Retirement Information for Employees
This is a summary. For detailed information on retirement, visit the Florida Retirement System (FRS) website at www.myfrs.com or call (866) 446-9377 to speak with an FRS representative.
Pinellas County employees are members of the Florida Retirement System (FRS). The provisions of the FRS cover all regular status employees. These retirement benefits — when incorporated into a plan including Social Security and personal savings such as deferred compensation — provide a measure of security during retirement.
See Retiree Benefit Plans or select from the list below:
Pinellas County contributes to employees’ retirement plan savings, and employees contribute 3% of their pretax pay towards the plan.
In addition, the County makes a separate contribution to the Health Insurance Subsidy (HIS) fund. The HIS pays eligible retirees a monthly benefit for each year of service to a maximum of 30 years. The subsidy helps offset the costs of purchasing health insurance once you have retired. Currently, this monthly amount is $5 per year of FRS service (for example, $100 per month for an employee who retires after 20 years).
How many years does it take to be vested?
Currently, the FRS Investment Plan has a 1-year vesting period, and the FRS Pension Plan has an 8-year vesting period. (If you enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011, you only need six years of service to be vested in your Pension Plan benefit.)
An employee is always fully vested in their 3% annual contribution.
What is normal retirement?
Normal retirement occurs when you retire with full (unreduced) benefits based on your age and/or length of service. To be eligible for normal retirement under the Pension Plan, an employee must meet one of the following age and service requirements:
- Age 65 with eight years of creditable service
- If you were hired prior to July 1, 2011: Age 62 with six years of creditable service
- Any age with 33 years of creditable service
- If you were hired prior to July 1, 2011: 30 years of creditable service
What about early retirement?
You can retire any time after you are vested and within 20 years of your normal retirement age.
The normal retirement benefit is reduced 5% for each year you are under the normal retirement age of 65 and do not have 33 or more years of creditable service (or under the normal retirement age of 62 and do not have 30 years of service if you were hired prior to July 1, 2011).
Employees have a choice of two FRS retirement plans: Investment Plan and Pension Plan.
New employees are automatically enrolled in the FRS Investment Plan and have eight months in which to change to the Pension Plan if desired. All employees have a one-time second election opportunity to change from their current plan to the other plan.
- An employee in the Investment Plan is vested upon completion of one year of creditable service.
- The retirement benefit is the value in the employee’s account. You elect how to allocate the funds among the investment plans offered.
- There is no fixed benefit level.
- There are multiple distribution options, including purchase of a lifetime annuity, periodic distributions (e.g. monthly payments) or rollover to other qualified plans such as an IRA.
- If you leave FRS-covered employment, you may choose to leave your account invested in the Plan or roll it over to an IRA or another employer’s qualified plan.
- For full details, visit www.myfrs.com.
- An employee in the Pension Plan is vested upon completing eight years of creditable service (or six years if you enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011).
- The Pension Plan provides a fixed benefit based on a formula which factors in your highest eight years of compensation and your total years of creditable service (or the highest five years if you enrolled in the FRS prior to July 1, 2011).
- The Pension Plan provides an annual cost of living increase which applies only to FRS service credit earned prior to July 2011.
- For full details, visit www.myfrs.com.
- The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) is a Pension Plan program available to employees who have reached normal retirement age.
- DROP allows you to simultaneously earn a salary and retirement income for up to five years (60 months) in order to accumulate a tax-deferred “nest egg”.
- While participating in DROP, your monthly retirement benefits accumulate in a Florida Retirement System (FRS) Trust Fund instead of being paid directly to you.
- Once you enter DROP, you will no longer have a 3% deduction each pay period for FRS as you are no longer earning retirement service credit.
- When the DROP period ends, you terminate employment, receive payment of the accumulated DROP benefits and begin receiving your FRS monthly retirement benefits.
- To learn more, see Frequently Asked Questions about DROP and the DROP Guide.
A Florida Retirement System (FRS) online account is useful to create customized estimates of monthly pension benefits, calculate investment plan account value, view retirement workshop presentations, access forms and more.
Get step-by-step instructions to create an online FRS account, including how to retrieve a forgotten PIN.
- See Retiree Benefits: What Happens When I Retire?
- Visit the FRS website at www.myfrs.com and review resources such as:
- Call the MyFRS Financial Guidance Line at (866) 446-9377 to speak with a certified financial planner from Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email your question. Experts can provide a personalized retirement estimate, and answers questions on retirement planning, FRS plan options, and managing your finances.
- Sign up for a Pinellas County course on Getting Ready for Retirement or Passport to Retirement. See the Learning Catalog. To enroll, log into OPUS and select PIN OLM Learner.
- Please schedule an appointment with Benefits approximately 1 to 3 months prior to your effective date of retirement to complete paperwork such as:
- FRS Service Retirement
- DROP enrollment or DROP termination
- Retiree insurance enrollment
- For questions, contact Benefits at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (727) 464-3367, option 1.
Per Florida law, any retiree receiving an FRS pension is prohibited from working or volunteering for Pinellas County during their first six months of retirement, including temporary staffing. Retirees can work or volunteer for non-Pinellas County employers with no restrictions.
In the 7th to 12th month after retirement, retirees cannot receive pension or investment plan money and provide services to the County at the same time. They will need to suspend their payments in order to provide services to County during this time.
Beginning in month 13 of retirement, retirees may receive pension or investment plan money and work or volunteer for the County with no restrictions.
Materials for Pinellas County Retirees
- View new retiree information including links to downloadable forms, retirement check schedule, insurance invoices, and how to change your personal information:
- Retiree Connection Newsletter
- Retiree Group Insurance Enrollment and Change Form
- FRS Investment Plan Newsletter