or until the participant terminates employment or dies prior to such date. Although individual DROP accounts shall not be established, a separate accounting of each participant's accrued benefits under the DROP shall be calculated and provided to participants.

5.  At the conclusion of the participant's DROP, the division shall distribute the participant's total accumulated DROP benefits, subject to the following provisions:

a.  The division shall receive verification by the participant's employer or employers that such participant has terminated employment as provided in s. 121.021(39)(b).

b.  The terminated DROP participant or, if deceased, such participant's named beneficiary, shall elect on forms provided by the division to receive payment of the DROP benefits in accordance with one of the options listed below. For a participant or beneficiary who fails to elect a method of payment within 60 days of termination of the DROP, the division will pay a lump sum as provided in sub-sub-subparagraph (I).

(I)  Lump sum.--All accrued DROP benefits, plus interest, less withholding taxes remitted to the Internal Revenue Service, shall be paid to the DROP participant or surviving beneficiary.

(II)  Direct rollover.--All accrued DROP benefits, plus interest, shall be paid from the DROP directly to the custodian of an eligible retirement plan as defined in s. 402(c)(8)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code. However, in the case of an eligible rollover distribution to the surviving spouse of a deceased participant, an eligible retirement plan is an individual retirement account or an individual retirement annuity as described in s. 402(c)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(III)  Partial lump sum.--A portion of the accrued DROP benefits shall be paid to the DROP participant or surviving spouse, less withholding taxes remitted to the Internal Revenue Service, and the remaining DROP benefits shall be transferred directly to the custodian of an eligible retirement plan as defined in s. 402(c)(8)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code. However, in the case of an eligible rollover distribution to the surviving spouse of a deceased participant, an eligible retirement plan is an individual retirement account or an individual retirement annuity as described in s. 402(c)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code. The proportions shall be specified by the DROP participant or surviving beneficiary.

c.  The form of payment selected by the DROP participant or surviving beneficiary complies with the minimum distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code.

d.  A DROP participant who fails to terminate employment as defined in s. 121.021(39)(b) shall be deemed not to be retired, and the DROP election shall be null and void. Florida Retirement System membership shall be reestablished retroactively to the date of the commencement of the DROP, and each employer with whom the participant continues employment shall be required to pay to the System Trust Fund the difference between the DROP contributions paid in paragraph (i) and the contributions required for the applicable Florida Retirement System class of membership during the period the member participated in the DROP, plus 6.5 percent interest compounded annually.

6.  The accrued benefits of any DROP participant, and any contributions accumulated under such program, shall not be subject to assignment, execution, attachment, or to any legal process whatsoever, except for qualified domestic relations orders by a court of competent jurisdiction, income deduction orders as provided in s. 61.1301, and federal income tax levies.

7.  DROP participants shall not be eligible for disability retirement benefits as provided in subsection (4).

(d)  Death benefits under the DROP.--

1.  Upon the death of a DROP participant, the named beneficiary shall be entitled to apply for and receive the accrued benefits in the DROP as provided in sub-subparagraph (c)5.b.

2.  The normal retirement benefit accrued to the DROP during the month of a participant's death shall be the final monthly benefit credited for such DROP participant.

3.  Eligibility to participate in the DROP terminates upon death of the participant. If the participant dies on or after the effective date of enrollment in the DROP, but prior to the first monthly benefit being credited to the DROP, Florida Retirement System benefits shall be paid in accordance with subparagraph (7)(c)1. or subparagraph 2.

4.  A DROP participants' survivors shall not be eligible to receive Florida Retirement System death benefits as provided in paragraph (7)(d).

(e)  Cost-of-living adjustment.--On each July 1, the participants' normal retirement benefit shall be increased as provided in s. 121.101.

(f)  Retiree health insurance subsidy.--DROP participants are not eligible to apply for the retiree health insurance subsidy payments as provided in s. 112.363 until such participants have terminated employment and participation in the DROP.

(g)  Renewed membership.--DROP participants shall not be eligible for renewed membership in the Florida Retirement System under ss. 121.053 and 121.122 until termination of employment is effectuated as provided in s. 121.021(39)(b).

(h)  Employment limitation after DROP participation.--Upon satisfying the definition of termination of employment as provided in s. 121.021(39)(b), DROP participants shall be subject to such reemployment limitations as other retirees. Reemployment restrictions applicable to retirees as provided in subsection (9) shall not apply to DROP participants until their employment and participation in the DROP are terminated.

(i)  Contributions.--

1.  All employers paying the salary of a DROP participant filling a regularly established position shall contribute 8.0 percent of such participant's gross compensation for the period of July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003, and 11.56 percent of such compensation thereafter, which shall constitute the entire employer DROP contribution with respect to such participant. Such contributions, payable to the System Trust Fund in the same manner as required in s. 121.071, shall be made as appropriate for each pay period and are in addition to contributions required for social security and the Retiree Health Insurance Subsidy Trust Fund. Such employer, social security, and health insurance subsidy contributions are not included in the DROP.

2.  The employer shall, in addition to subparagraph 1., also withhold one-half of the entire social security contribution required for the participant. Contributions for social security by each participant and each employer, in the amount required for social security coverage as now or hereafter provided by the federal Social Security Act, shall be in addition to contributions specified in subparagraph 1.

3.  All employers paying the salary of a DROP participant filling a regularly established position shall contribute the percent of such participant's gross compensation required in s. 121.071(4), which shall constitute the employer's health insurance subsidy contribution with respect to such participant. Such contributions shall be deposited by the administrator in the Retiree Health Insurance Subsidy Trust Fund.

(j)  Forfeiture of retirement benefits.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to remove DROP participants from the scope of s. 8(d), Art. II of the State Constitution, s. 112.3173, and paragraph (5)(f). DROP participants who commit a specified felony offense while employed will be subject to forfeiture of all retirement benefits, including DROP benefits, pursuant to those provisions of law.

(k)  Administration of program.--The division shall make such rules as are necessary for the effective and efficient administration of this subsection. The division shall not be required to advise members of the federal tax consequences of an election related to the DROP but may advise members to seek independent advice.

(14)  PAYMENT OF BENEFITS.--This subsection applies to the payment of benefits to a payee (retiree or beneficiary) under the Florida Retirement System:

(a)  Federal income tax shall be withheld in accordance with federal law, unless the payee elects otherwise on Form W-4P. The division shall prepare and distribute to each recipient of monthly retirement benefits an appropriate income tax form that reflects the recipient's income and federal income tax withheld for the calendar year just ended.

(b)  Subject to approval by the division in accordance with rule 60S-4.015, Florida Administrative Code, a payee receiving retirement benefits under the Florida Retirement System may also have the following payments deducted from his or her monthly benefit:

1.  Premiums for life and health-related insurance policies from approved companies.

2.  Life insurance premiums for the State Group Life Insurance Plan, if authorized in writing by the payee and by the Department of Management Services.

3.  Repayment of overpayments from the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund, the State Employees' Health Insurance Trust Fund, or the State Employees' Life Insurance Trust Fund, upon notification of the payee.

4.  Payments to an alternate payee for alimony, child support, or division of marital assets pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order under s. 222.21 or an income deduction order under s. 61.1301.

5.  Payments to the Internal Revenue Service for federal income tax levies, upon notification of the division by the Internal Revenue Service.

(c)  A payee shall notify the division of any change in his or her address. The division may suspend benefit payments to a payee if correspondence sent to the payee's mailing address is returned due to an incorrect address. Benefit payments shall be resumed upon notification to the division of the payee's new address.

(d)  A payee whose retirement benefits are reduced by the application of maximum benefit limits under s. 415(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, as specified in s. 121.30(5), shall have the portion of his or her calculated benefit in the Florida Retirement System defined benefit plan which exceeds such federal limitation paid through the Florida Retirement System Preservation of Benefits Plan, as provided in s. 121.1001.

(e)  No benefit may be reduced for the purpose of preserving the member's eligibility for a federal program.

(f)  The division shall adopt rules establishing procedures for determining that the persons to whom benefits are being paid are still living. The division shall suspend the benefits being paid to any payee when it is unable to contact such payee and to confirm that he or she is still living.

History.--s. 9, ch. 70-112; s. 1, ch. 71-22; s. 1, ch. 72-332; s. 1, ch. 72-334; s. 2, ch. 72-344; s. 3, ch. 72-345; s. 3, ch. 72-388; ss. 6, 7, ch. 74-302; s. 2, ch. 74-328; s. 2, ch. 74-376; s. 1, ch. 75-86; s. 1, ch. 77-286; s. 6, ch. 78-308; s. 3, ch. 79-375; s. 2, ch. 80-126; s. 1, ch. 80-128; ss. 1, 3, ch. 80-130; s. 3, ch. 80-242; s. 5, ch. 81-307; s. 1, ch. 83-58; s. 7, ch. 83-76; ss. 1, 2, ch. 84-11; ss. 10, 20, ch. 84-266; s. 1, ch. 85-137; s. 4, ch. 85-220; s. 1, ch. 85-246; s. 3, ch. 86-172; s. 1, ch. 87-149; s. 1, ch. 88-61; s. 2, ch. 88-238; s. 13, ch. 88-382; s. 2, ch. 89-220; s. 1, ch. 89-260; s. 15, ch. 89-367; s. 13, ch. 90-274; s. 5, ch. 90-301; s. 1, ch. 91-276; s. 7, ch. 92-122; s. 5, ch. 93-149; s. 8, ch. 93-193; s. 4, ch. 93-285; s. 773, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 95-338; s. 7, ch. 96-368; s. 2, ch. 97-154; s. 8, ch. 97-180; s. 1, ch. 98-18; s. 9, ch. 98-138; s. 9, ch. 98-292; s. 7, ch. 98-413; s. 54, ch. 99-2; s. 5, ch. 99-7; s. 6, ch. 99-9; s. 37, ch. 99-255; s. 1, ch. 99-389; s. 11, ch. 99-392; s. 1, ch. 2000-167; ss. 15, 17, ch. 2000-169; s. 7, ch. 2000-347; s. 2, ch. 2001-47; s. 19, ch. 2001-60; s. 2, ch. 2001-235; s. 5, ch. 2002-177; ss. 14, 15, ch. 2002-273; s. 899, ch. 2002-387; s. 2, ch. 2003-260; s. 8, ch. 2003-391.

1Note.--Section 9, ch. 2003-260, provides that "[i]t is the intent of the Legislature that the costs attributable to the modifications to the retirement laws by this act regarding the reemployment of instructional personnel shall be funded by an increase in payroll contribution rates beginning in fiscal year 2004-2005. For fiscal year 2003-2004 only, the costs of such modifications shall be funded by recognition of excess actuarial assets of the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund not to exceed $25 million."

2Note.--

A.  Section 11, ch. 2001-235, as amended by s. 8, ch. 2002-177, provides that "[i]t is the intent of the Legislature that the costs attributable to the additional cost-of-living increase for special risk retirees and Deferred Retirement Option Program participants as provided under section 2 shall be funded by recognition of excess actuarial assets, amortized over 30 years with the payments assumed to remain relatively stable when expressed as a percentage of payroll. For fiscal year 2001-2002, the payment shall be $9.3 million. For fiscal year 2002-2003, the payment shall be $15.1 million, and, thereafter, payments shall increase by 5 percent per year. If insufficient funds are available to fund this additional cost through recognition of excess actuarial assets in fiscal year 2002-2003 and any year thereafter, and there remains an unfunded actuarial liability attributable to the one-time cost-of-living increase provided under section 2, the payroll contribution rate for the Special Risk Class of the Florida Retirement System shall be increased by .93 percent effective July 1 of that year, unless the Legislature provides an alternative funding mechanism before that date." Section 2, ch. 2001-235, amended s. 121.091(13)(b), relating to the Deferred Retirement Option Program, to add a provision relating to elected officers. The intended reference may be to s. 10, ch. 2001-235, which provides a one-time special cost-of-living increase for members of the Special Risk Class.

B.  Section 9, ch. 2003-260, provides that "[i]t is the intent of the Legislature that the costs attributable to the modifications to the retirement laws by this act regarding the reemployment of instructional personnel shall be funded by an increase in payroll contribution rates beginning in fiscal year 2004-2005. For fiscal year 2003-2004 only, the costs of such modifications shall be funded by recognition of excess actuarial assets of the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund not to exceed $25 million."

C.  Section 54, ch. 2003-391, provides that "[i]f any law that is amended by this act was also amended by a law enacted at the 2003 Regular Session of the Legislature, such laws shall be construed as if they had been enacted during the same session of the Legislature, and full effect should be given to each if that is possible."

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